SmartBiz Review: Edition 2020

A description of the smartbiz platform

(Image Source: Smartbiz)

What Is Smartbiz?

Smartbiz is a global online small business lending company specializing in loans for business borrowers in the United States. Smartbiz works with a large network of lenders, and claims that nine out of ten applications they process are approved.

They talk a good game, but is it that simple? Smartbiz reviews help figure out if the company is as good as it seems to think it is, and, more importantly, whether it’s the best solution for your needs.

 

Who Is Smarbiz Best For?

Smartbiz caters primarily to small business owners but will assist businesses of all sizes. The products are geared more towards established businesses with a good credit rating. Many of the lending partners are banks, and banks apply a stricter credit scoring model. Smartbiz is less likely to work with unique lenders who overlook traditional lending criteria. 

Those looking for quick money loans might find that the application process here takes too long. 

The company doesn’t offer any personal loan services

Getting Started With Smartbiz

We’re going to go through the process step-by-step with you. To do this, we’ve created a fictional company so that you can see every stage of the process. All you have to do is to navigate to the right page and fill out a free application

Banner picture of the smartbiz platform

 (Image Source: Smartbiz)

Start on the Home Page. Click on the “See if you prequalify” button to get started. 

Step 1 of the application process on the SmartBiz platform

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Select the purpose of your loan. 

Choose the type of loan you wish to get on the SmartBiz platform

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Scroll down to choose between an SBA and a bank term loan. We’ll go through what each loan is in the next section. If you can’t decide, click on the “Help me decide” button. For our purposes, we’ll select the bank term loan.

Step 2 choose the amount you want to loan

(Image Source: Smartbiz)

Scroll down to choose the loan amount by sliding the button along the sliding scale. You’ll see the lowest options for:

  • Monthly repayment
  • Loan term
  • Interest rate
  • Fees

These can all change depending on your business’s credit rating and terms offered, but it gives you a good starting point. 

Step 3 providing personal info

(Image Source: Smartbiz)

Scroll down to complete all the fields on this screen.

Application process on the SmartBiz platform

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Finish off by acknowledging that you’ve read the terms and conditions, and then hit the “Continue to prequalify” screen. 

application process on the smartbiz platform

(Image Source: Smartbiz)

You’ll come through to this screen. Hit the “Let’s get started” to continue. 

Determine the period of the loan

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Select when you need the financing. We opted for two weeks or less and then hit the “Save & Continue.” 

Provide info about your business

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Select the option that best describes how long you’ve been in business for and then hit “Save & Continue”. We chose 3-5 years. 

Provide infro about your business

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Now select your industry and hit “Save & Continue”. 

Provide info about your business

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Enter the address for your business’s headquarters. Put in the street number and name, and you’ll see that it brings up options to choose from. Select the one with your actual business address from the dropdown menu.

Provide info about your business

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The system populates the address automatically. Just check it and then Hit “Save & Continue.” If the site needs more information, they’ll let you know here. 

Provide info about your workers in the company

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Select the right option in terms of how many full-time employees you have and then hit “Save & Continue”. 

Provide a password

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Now choose your password. Your password will have to tick all the criteria below the password screen.

Application process on the SmartBiz platform

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On the next screen, just hit “Save & Continue”.

Part of the application process on the SmartBiz platform

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Here you must indicate the ownership of the business and whether it’s a person or company. 

Provide information about your business

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Complete the details of the owner and click on “Save Owner”.  

final part of the application process on the SmartBiz platform

(Image Source: Smartbiz)

You’ll now have to tick the box confirming that you’ve provided the correct information and then hit, “See what you prequalify for.” Smartbiz now checks your business’s credit and your personal credit score. This is a soft check, so it won’t affect your credit rating. 

You’ll get a list of Smartbizloans options that you prequalify for. They’ll focus on options secured by government funding or guarantees first because these have the best interest rates. Once you’ve had a chance to view loan offers, you may decide whether or not to proceed. 

You may speak to the company’s credit team to help you narrow down your options. Once you’ve decided on the best way forward, Smartbiz submits all the documents. 

Terms & Requirements

The company offers the following types of loans: 

  • SBA Loans
  • Equipment Financing
  • Bank Loans
  • Merchant Cash Advances
  • Business Lines of Credit 
  • Invoice Factoring
  • Merchant Cash Advances
  • Business Credit Cards

SBA Loans

The Small Business Administration gives a partial guarantee for these loans to provide businesses ready access to working capital. As a result, companies pay preferable interest rates for long-term financing from reputable partner lenders. These are your typical installment loans and commonly repayable over 10 years. 

There are two types of SBA loans.

To qualify for either, the business must:

  • Be operating for at least two years
  • Have no liens, active bankruptcies, bad credit
  • Earn enough to repay the loan as demonstrated on your tax returns
  • Have owners that are US residents or citizens

There are no SBA business loans for bad credit

Standard SBA Loans

In addition to the above criteria, the business owner must have a  minimum credit score of 650.

