Each of our reviews, scores, and rankings is derived from our proprietary Ranking Criteria™. We do not have any relationships with companies that guarantee position, rank or score—and we never will. Like many sites, we are compensated through affiliate relationships with each company we review; however, our Ranking Criteria™, along with real customer reviews from people like you, ensure we remain honest and unbiased. Read on to discover more about how user review moderation and expert scoring is processed or select an industry to see our full ranking criteria.

How we rank for

14% APR

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.

6% Collateral

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.

4% 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.

6% Fees

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.

3% 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.

4% Availability

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.

8% Active

This criterion is related to a company’s activity and the accuracy of its profile on our site. To get credit for this criteria, a representative of the company verifies to Best Company that the information about their company listed on our site is correct. Additionally, the company agrees to help us gather a minimum of five new reviews per month to be featured exclusively on bestcompany.com. These reviews are gathered either through our site or through our proprietary review acquisition process. Either way, each review undergoes a validation process by Best Company’s integrity team to ensure reviews on our site are verified and legitimate. We feel strongly that the information we feature on bestcompany.com must be accurate. A company that fails to increase their review count by at least five reviews each month is marked as “not active” and the company’s overall score is reduced accordingly.

4% Viability

This criterion is related to the company’s ability to service customers. Over time, as we learn more about each company and the industry, we are privy to details the general public may, or may not, be privy to. This information could include the financial stability, legal standing, or business practices of said company. Each company listed on our site is initially given full credit for this criteria. However, if we deem a company’s ability to service customers becomes compromised, we reserve the right to deduct points from their viability score.

30% 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:

  1. The Average User Score
  2. Total Number of Reviews
  3. 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.

 

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