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Updated on Thursday, January 28, 2016
LiftForward is an alternative lender that offers small and mid-sized businesses quick access to funding. It specializes in working capital, purchase order and asset-backed loans. LiftForward will also refinance merchant cash advances also known as MCA. (A merchant cash advance is when you receive cash upfront for your business and agree to repay the cash back and fees with a percentage of your credit card sales.)
According to LiftForward, you can submit an application in less than 10 minutes. Then within 24 hours someone from underwriting will contact you to go over loan options. The goal is to have your application approved and the loan fully funded within 48 hours. Depending on your credentials, LiftForward may even be able to give you $50,000 in funding the same day.
Now, if you’re shopping for a business loan, you’ve probably noticed there are many online lenders offering alternatives to the average brick-and-mortar loan. In this post, we’ll go over the details of LiftForward and compare it to other options to help you decide if it’s the right one for you.
LiftForward Loan Details
LiftForward offers loans from $10,000 to $4,000,000 dollars and loan terms from 3 to 48 months. According to a LiftForward representative, interest rates range from 17.00% to 22.00%. Although, the website states a different range of 0.67% to 3.00% interest per month which works out to be about 8% to 46% annually.
As far as qualifying criteria, LiftForward is fairly flexible. Your personal credit score must be at least 600. However, LiftForward is willing to work around your credit score if you can show business strength.
Aside from your personal credit score, LiftForward will consider the number of years you’ve been in business, your business credit score and revenue. Having at least two years in business is preferable, but LiftForward is willing to approve a newer business if you have a track record of success. After your first loan, you can keep requesting financing through the account you create without applying again.
Fees and Gotchas
According to LiftForward, there’s an origination fee that ranges from 1.00% - 5.00% and the total cost of your loan will include that fee plus your interest. Here’s an example scenario: If you borrow $10,000 for 36 months with a 2% origination fee the total loan is $10,200. With interest rates from 0.67% to 3.00% per month, the total cost of the loan will range from $11,517.91 to $16,929.58.
Pros and Cons
So, what are the pros of LiftForward? The top benefit is the speed and ease at which you can get your hands on money. Plus, LiftForward will let you borrow a large sum. The application is completely online which is convenient. In addition, LiftForward has flexible qualification criteria. An underwriter will call you and together you can come up with a loan option that’s tailored to your business needs. As your business grows you can also borrow more money.
Lastly, merchant cash advance fees can get very expensive. If you qualify for a reasonable rate with LiftForward, a refinance to a business loan can save you money.
As for the drawbacks of LiftForward, let’s face it, there are a lot of lenders online with easy application processes and many of them also have more competitive interest for a business loan. So, ultimately, the convenience factor doesn’t make LiftForward stand out of the crowd.
Obtaining loan details like the rates, qualification criteria and fees for the LiftForward loan takes some extra effort. The information on the website differs from the information you’ll receive if you call in for rates and fees, so you should verify your rate in writing before accepting an offer.
Alternatives to LiftForward Business Loans
Consider starting with LendingTree. LendingTree helps you find the best deal for your business by allowing you to compare multiple financing options from lenders at one time. You fill out a short form on the online marketplace and may receive up to five business loan offers.
Funding Circle and SmartBiz are two competitors where you may be able to score a lower interest rate and lower fees if you have a strong business and good credit history.
FundingCircle offers loan terms of 3 to 120 months. Interest rates range from 4.99% to 24.90% APR. You can borrow from $25,000 to $500,000. The origination fee is 3.49% - 6.99%. You can get approved within 10 minutes and get funding within 2 weeks. Funding Circle provides loans to help you meet business goals like expanding, hiring new people or purchasing equipment.
SmartBiz is another loan option for business owners and it happens to offer the SBA loan. An SBA loan is unique because the Small Business Administration backs it; this allows for special benefits like lower interest rates and longer loan terms. You can borrow from $30,000 to $5,000,000 for 120 to 300 months. Interest rates range from 4.75% to 7.00%.
SmartBiz charges a 0.00% - 4.00% referral fee. If you borrow over $151,000 there’s also a 2.25% SBA guarantee fee. To qualify for a SmartBiz loan, you can’t have any adverse credit history. You have to be in business for at least 2 years and have enough cash flow to cover your payments. Pre-qualification takes a few minutes and you can get money in 7 days.
Who Will Benefit Most from a LiftForward Loan?
LiftForward may be on your shopping list, but it shouldn’t be at the top. Sure, the money is quick and the qualification criteria accommodating, but these are also signs of high interest. Take the time to shop around for the very best deal before you settle on this business loan.