You may borrow between $30,000  and $350,000 from affiliated banks. Businesses may use the funds for operational expenses, such as the average monthly payroll cost, marketing, hiring, equipment purchases, and more. This is also a credible loan consolidation option for unsecured debt. 

You’re looking at a rate of Prime + 2.75% to 3.75%.

If you need a paycheck protection program (PPP loan) or an economic injury disaster loan, it will fall under this category. 

Fees
  • You’ll pay an application/initiation fee of up to $3,000 to the bank
  • You’ll pay an SBA guarantee fee of between 1.7% and 3.75% of the guarantee amount to the SBA rather than a flat fee on the amount funded
  • Bank closing costs typically add up to $450 extra
  • Smartbiz charges a professional service fee on successful applications based on the loan amount.

SBA Commercial Real Estate Loans

In addition to the criteria mentioned above, the business owner must have a  minimum credit score of 675.

You may borrow between $500,000 and $5,000 000 from affiliated banks to buy real estate. The property must be at least 51% owner-occupied to qualify for financing under this plan. 

You’re looking at a rate of Prime + 1.5% to 2.75%.

Fees
  • You’ll pay an application/ origination fee  of up to $5,000 to the bank
  • You’ll pay an SBA guarantee fee of between 2.25% and 2.76% of the guarantee amount to the SBA rather than a flat fee on the amount funded
  • Bank closing costs typically add up to $5,000 extra
  • Smartbiz charges a professional service fee on successful applications based on the loan amount.

Business Line of Credit

This is a revolving credit facility. It’s cost-effective because you only pay interest on the amount that you use. Holding this amount in reserve is the quickest way to borrow money online instantly

Invoice Financing

This is a type of factoring. You give the rights to collect on invoices to a lender in exchange for an advance against the invoice. The lender “buys” the invoice at a discounted rate. You don’t pay interest, but the advance is lower than the outstanding amount. 

Business Credit Cards

If your credit is less than stellar, these cards allow you to borrow money in small amounts to demonstrate that you’re capable of sticking to a repayment arrangement. 

Merchant Advances

Merchant advances can work out to be expensive but might be the best bet if you need quick loans. Here you’re borrowing against your expected sales. The terms depend on the lender. You’ll either need to pay a fixed installment or a percentage of your sales. The payments are taken from your checking account daily or weekly. 

If you need a loan with more straightforward loan renewal policies, this could be a good option. Just keep in mind that the interest rates tend to be higher. 

Bank Term Loans

If your business doesn’t qualify for an SBA loan, or you want a fixed rate option, a more conventional bank loan might suit you better. You can also borrow money online using this option, but you’ll need to sign documents before you get the money. 

You may borrow between $30,000 and $350,000, and choose a repayment term of between two and five years. The interest is fixed and ranges from 6.99% to 23.99%. Repaying the loan early results in no fees. 

To qualify your business must: 

  • Have been active for at least two years with a steady stream of income
  • Have the funds to support repayments
  • No active bankruptcies or liens
  • The business owner must have a credit score of at least 640.

If you own more than 20% of the business, you’ll have to provide a personal guarantee. You may also be asked to provide collateral. 

User Reviews

The company was BBB-accredited in 2017 and currently maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Smartbiz reviews show that the company scores at 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot. 

Users generally relate positive experiences with the company. The company treats its clients fairly, offers realistic interest rates, and offers good customer service. 

Clients like the transparency of Smartbizloans. During our lending platform review process, we’ve found many companies that skirt around the issue of interest rates. Unlike many in the industry, with Smartbizloans you get a clear idea of the minimum APR upfront. 

They’re also clear about the fact that they must first evaluate the risk of lending money and assess your creditworthiness before giving you credit options. 

One sticking point for us in these Smartbiz reviews was the length of time that it took to complete the application process. It’s simple enough, but we did feel that the company could reduce the number of overall steps. On the upside, the thorough application process makes it easier to narrow down your options properly. 

Some users also felt that the lending experience took too long. 

Pros & Cons

To mention some positive and negative things about SmartBiz.

Pros

  • A clear indication of the estimated annual percentage rate of the loan before you apply
  • Broad loan range
  • Easy to check the loan requirements
  • Possibly the best way to borrow money for businesses
  • Multiple loan offers
  • No fees unless you sign the loan agreement
  • One of the best-designed marketplace platforms
  • Connect through the best available lenders, including large authorized lenders.

Cons

  • No types of personal loans
  • No peer-to-peer lending options
  • More stringent qualifications to apply
  • You won’t know the exact terms of the loan, like late payment fees, upfront.

Features

What kind of features does SmartBiz have? Let’s check it out.

Rates & Fees

The company charges a service fee when the loan is approved. This fee is a percentage of the overall loan amount and depends on the product. We recommend speaking to the agent to find out what you’ll pay. 

Privacy & Security

The company uses bank-level, 256-bit encryption, and reasonable administrative procedures. Your data is secure. 

