Cash is like oxygen to a small business – essential for survival and growth. But, too many small business owners don’t know who to turn to in order to get access to the working capital necessary to support their mission and thrive. One of the more popular funding options out there is QuickBooks Capital, a business loan product offered by Intuit Financing Inc. While it’s certainly a popular option, given the online accounting software’s giant market share, there are many QuickBooks Capital alternatives for small business owners to consider when comparing their funding options.
What Is QuickBooks Capital?
QuickBooks Capital is a service offered by Intuit Financing Inc. that provides business loans to eligible QuickBooks customers. Funding options are customized for users depending on their unique business situation.
Getting a Loan Through the QuickBooks Capital Marketplace
Your business will need to provide proof of its financial stability before it can apply for financing through the QuickBooks Capital’s Marketplace. Here’s what QuickBooks looks at to determine if you’re eligible for a QuickBooks Capital loan.
- Your business details and records in QuickBooks
- Personal credit score and business credit history; minimum credit score of 620
- Primary business bank accounts you have connected
- Annual revenue of at least $50,000 over the last 12 months
- At least 6 months of activity in your account
- Not located in the U.S. states of Nevada or Alaska (QuickBooks Capital isn’t offered there at this time.)
While business collateral isn’t required, QuickBooks bases the loan in part on a personal guarantee. This means you promise to personally pay back the loan if your business is unable to, which is something to keep in mind before taking on funding.
Pros of QuickBooks Capital
The pros of getting a loan through QuickBooks Capital’s system include:
The biggest advantage of QuickBooks funding is the streamlined application process. Because the entire process takes place from within your QuickBooks account, it only takes a few minutes to apply.
Another benefit of QuickBooks Capital is that unlike many other funding options, it doesn’t come with any hidden or additional fees. You’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay upfront before agreeing to the loan, along with how much your weekly or monthly payments will be – and there’s no prepayment penalty if you want to repay early.
Finally, QuickBooks offers several customer support tools. If you have any issues with the application process or the platform, you can call their phone support for help. There’s also a live chat option so that you can send a quick message to a representative. The QuickBooks Capital’s FAQs and QuickBooks online Q&A community is also full of information.
Cons of QuickBooks Capital
One drawback of QuickBooks Capital is that you must have a QuickBooks account with at least 6 month of activity in it. (Which means that you can’t just create an account and immediately apply for QuickBooks funding.)
Additional QuickBooks Capital alternatives are offered from lending partners in the QuickBooks Capital Marketplace if you don’t like or don’t qualify for QuickBooks Capital – but the options are limited. And, they all come with their own eligibility requirements your business may or may not satisfy. Sometimes, it’s best to explore alternative funding options outside the QuickBooks ecosystem.
Top Alternatives to QuickBooks Funding
There are a number of lender partners and business financing options on the market with the mission of helping small businesses succeed. The approval process and minimum requirements for each of these financing options varies, so be sure to compare your options thoroughly before signing any contract.
How it works
If you don’t want to take on the debt from having QuickBooks Capital or don’t qualify for traditional business funding like a bank line of credit, you can sell your accounts receivable through invoice funding. With invoice factoring, a business owner sells its outstanding invoices to a factoring company. The business owner receives cash for the invoice amount, usually less fees, ahead of the payment terms. The business owner’s customer, who is responsible for paying the invoice, instead pays the outstanding invoice amount to the factoring company according to the original payment terms.
Here are a few common reasons small businesses use invoice financing:
- Making payroll costs
- Buying new equipment and inventory purchasing
- Paying their own suppliers & operating expenses
- Hiring staff
- Fulfilling large orders or projects that drive growth
How to qualify
Qualifying for invoice funding is actually a lot easier than the qualification process for traditional financing options. This is because the factoring company is more concerned with the credit history of the business’ customer than the business they’re purchasing the invoice from. This means that new businesses or those with a less than perfect credit profile can qualify more easily, without having to jump through a bunch of hoops.
Pros and cons
Like any QuickBooks Capital alternative lender, there are pros and cons to invoice financing. These are the biggest benefits of using invoice funding:
- Quick access to funding. You can get access to cash on approved invoices within a matter of days. This is much faster than banks that can take weeks, if not months.
- No debt. Unlike a loan, invoice financing doesn’t add a liability to your balance sheet.
- Reasonable fees. Over the years, factor rates have come down as low as 1.5% and advances have gone up, as high as 95% as well.
- Peace of mind. You will have stable cash flow to pay all business expenses, including payroll every month.
