FastUpFront is an alternative business lending company specializing in cash advances for small businesses. While the company began operations in 2007, FastUpFront saw tremendous growth in 2009 when small businesses were struggling during the recession. They made it their mission then, as it is now, to take on new borrowers and extend as much small business financing as possible to help existing businesses grow and expand.
FastUpFront’s focus is on providing quick financing for established companies with credit card sales of as low as $2,500. They don’t require good credit scores, collateral, or a business plan, and their repayment terms are more flexible than those of traditional bank loans. They work with several lenders to secure the funding needed by small businesses and they make it easy to get approved and get the funds.
Types of Loans Offered
- Business Cash Advance (Merchant Cash Advance) – Borrow up to $250k
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The biggest selling point of FastUpFront is that their small business cash advances, are available to almost everyone. They do not request any credit score information, so businesses with bad credit can still qualify for funding (although this is mostly inferred because they do not provide any information on minimum requirements). They also do not require collateral or an established business plan, and they have an advertised 95% approval rate for their unsecured cash advances.
The quick online application is free and is also available to be downloaded and either faxed or emailed. Applications can be approved within 24 hours and funding can be received within 7 days. Although FastUpFront advertises cash advances of up to $250,000 they have recently begun to extend that amount with larger loans.
Unlike traditional bank loans or other small business loans, small business cash advances (also called credit card factoring) can be used for anything related to the business, making them more flexible and appealing to a wide range of businesses. FastUpFront particularly appeals to businesses in industries that may typically have a difficult time securing traditional loans and financing, such as:
- Automotive businesses
- Bars and nightclubs
- Construction businesses>
- Beauty salons
- Seasonal businesses
- Small retailers
- Trucking businesses
- Medical practices
- Dental practices
Another main selling point for FastUpFront is that their repayment plans are flexible and automated. Their cash advances are based on future sales, so instead of determining a fixed repayment amount for a finite term, payments are a percentage of future sales with repayment terms generally varying from 2 months to 2 years. This means that when sales are down, the payment amounts go down as well, making it easier to keep the business running normally. The payments are automatically withdrawn from credit card sales or from a bank account. FastUpFront does not require businesses to switch to a new credit processor or terminal in order to make those payments.
Although the most accessible information on FastUpFront’s website is dedicated to the advantages of business cash advances, their blog and associated articles cover a broad range of business-related topics that could prove helpful to small business owners.
FastUpFront has an A+ BBB rating and do not have any complaints filed within the last three years; they are also a BBB accredited company.
FastUpFront seems to base their approvals in large part on the credit card sales of the applying businesses. They require information about a business’s monthly credit card sales and revenue. This means they are also only interested in companies that are established and have been operating and generating revenue for some time.
Many of the points we look at could not be found on FastUpFront’s website. Unavailable information includes:
- Minimum application requirements (annual revenue, tim in business, credits score)
- Term length
- Prepayment penalties
- APR and interest rates
- Which locations are eligible for funding
Specific information about FastUpFront’s interest rates was not available but is reportedly within the normal range for that type of business and depends greatly on a business’s monthly revenue, repayment term, and length of operation.
Alternative lenders typically provide fast access to cash (1-3 days). However, FastUpFront takes a week for funds to be available.
Though there are no application or upfront fees, there can be additional fees later on if a company successfully finds financing through FastUpFront’s services. The bulk of negative online reviews revolve around both the higher interest rates and fees that were not refunded; however, the number of negative reviews was small.
While the blog posts and linked articles on the website provide information and tips helpful to small business owners, FastUpFront is not an unbiased source of information. Although the information on their website seems far reaching in its scope, much of it is focused solely on the advantages of a business cash advance. Instead of providing specific information about particular industries or acting as a resource for different types of loans, the selling points of the FastUpFront cash advance system are repeated.
FastUpFront has been around for several years, but they still seem to be a small company with limited customer service. Their live chat often does not have an available representative and they do not respond rapidly (or at all) to emailed inquiries. It can also be extremely difficult to reach them by phone, though they do respond quickly to voicemails.
*Star Rating is determined by evaluating APR range, minimum credit score requirement, revenue requirement, length in business requirement, and other related approval data.