Secured Vs Unsecured Business Loans: The Difference and How it Matters for SMEs

To sustain their business growth, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sometimes need additional working capital, and the most direct way of getting it is to apply for a loan.

With business loans coming from banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and private money lenders, SMEs have multiple sources to get funding for their operations and expansion. However, these credit options have their pros and cons and should be understood to choose the most helpful alternative.

Secured vs Unsecured Business Loan

Most companies are familiar with the idea of a secured business loan that requires them to offer the lender some collateral as a security against the funding provided. The credit here is issued when the borrower hypothecates a financial asset to the lender. The hypothecation ends only when the entire principal, together with interest and any other associated charges, is fully paid off.

Banks and most other conventional sources of finance are more willing to offer secured loans because from the lender’s point of view, these carry less risk than unsecured funding.

The main advantage for a borrower taking a secured business loan is that the interest on such credit is lower since a guarantee of their asset backs the loan.

Conversely, the challenge is that lenders, particularly banks, accept only selective assets as collateral. They need to ascertain that such an asset can be liquidated in minimum time in case the lender defaults on payment. Due to this condition, many SMEs find it difficult to get secured loans. They may not have assets that are considered as relevant or sufficiently valuable by the lender.

An unsecured business loan, on the other hand, is granted without any collateral. A non-banking finance company with a digital lending model offers such loans based on the creditworthiness of borrowers. If a business has a successful operational history of at least one year, and there are no blots on its previous credit history, it is eligible to get its unsecured business loan from a digitally operating NBFC, also known as a FinTech company.

For an enterprise that has no collateral for business loans, it is natural to opt for an unsecured loan even though the interest charged on this is slightly higher than on secured loans. However, some FinTech companies have created additional benefits with their policies that make unsecured business loan better than secured loans on multiple fronts.

While looking at secured vs unsecured business loan, these are some of the advantages that make the latter more valuable for start-ups and SMEs:

  • An unsecured business loan is available for short terms – borrowers can take a working capital loan for a tenure of less than one year and thus avoid the burden of debt on long term.
  • A FinTech lending company usually has a fully digital application process for its unsecured loans – it takes less than 10 minutes to complete the application and the documents to verify the information therein can also be uploaded online.
  • The time taken to receive funds from a FinTech in the business bank account is less than a week – the application is usually reviewed on the same day when it is submitted, and, if approved, the sum is disbursed in the next 2-3 business days.
  • A loan processing fee of up to 2% and the interest rate are usually the only charges on a FinTech company’s unsecured business loan – the borrowers do not have to pay any documentation fee, loan insurance premium, legal fee and other hidden charges.
  • The repayment options are more flexible for unsecured loans issued by FinTechs – the borrowers can pay off the loan sooner than the predetermined schedule, and maybe charged a nominal pre-closure charge for making the payment.

For an SME that does not have financial assets to hypothecate and needs faster access to cash, will find unsecured business loan better than secured funding.

Here is a summarised view of the features for Secured Vs Unsecured Business Loan:

Secured Business loans from Institutional lenders Unsecured business loans from FinTech companies
Collateral required Backed by a financial asset for collateral No collateral / Security
Advertised interest rate (annual) Between 12% and 24% Between 18% and 24%
Loan processing fee >= 2% <= 2%
Extra charges May have extra charges for documentation, loan insurance and other statutory requirements No extra or hidden charges
Time to get funds into account 1 to 6 weeks 72 hours
Loan application process Digital and paper-based, document-intensive loan application Fully digitalised loan application and document submission
Repayment of loan Only through EMIs Flexible repayment options

Capital Float is a leading FinTech company that asks for no collateral for business loans. We have customised our loans for a variety of business purposes and working capital needs. Our short-term unsecured business loans are issued purely on the creditworthiness of the borrowers and the potential of an organisation to pay back in time. We evaluate every loan application within minutes of its submission to provide the decision on the same day.

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If you have an attractive business opportunity to capitalise upon, do not put off your plans. Talk to a representative in our customer service team at 1860 419 0999 and avail yourself of the benefits of a loan without collateral.

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Your Concise Guide to Choosing a Business Bank Account for Working Capital

Having a dedicated business bank account is important for business owners to effectively manage and utilise their working capital. With a simple segregation between personal and professional funds, the day-to-day transactions will be easier to track and document. It is also essential for compliance in IT returns filing and will help you to identify the correct deductions for your tax savings.

In India, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) generally use current accounts to manage their funds and to get a working capital loan. While no interest is received from these accounts, lately some banks in the private sector have started offering interest to attract more buyers for opening accounts with them. As a part of their services, the banks also provide working capital finance to their eligible customers with current accounts. However, these grants are sanctioned upon the pledging of an asset as collateral. Industrial, commercial or residential property or liquid securities have to be pledged while borrowing funds for business from a public or private sector bank.

With the availability of working capital financing solutions from digitally operating NBFCs – known as FinTech (technology) companies ¬– entrepreneurs can now have their dedicated business bank account and procure loans without pledging any collateral. These online platforms provide financial the benefits of less stringent terms and flexible repayments.