- Easier access. Unlike a bank loan, you do not need long years in business and a strong financial history. Instead, the factoring company focuses on the strength of your customers’ ability to pay the invoices. There are less strict requirements to qualify for invoice funding.
- Less paperwork. A factoring company will deal with the headache of paperwork, processing and collecting payments!
Some drawbacks of invoice funding include:
- Cost of factoring. Because factoring is a financial service, there’s still a fee associated with it. It’s important to research a factoring company thoroughly before funding an invoice, to ensure you aren’t charged any hidden fees such as a maintenance fee or closing fee. At FundThrough, we believe in transparency, so we show you the total cost before you fund an invoice, so you can make the best decision for your needs.
- Lose control of debt management. Once you sell an invoice to a factoring company, they take responsibility for collecting outstanding debts. Some companies are more aggressive in how they chase down late payments. At FundThrough, we know your reputation and customer relationship management is important, which is why we work with you first to settle overdue payments. See How We Work With Your Customers for more info on how we protect your reputation.
Working capital loans
Working capital loans are loans you can use specifically for your everyday operations. They are offered by a traditional financial institution like a bank. Short-term cash flow gaps are the most common reason businesses get a working capital loan – due to business expansion, a new project, or a gap in sales. They can take the form of term loans or cash flow loans with a fixed fee. Unfortunately, working capital loans often come with high interest rates, a complex loan application process, and are often tied to personal credit history (as well as your business credit score).
Traditional bank loans
You may also be able to secure funding via short-term loans or long-term loans through a traditional bank. The major drawbacks with this type of financing are that it requires a lengthy, complex, and time-consuming application process, often with strict requirements for qualification. These types of loans are often not available to newer businesses either, because they require a business history, which takes time to build up. It also requires you to go into debt in order to grow your business. Loan approval is not guaranteed, and loan terms aren’t always favorable. That said, they’re still a popular choice among a lot of small businesses as they offer the convenience of a lump-sum injection of cash, with regular monthly payments over different term lengths.
Line of credit
A business line of credit is an arrangement between a borrower and lender that allows for a maximum loan balance that the borrower can maintain and is subject to an interest rate. A borrower can draw funds from the line of credit at any time, as long as the maximum loan amount is not exceeded. One benefit of lines of credit is that you can pay back any amount at any time, so long as you make the minimum monthly payments that are set by the lender. These monthly payments can be a combination of interest and principal, or only interest. Like traditional business loans, the application process can be long and difficult.
Small business grants are available through federal, state, and local governments, among other sources. They’re an excellent QuickBooks Capital alternative because they are essentially “free” money – you don’t have to pay them back. The application for a small business grant can be time-consuming, but the payoff can be well worth the effort.
Business-to-business (B2B) lending
B2B lending service is a type of loan arrangement where one business chooses to loan funds to another. In many ways, B2B business loans operate in much the same manner as a traditional bank loan, with similar terms and conditions. Often, B2B lenders aren’t the financial source making the loans themselves. Instead, they facilitate the funding process between small businesses and their lenders.
Venture capital is a form of QuickBooks Capital alternative financing that is provided by venture capital firms or funds to new or growing businesses. In exchange for working capital, a business repays the original investment with a healthy profit margin at a certain stage of growth.
An angel investor is a private investor – usually a high net worth individual – who invests in new and quickly growing businesses. They do so typically in exchange for ownership equity in the company. One benefit of angel investors is that they are invested in the success of the business, and often bring a wealth of experience to the table. The downside is that you’re giving up a portion of the business in order to secure a one-time cash injection.
Crowdfunding is an attractive option for funding that allows businesses to secure working capital from many people invested in supporting their growth. One benefit of using crowdfunding as a QuickBooks Capital alternative is that you aren’t giving away equity in your business, and you can test the popularity of a concept before going to market. One negative aspect is that they don’t have good success rates, so be prepared to pivot to Plan B if you don’t meet your goal.
Merchant cash advance
One final QuickBooks Capital alternative is a merchant cash advance, or merchant cash loan. This is a lump-sum payment that is provided to a small business by a merchant account provider in exchange for a percentage of future credit card sales i.e. repayment is directly tied to future sales. Merchant cash advance payments are automated and typically withheld by the credit card processor until the initial amount plus interest is paid back in full.
Learn More & Get Started
If you’re interested in learning more about QuickBooks Capital, our A-to-Z Guide on QuickBooks Financing is chock full of information, and answers some of the most popular questions QuickBooks accounting software users have about QuickBooks Capital and alternatives.
Ready to get started invoice funding in Canada and the United States? FundThrough can help. See if you qualify for our invoice funding solution, or connect your QuickBooks account to FundThrough to get started.