A business line of credit is a type of financing arrangement where a business can borrow funds from a business lender. Drawing down the funds can be done all at once or in several parts, until you reach the fixed credit limit. Each single drawn down is automatically turned into a separate loan, that will each be repaid according to a separate repayment schedule. The business repays each loan with interest, during a predetermined loan duration period.
How does a credit line work?
When securing a business line of credit, you as a business owner will sign a credit line agreement with a lending institution. The agreement holds all predetermined conditions, such as the credit line limit, the interest rate and duration period. Generally the lender allows a so-called commitment period during which the business can draw down the funds. After the commitment period ends, the credit line will be ‘locked’. Each draw down, whether that is the entire credit amount or parts of it, will be turned into a separate loan that each has its own repayment schedule, varying from a couple of months (short term) to a several years (long term).
Nowadays, many lenders offer business lines of credit without a personal guarantee. As many businesses may have already provided collateral for a secured loan, unsecured credit lines therefore often work well as a top-up in a business’ overall finance mix.
Many modern day lenders offer swift and easy online application processes, meaning you no longer have to spend time arranging physical appointments and documentation.
It is possible to receive an offer without commitment or obligations from a business lender, allowing you to decide where and when to draw down the funds.
Not suitable for starters
As an unsecured business line of credit is not based on assets, your company credit needs to be strong, and you need to prove that the business is financially stable and profitable. This means well-established businesses with a longer cashflow history are more likely to successfully apply for an unsecured credit line than start-up companies with a limited track-record.
Fixed commitment period
When issuing a business line of credit, lenders often apply a fixed commitment period during which the funds need to be drawn down. After the commitment period ends, the funds will be locked and you will need to reapply for a credit line.
"A business line of credit from Spotcap allowed us to purchase the stock we needed to deliver great client service, which in turn allowed us to open our office in Philadelphia, as well as seeing a 55% increase in turnover!"
Leverage a business line of credit to grow your business in a healthy way
Boost your cash flow
Are you dealing with high seasonality and unpredicted cash flow in your business or industry? Secure additional working capital to keep your cash flow steady in unpredictable times.
New projects might demand high investments upfront. Secure a large project or order with additional funds. Invest in an unsecured loan that will repay itself over time.
Dealing with long payment terms with your buyers and/or suppliers? Leverage an unsecured loan to bridge your receivables.
Bridge low seasons
Business that are active in leisure and hospitality might see a significant low season each year. Use a bridging loan to keep your cash flow steady.
Credit Line FAQs
Where can I get a business line of credit?
Traditionally, British banks were responsible for issuing the major chunk of business credit in the market. Nowadays the financial landscape is far more divers, offering a variety of financial solutions. Business owners can apply for a business line of credit in person, or seek financial advise, for instance from a finance broker.
How much business credit can I get?
This entirely depends on the financial situation of the applicant. Lenders generally base their credit assessment on a variety of factors, including your financial track record, credit score, risk profile and recent business performance. Depending on the outcome of the credit analysis, the lender will decide on the limit and duration period of your credit line. This may vary from £10k up to £1 million or more, and from several months to several years, depending on the issuing lender.
Business line of credit without personal guarantee
It is possible to secure a business line of credit without personal guarantee. As the lender takes over the risk from the business for an unsecured credit line, the business therefore needs to be well established and healthy to qualify. A business line of credit without personal guarantee is generally not a good solution for start ups or for businesses that have financial challenges, but works well for healthy businesses that want to grow.
Business line of credit vs business loan
A business line of credit is a fixed amount of credit, from which a business can borrow one or multiple amounts. A business line of credit is often available to a business free of cost or commitment. Each draw down from the credit line amount, will automatically become a separate loan. Only then, the business starts repaying the loan with interest, which is also the point at which the lender starts to make profit (from interest). That is the difference between a credit line and a loan.
Business line of credit rates
The cost of a business line of credit may vary depending on the issuer. Securing a credit line may cost a business some form of collateral, depending on the nature of the financial solution. Furthermore the lender may charge a service fee or commission fee upfront. After drawing down the funds, the business starts repaying the loan with interest. Interest rates are highly variable but can often be researched on the lender’s website.
Want to know more?
Speak to our client services team on 0203 308 9188 or have a look at our brochure.