The question then is – how to choose the right bank account for business transactions? Most banks have now customised their current accounts into different sub-categories, and an enterprise can choose one based on its annual turnover and particular needs. The key expectations from such an account are:

Salary solutions for employees: You need to pay your employees on time every month, and may have to remit their remuneration through dedicated salary accounts or crossed cheques. The business bank account must make the execution of these processes simpler.

Digital banking services: In an era where all personal banking transactions can be done online, current accounts must also come with a host of online banking services. Your account must give you the flexibility of transferring funds anytime, anywhere, and of making regular payments on working capital demand loan that you may have procured from another financial institution. In addition to net banking, services such as phone banking, mobile banking and quick reverts on SMS-based queries are looked forward to as well. Mobile instant alerts on transactions must be provided by banks in the digital age.

Cheques payable at par: Your business bank account should offer the provision of personalised cheques payable at par across India. This conventional facility is good for business owners who prefer to use cheques over online banking for making payments to their employees, vendors, suppliers and to the companies that issued working capital finance to them.

Competitive foreign exchange rates: If your business operations involve buying from or selling to other countries, you will need seamless foreign exchange transactions. Choose your current account from a bank that offers competitive rates on foreign exchange rates routed through them.

Zero balance account: No business wishes to reach a point where they have zero balance in their bank account. Nevertheless, there can be tough times in the market and you may experience some strain on your finances. For emergencies, your business current account should allow you to reach zero balance even if it is for a temporary period. There should be no ‘penalty charges’ on such accounts. You can always update the balance with relentless focus and consistent efforts while working on your business objectives.

Where a zero balance account is not possible, the minimum monthly average balance (MAB) must be made affordable for SMEs. Alternatively, the penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance must not be very high. Do not hesitate to compare business accounts of different banks on this basis. Your working capital finance provider may also be able to guide you here.

Interest rate: We had mentioned earlier that current accounts do not usually involve interest earnings. This had been the norm in the banking industry for decades. However, with an increasing competition between public and private sector banks, things have changed. All financial institutions are trying to enhance their brand image in the industry by offering products that are more attractive to prospective customers. In this race, they have started delivering interest on idle money in business accounts while also giving the flexibility of accessing the funds anytime. With interest earnings on your account, you can also speed up the payments on your working capital loan procured from any source.

Businesses do have good reasons for applying for a separate banking account, and it also proves their creditworthiness to sources of working capital loan in India. Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and FinTech lenders can directly disburse funds into a current account.

The documents needed to open such accounts vary from bank to bank and depend on the type of business. Those investing in their start-ups are often asked to submit copies of their latest IT returns, PAN Card and ID and address proofs such as Aadhar Card or Passport copy. Partnerships, Limited Companies, Trusts, Associations and other corporations that involve more people and hire employees need extra documentation, which among other things must also include the registration deed for the business.

Further, check the fee and applicable charges on these business accounts. There may be charges for remittance facility from other banks, for the maintenance of debit cards and duplicate or ad hoc account statements.

As a FinTech lender, Capital Float disburses loans into your accounts in a duration as short as 3 days, helping you to keep going further for the consistent success of your venture. We have an array of loan products to help you work on the seamless growth of a project that you have enthusiastically nurtured.

Oct 24, 2018

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5 reasons to pay EMIs/Credit Card payments on time

Timely payment of EMIs or credit card bills is an essential aspect of taking charge of your financial life. Very often, people miss their bill payments because of their busy schedules. Making on-time bill payments a priority will lead to many benefits and will keep you out of debt traps.

Here are five reasons to pay your EMIs or credit card payments on time:

  • Good credit standing: Making timely payments of EMIs or credit card bills will ensure that your credit history remains positive. A good credit score makes you creditworthy. Having a high credit score will enable you to avail quick, formal finance to address your needs in the future.
  • Avail loans easily: If you have a high credit score, banks or financial institutions won’t hesitate to sanction your loans. You can even get higher loan amounts with low-interest rates.
  • Save on fines: You may avoid the penalty or late payment fee that banks charge by paying the EMIs or credit card bills on time. This helps avoid increasing your financial burden.
  • Save money: When you pay your EMIs or credit card bills on time, you save more as the interest on the outstanding amount does not increase. Lenders may charge high interest on delayed repayments.
  • Keep the monthly payments low: When you miss your bill payment for a month, you will need to pay it the following month. So, the amount to be paid in the next month will increase. Your next payment will include two installments and also the penalty charge, thereby compounding the owable amount. 

Late payments can affect the financial position of people adversely. Make it a habit to pay all your dues on time. It will not only reduce your stress level but also help you avail of all the benefits mentioned above.

Oct 24, 2018

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Tax Slabs & Understanding the Dynamics of Transactions under GST

Effective July 01, India would be joining a host of 160 other countries that have implemented GST/VAT in some form. This is a big step towards streamlined taxation norms. From new indirect tax slabs to drastically different taxation procedures, the Goods and Services Tax or the GST, will compel companies and taxpayers to realign their operating models.

