What is a Business Line of Credit?

A business line of credit gives you access to a pool of funds to draw from when you need capital for your business. Draw on your business line of credit to handle cash flow gaps, get more working capital, buy inventory, or address almost any other emergency or opportunity.

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  • Quick access to cash
  • Limited paperwork
  • Equipment serves as collateral
  • Equipment could be obsolete by the time the loan is fully repaid
  • Might need to depreciate equipment, so you can’t deduct full cost each year

Who Qualifies for Business Lines of Credit?

As it turns out, most businesses can qualify for equipment financing.

How much you qualify for—and the interest rate you’ll pay—depends on the value of that equipment, your business’s financial history, and your credit score.

Equipment financing can be a great option if your credit rating is less than perfect, too, since the equipment acts as collateral:

In fact, equipment lenders are just as concerned with what’s securing their loan as with your borrowing history.

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How to Apply?

An equipment loan application can be a simple process, depending on the equipment lender you’re working with. You’ll likely need to provide your credit score and prove the financial health of your business with tax returns and bank statements.

On top of this, equipment lenders will typically ask for information about the equipment you’re purchasing with the financing. That’s why most equipment financing applications will require an equipment quote, or an equivalent documentation of the equipment.

Documents you need:

Driver’s License, Voided Business Check Bank Statements Balance Sheet Profit & Loss Statements Credit Score

Business Tax Returns Personal Tax Returns

Generally speaking, a smaller, shorter-term option will come with an easy and fast application process. Larger and longer-term options might require more paperwork and could take slightly longer to fund.

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How Does a Business Line of Credit Work?

Surprises happen—it’s a fact of life.

But how can you expect the unexpected when it comes to your business? A single accident could set you back a long way if you’re not prepared.

That’s why flexible business financing is so important.

And Fundera helps thousands of small business owners get that flexible funding in the form of a business line of credit.

Here’s what you need to know about a business line of credit—and how it can help you weather storms and take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.

What exactly is a business line of credit?

Simply put, a business line of credit is pretty similar to a personal line of credit (like your credit card).

A bank or lender gives you access to a specific amount of financing, which you can draw from whenever you want or need.

However, you don’t make payments or incur any interest until you actually tap into those funds. You pay for what you use, in other words.

Business lines of credit can come secured—backed by collateral like inventory, accounts receivable, and so on—or unsecured, backed by your personal guarantee.

This sort of financing often gets referred to as “revolving” credit because you can tap into it again and again… And when you repay what you’ve spent, you can continue to draw capital from your line of credit.

For instance, say you’re given access to a $60K small business line of credit.

Next, you decide to take out $40K, keeping the other $20K in the pool of available funds.

Once you pay that $40K back (plus interest), you’ll have the whole $60K at your fingertips again—without having to apply for another loan.

The time and energy you save is one of the biggest benefits to a business line of credit.

While most business lines of credit are traditional revolving credit products, some will not automatically renew after you’ve fully repaid what you owe. Some non-revolving lenders will have you reapply to renew your line of credit. Assuming you’ve remained in good graces with your lender, reapplying should be an easy process.

So what sets a business line of credit apart from a traditional term loan?

To start with, business lines of credit usually come with lower interest rates and closing costs than traditional term loans of similar sizes.

But on the other hand, if you’re late with a payment or go over your credit limit, that interest rate could spike pretty high.

Also, traditional term loans have regular interest rates over the life of the loan, which is a major difference between term loans and business lines of credit.

If you’re comparing a business line of credit with a traditional term loan, keep in mind that lines of credit tend to work better for repeated cash flow issues while term loans often make more sense when it comes to specific purchases or one-off business investments. But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t use a business line of credit for business purchases, too.

hough it’s not an industry standard, we split business lines of credit up into short-term and medium-term.


Although business lines of credit don’t really have term lengths—you can withdraw and pay back those funds indefinitely, as long as your lender believes that you’re a responsible borrower—these labels help you compare short-term loans with short-term lines of credit and traditional term (or “medium-term”) loans with medium-term lines of credit.

The differences are mostly in their minimum qualifications, maximum fund amounts, and interest rates.

The longest-term lines of credit typically come from a traditional bank. Medium-term lines of credit and short-term lines of credit are typically found with online lenders

The biggest advantage of a business line of credit is its renewability: you can draw out funds, pay them back, and draw again.

You can use a small business line of credit to help finance ongoing operating expenses, cover cash flow gaps, take advantage of unexpected opportunities, and provide a cushion to protect against emergencies.

Since lines of credit are so flexible, they can also be used for payroll, seasonal expenses, and unforeseen problems or investments, as well as larger purchases.

This flexibility is what makes a business line of credit such a valuable loan product for small business owners.

Although business lines of credit and credit cards are both forms of “revolving” credit, there are a few important differences you should be aware of:

  • Credit cards usually have higher interest rates.
  • Credit cards charge additional fees for cash advances and, often, balance transfers.
  • Credit cards typically require payments on a monthly basis while business lines of credit usually don’t.
  • Lines of credit give you access to cash.

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What Will a Business Line of Credit Cost You?

The basic cost of a business line of credit is pretty straightforward: when you take, you pay.

Unlike with a traditional term loan, which is one big lump sum with regular repayments, with a business line of credit you’ll only pay interest on the cash you draw.

An Example of Withdrawing Funds & Paying Them Back
Let’s say it’s time to pay the bills, but you’re still waiting to receive payment from your own customers—making it a bit tough for you to pay what you owe.

And it’s not the first time this has happened, unfortunately.

You calculate that having a financial cushion of some amount—for our example, let’s say $25K—would help prevent this problem in the future.

So you reach out to an online financial institution and apply to open a small business line of credit of up to $25K.

Next time you need to pay your bills and you’re still waiting on that cash from your customers, you can draw out funds on the business line of credit to cover your debts.

You needed $5K to pay those bills, so you pull $5K out of your business line of credit.

And even though you have a $25K line of credit, you’ll only need to pay back the $5K you borrowed, plus any interest.

Plus, keep in mind that the interest only gets charged on the $5K you borrowed, not the full $25K you have access to.


If your interest rate is 11%, you’ll have to pay back $5,550 (or $5K plus $550 in interest).

Once that’s paid off, you can continue making additional draws up to the $25K maximum, only paying interest on what you’re borrowing at any given time.

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