How we rank for
For most people, the most important aspect of a business loans is a low APR (see our survey data). General interest rates change based on a number of factors, the two biggest being loan size and loan term.
12% Transparent Requirements
One of the other most important parts of a small business loan is having requirements that borrowers can see up front (see our survey data). In order to qualify for a business loan, you will usually need to meet a list of requirements. Although not standard, most lenders list three things they are looking at: your credit score, how long you’ve been in business, and what your annual revenue is. The minimum requirements for these will vary by company.
Business loans are either unsecured (meaning the borrow does not need to use any collateral to take out the loan) or secured (meaning the borrow has to agree to give up something he or she owns if the loan cannot be repaid). Typically, lenders either require business assets to be used as collateral or personal assets. Those who require personal assets are ranked lower because business loans can be a gamble and generally not worth losing everything you own over. See how our data backs this up.
6% Prepayment Penalties
When you pay off a loan earlier than its original term, you end up paying less interest and less overall. Some lenders want borrowers to pay a lot of money, so the penalize companies that pay off their loan early. Companies that specifically state they have no prepayment penalties are awarded higher marks in this category.
Another important aspect to consider is the origination fees. These fees are charged by the lender on entering into a loan agreement to cover processing costs. We also consider closing fees. These fees are paid at the end of the loan transaction. Companies with lower fees with score higher in this criterion.
5% Time to Funding
Going along with the approval time is the fund availability. There is no point in getting approved quickly if you do not get the funds just as quickly. Lenders who have a fast turnaround between application and funding receive high scores in this category. See how our data backs this up.
4% Loan Type
When taking out a business loan, there are many types of loans that are available. This category awards points to companies that offer more options when it comes to types of funding.
Availability is an important aspect to consider when choosing a company to work with. We take a look at which states the company is licensed to operate their lending services in.
4% Maximum Loan Amount
This criterion looks at the most money you can borrow from each company. The more money available to each borrower, the better.
Customers want to find a company that they can count on. In the industry, companies that are able to fund a significant number of loans while still being stable tend to be more reliable. The more loans a company is able to fund, the higher their score.
15% Consumer Reviews
This site is designed to let consumers share their experiences. Given our expertise in many industries and the knowledge that we have gained over the years, we know that some of the most important opinions come from real customers. That is why we have allocated so much of our overall rating to the voice of our validated customer reviews. The Consumer Reviews Score is broken down into three metrics:
- The Average User Score
- Total Number of Reviews
- Total Number of Reviews in the last 12 months
These 3 metrics not only help us understand what consumers are saying, they also help us gain an understanding of volume and recency. All of which are critical to understanding the value of a company in the eyes of the consumer.
Note: this is different from the user score that is displayed on each company profile. The “user score” that is publicly displayed is the average of all user scores published for a given profile.
User Review Moderation
In order to prevent fake and misleading user reviews, BestCompany.com has a review moderation team specifically assigned to moderating all user reviews for all companies listed on the site. This team follows a very specific and strict moderation process that has been designed by gathering learnings from mistakes other major review sites have made in the past.
This moderation process involves a “flag” system where a flag is assessed for each negative attribute associated with a user review. Too many flags result in a disapproval of a user review. Some of the things our moderation staff looks for and assigns potential flags to include:
- Email address verification of the user
- IP address duplication and region check
- User review semantic verification
- Is the user an employee of the organization?
- Is the user associated with a competitor of the organization?
- Foul language of any kind
- Relevance of the content pertaining to the company and the review
As you can probably tell, we take our user review moderation process very seriously. We believe accuracy and authenticity is critical when it comes to user reviews, and as a result we are constantly finding new ways to evolve our user moderation process to make it better. Please note that while we do our best to manually moderate each and every user review, mistakes can be made; however, our dedication to resolving errors in our process is what sets us apart from other review sites in the industry.
20% Expert Review
Along with the criteria points mentioned above, we take into account a variety of other factors that help determine the viability, stability and trustworthiness of a company. As experts, we conduct an extensive research process specifically tailored to each industry that considers many additional factors including:
- Financial Standing of the organization
- The number of industry experts and professionals on staff
- The company’s ability to scale
- Historical revenue/growth
- Past and current lawsuits
- Customer service and transparency
- And much more.
We consider this Expert Review process a vital component of how we rank and review companies. As a result, the factors included are always changing, adapting, and updating. We also reserve the right to voice our expert opinions as a part of each review.