Customer Support

The customer service is excellent. Clients can reach out via:

433 California Street

San Francisco, CA 94104

Smartbiz Alternatives  

Smartbiz takes the credit score as an indication of the likelihood that a person will pay their debts. This cuts anyone with a credit score of under 600 out immediately. If you’re looking for the best personal loan companies, or to  compare student loans, or other types of finance, check out these alternatives:  

Smartbiz vs Fundera 

If you need a startup business loan, Fundera is a better option than Smartbiz. The qualifying criteria are also a little less stringent. The loans range from $5,000 to over $1,000 000. Fundera works with reputable lenders and offers a range of funding solutions. If your business boasts a good credit rating, you might appreciate Smartbiz’s available lenders more. 

Smartbiz vs Lendio

Lendio’s lending criteria are even less strict because they’re not focused on the credit score. If a business has been solvent for the last three years, with a turnover of at least $10,000, the business might qualify for a loan, even with less than perfect credit. Lendio also provides startup financing. 

Final Verdict

Overall, Smartbiz is a smart option for business borrowers. The business loan requirements are strict, but the company deals with reputable lenders. The entire process is transparent, and the interest rates are reasonable. 

The after-sales service is also excellent. The company’s agents will teach you how to get the most from your money. The system further offers you a way to make convenient loan requests. It couldn’t be simpler to start your application.

The time it takes to get the money could use improvement, but overall, we’re happy with this platform. That said, feel free to browse through other Smartbiz reviews to make sure it suits your needs. 

Commonly Asked Questions About Smartbiz

Is Smartbiz a good lender?

  • Smartbiz qualifies as one of the top loan connection companies for businesses with good credit. The company works with an extensive network of lenders and partners with reputable companies who don’t engage in unethical loan and collection practices

Is it hard to get a loan from Smartbiz?

  • If your business has been running for a few years, has a relatively good income, and you’ve kept your nose clean credit-wise, then the answer is no. You’ll find several options to help you cut your monthly payments, so there’s financing for almost everyone. It should, however, be noted that the lenders are mainly banks, and banks have stricter qualifying criteria. Also, Smartbiz doesn’t offer unsecured loans for bad credit.

How does a Smartbiz loan work?

  • Once the loan is approved and repaid, you’ll make the payments as requested. If you maintain a good payment record for six months, you’re able to reapply. 

How does Smartbiz work? 

  • You fill in the basic application online to ensure that you qualify – the loan eligibility requirements are stricter than with other sites. Once complete, the company checks your credit rating and comes back with some prequalified offers for you. These will give you the loan amount, term, and interest rate. Should you accept those options, the company requests the requisite supporting documents from you. You send in the documents, and the loan goes for final loan approval. You sign the agreement and personal guarantee if required, and receive your money in 3 to 7 days.

Is Smartbiz legit?

  • Yes, they have been around for a while and have a rigorous qualification process – they take many different expenses that other companies ignore into account. An example is the average monthly payroll cost

What is the interest rate on a Smartbiz loan?

  • This depends on the lender and the lending option, but you’re looking at a rate of between 5% and 30%. 

Are Smartbiz loans personally guaranteed?

  • That depends on the product selected and the ownership of the company. Typically, however, if you own more than a fifth of the company, you’ll be asked to sign a personal guarantee. You must consider the potential financial implications of this move before signing – one of the implications of non-payment of the loan could mean losing your assets.

Can I get a loan from Smartbiz if I have a bad credit score?

  • Not typically — with most products, you need a personal credit rating of 600 or more. Then, If you have bad credit, we advise that you look into ways to improve your credit score before you consider applying. 

How to get a small business loan with bad credit?

  • You’ll need to look for a different company to assist you. You can check out the Alternatives section in the article above for some ideas. 

Does Smartbiz check credit? 

  • Yes, the company does run a soft check to minimize the potential impact to credit score

How much can Smartbiz lend?

  • That depends on the product you qualify for. The minimum loan amount for conventional business loans is $30,000, while the maximum loan amount for commercial property stands at $5,000,000.

What types of loans does the lender offer?

  • SBA Loans
  • Equipment Financing
  • Bank Loans
  • Merchant Cash Advances
  • Business Lines of Credit 
  • Invoice Factoring
  • Merchant Cash Advances
  • Business Credit Cards

What documentation will I have to submit with my online loan application?

  • You don’t need to submit anything for the pre-qualification. They’ll give you a choice of options for approved loans according to the information that you provide. Make sure that this information is accurate. Once you’ve chosen the loan offer that best suits you, you’ll be told what documentation to provide. You’ll typically need the company’s financial statements for the last two years, your personal and business tax returns for the previous two years, and your business checking account statements. 

Am I required to own a home to be approved for a Smartbiz personal loan?

  • Not at all, as Smartbiz only offers business loans. While researching some other Smartbiz reviews, we did come across reviewers who’d used their homes as collateral for the loan. That’s not typically required, though.
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