How to get a business loan

Find out how to get a business loan or get started now with our simple application.

  • Apply online in 10 minutes
  • Decision in as little as 1 hour
  • Borrow £10,000 to £500,000
  • Rates from 2.9% - 12.1% p.a.
British Business Bank

Funding Circle is accredited by the Government-owned British Business Bank to provide business loans of £25,001 to £350,000 under the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). .

How to get a business loan: step-by-step

Do you want to take your business to the next level with a fast, affordable business loan? Follow these steps to prepare your application and boost your chances of being approved. We’ll take you through the key considerations when applying, and walk you through how to get a business loan, step by step.

Preparing to apply for a business loan

Before you apply for a business loan, taking a moment to get your plans and documents in order will give you the best chance of being approved.

Your credit report will be checked when you apply for business finance, so get a copy of your report and make sure it’s accurate and up to date. We use reports from Experian and TransUnion.

The most favourable loan terms are generally reserved for loan applicants who have a good credit score, so it may be worth exploring how you can improve yours before you apply. If you’d like to learn more, we’ve put together some simple tips for improving your credit score here.

If you have outstanding business debts that can be settled, doing so before you apply could help your application. Healthy cash flow is also beneficial, so consider calling in any due payments too. Here is more information on how to consolidate business debt before you start your loan application.

Depending on your circumstances, we may review your latest financial accounts as part of your application, so again make sure they are accurate. If it’s been over 2 years since you last filed your business accounts, we may require you to file fresh accounts.

On these accounts, you’ll be asked to show a detailed Profit & Loss statement, and you’ll also need to provide your balance sheet.

Be prepared to provide a clear explanation of what the funds will be used for. If it’s for a broad purpose like extra working capital, provide detail on how this will benefit your business. You might also want to borrow to consolidate existing business debts, and you can find more information on how to consolidate business debt here.

Make sure you assess how much money you need and what you can afford to repay. This will not only show your credibility during the assessment process, but will help you respond to any offers with confidence. To help you with this, you can check out our business loan calculator here, which provides a rough breakdown of how much your monthly repayments could cost for the amount you want to borrow.

When comparing business finance options, think how much time will be needed to manage each product as well as interest rates and fees. For example, variable rate products will need more monitoring than fixed rate ones, and some lenders may ask for annual reports or check ins. This will take time away from other revenue creating activities.

Our fixed-term loans are a great option for small business owners as they are flexible, easy to apply for, and you stay in control. Unlike secured business loans, you won’t have to wait while your business assets are valued, or seek permission if you want to sell those assets in the future.
Lisa Jacobs, CEO Designate

A Funding Circle small business loan can be much more affordable than a business overdraft or credit card.

Mike of award-winning tea company Bird & Blend took out a business loan to grow and create jobs during the pandemic. Read more.

How to apply for a business loan

It’s quick and easy to apply for small business finance online and our support team are on hand if you have any questions.

  1. Check if you qualify in 30 seconds

    See if you’re eligible without affecting your credit score.

  2. Apply online in 10 minutes

    Tell us about you and your business with our simple application.

  3. Get your decision

    If approved, you’ll receive a no-obligation, personalised quote.

  4. Your loan is funded

    Once you accept, we run some final checks to process your loan and deposit the money straight into your account.

Apply now

Here to help if you need us

Our UK-based team are here to help throughout your loan.

0800 048 2467

Need help? Call us.

Brilliant service and every step is made to be as easy and straight forward as possible.
Mel, March 2021

Making a loan application

As we value your time, we’ve streamlined our loan application process to be fast, efficient, and finished in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea. What’s more, unlike some other lenders, in our application process there are:

  • No in-person interviews
  • No business plans
  • No financial forecasts

Start your loan application by clicking here.

We’ll ask for details about your business such as turnover and number of employees, as well as the name, address and date of birth for your key shareholders, so it’s worth having these on hand.

Depending on your application, we may ask for the following documents:

Business bank statements (for the last six months), showing:
  • Account name and registered address (must match the business named on application)
  • Sort code and account number
  • All daily transactions
Your latest, full company accounts, showing:
  • Detailed profit and loss
  • Balance sheet information
If we don’t need it, we won’t ask for it

To save you time and effort, wherever we can, we use publicly available sources such as Companies House or new technologies such as Open Banking to get the information we need. This makes applying more efficient, and many businesses don’t need to provide any documents to apply.

Our dedicated UK-based team is on hand to answer your questions 9am to 6pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 5pm Friday (excluding public holidays). You can call them on 0800 048 8726, and they’ll keep you updated throughout the process.

We’re not just customer service professionals, we’re small business experts with years of experience working with business owners, like you. Unlike other lenders, SMEs are our sole focus, so you get our undivided attention. Whatever a customer’s query – big or small – we're here to help.
Matt Barton, Head of Sales

Check your eligibility in 30 seconds with our online form without affecting your credit score.

Getting a decision on your business loan

Once you’ve completed your application, you could receive a decision and a personalised offer in as little as 1 hour. If you accept your offer, your loan will be paid straight into your bank account in a matter of days.

We know a quick decision is one of the most important factors for business owners, so we’ve invested in our team and technology to give you a fast, fair, and accurate decision. Our Credit Assessment team have decades of experience at top financial institutions, and they’re supported by cutting edge technology and over 10 years of data from lending exclusively to SMEs.

We look at a wide variety of factors when we assess your application, including your credit score, bank transactions and trading history. We’ll judge what you can afford to repay based on how your business has done up to now, so you’re not dependent on future growth to repay the loan. You may get a higher or lower offer depending on what we think you can afford. We want to say yes to as many businesses as possible, and if you have a poor credit history you may still get approved, but at a higher interest rate.

You’ll receive an email outlining your offer. It will include your approved loan amount, term, interest rate and monthly repayments. One of our Account Managers will also call you to discuss the offer and answer any questions you have.

Your offer email will include instructions of what to do next. You will need to log in to accept the loan terms and send a copy of an ID document and proof of address. The loan contract will be sent by email and can be signed electronically.

If a personal guarantee is required or there are any offer conditions, these will also need to be completed and returned.

Once these documents are completed, your loan will be paid into your bank account in as little as 24 hours.

We’re the lending assessment experts behind the Funding Circle platform. We’ve built advanced processes to review the information we collect from any applicant. Using your application, as well as information from your bank, credit report, and Companies House, we get a detailed picture of your financial situation. Our processes are designed to save you as much time and effort as possible, while making sure you get a fair decision and price.
Belkacem Krimi, Chief Risk Officer, Europe

Related resources

Learn more about your options for small business loans

Business loan calculator

Find out how much a loan could cost with our business loan calculator.

Learn more

Resource centre

Find guides, tips and more in our dedicated resource centre for small business owners.

Learn more

Business loans

Learn what you can borrow for, how to apply and how we’ll help you with a quick decision.

Learn more

How it works

See how our business loans work and how we can help you go further.

Learn more

Recovery Loan Scheme

Apply for the Government's Recovery Loan Scheme

Learn more

Secured or unsecured loans

Understand the difference between the two and find the right option for your business.

Learn more

We’re here to help

Contact our team if you have any questions.

0800 048 2467

Need help? Call us.