Tax slabs in India under GST 

The new indirect taxation regime is based on a four-slab tax structure, and goods and services feature in these depending on their nature – whether it is a luxury item, a necessity or a leisure item. A total of 1211 items have been categorised under these four tax slabs, with a bulk of them (including services) being placed in the 18% bracket.

Previous tax rate (Approximate range) GST Rate Goods Services
No tax No tax Items of daily and mass consumption such as milk, butter, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meat, flours, bread, salt, prasad, bindi, sindoor, stamps and judicial papers, colouring books, newspapers, bangles etc. Hotels and lodges with a tariff below Rs 1000.
~ 5% (5% VAT and no excise) 5% Apparel below Rs 1000 and footwear below Rs 500, and essentials like kerosene and coal, medicines and insulin, stents. Edible oil, tea, coffee, frozen vegetables, skimmed milk powder, cashewnuts, incense sticks. Small restaurants, transport services like railways and air which have petroleum as the main input. Job works in textiles, gems, and jewellery.
~ 9% to 15% 12% Apparel over Rs 1000, Ayurvedic medicines, exercise books, preserves like pickles, sauces, ketchups, and fruit and vegetable preserves, umbrellas and packaged foods like butter, ghee, cheese, dry fruits. Basic cell phones. Non-AC hotels, pesticides and fertilisers, business class air tickets and work contracts.
~ 15% and 21% 28% Luxury goods and sin goods: SUVs, aerated drinks, white goods, paints,  ATM/ vending machines, vehicles, personal aircrafts; Sin goods such as bidis, chewing gum, paan masala. Certain select consumables will attract an additional cess. Movie tickets above Rs 100, five star hotels, race clubs, betting and other luxury services.

– Gold and rough diamonds have been allocated separate tax percentages of 3% and 0.25% respectively.

– Certain goods such as alcohol (for human consumption), consumption and sale of electricity, stamp duty and customs duty, and five petroleum products, namely, crude oil, natural gas, aviation fuel, diesel, and petrol have been excluded from GST for the initial years.

1. The GST council has revised the tax rates on 27 goods and 12 services with effect from 6 October 2017. Click here to read the revised list.

2. The GST council has revised the tax rates on 177 goods and services with effect from 15 November 2017.

3. The 25th GST Council met on 18 January 2018, where a third round of revisions was announced on 29 goods and 53 services, with effect from 25 January 2018.

How the transactions will change

Businesses will be impacted at both ends, i.e., at the inbound transactions such as imports (international business) and procurements (domestic), and at the outbound transactions, i.e., the sales. Here are some important transformations:

Place of Supply: Currently, many businesses operate on a state-wise warehousing model as transfers between inter-state warehouses are considered as stock transfers and are not liable to pay CST. Under GST, inter-state stock transfers between warehouses will also be subject to IGST at the “Place of Supply”. For example, a supplier of steel from Jharkhand to Orissa and Kerala, will need to pay IGST on the transfer of goods in Orissa and Kerala respectively. If there is a transfer of steel from the warehouse in Kerala to the warehouse in Orissa, IGST would still be applicable, but CST wouldn’t be payable on such a transaction. This change has been proposed to discourage suppliers from having multiple warehouses and adopt a single warehousing system.

Consideration of “Time of Supply Rules”: This factor determines when goods / services are to be supplied, and therefore, when the tax is to be paid (point of taxation). Under the GST, the Time of Supply for goods and services is the earlier of the following dates: (a) the date of issuing of invoice (or the last day by which invoice should have been issued) OR (b) the date of receipt of payment; whichever is earlier. For example, if the date of invoicing is May 20 and payment is received on July 1, the time of supply will be May 20. Which means that the  government wants to collect the tax at the earliest possible point in time, and businesses must plan their working capital keeping in mind these advanced payment timelines.

Provisions of Input Tax Credit: Input tax refers to the taxes that a manufacturer or service provider pays while buying the raw material or inputs. Under the GST, a business can reduce the tax it has paid on inputs from the taxes collected on outputs. In effect, businesses will be taxed only on the “value addition”. For example, if a manufacturer is paying Rs 300 on final product and has paid Rs 200 on inputs, he can claim input credit on Rs 200 and has a tax liability of only Rs 100. This facility will bring down the overall tax expenses of companies.

Lower exemption thresholds for Small Scale Industries: Currently, small scale industries can avail central excise threshold exemption of Rs. 1.5 crore. With the GST, this limit will be reduced to Rs. 20 lakh. As a result, a company that used to avail tax exemption of 1.5 crore can now avail only 20 lakh, leading to higher tax payments.   Benefits from higher registration threshold: Businesses with turnover of over 20 lakh (10 lakh for the North East) must mandatorily register for GST. Currently, the criteria for VAT is that businesses with turnover of over Rs 5 lakh (Rs 10 lakh for North East) must register for VAT. As a result a business that was in the Rs 5 lakh – Rs 20 lakh bracket is now exempt from indirect taxation.

These are some of the business-transactional implications of the GST. Organisations will have to design and implement extensive change management exercises to align GST with their desired business outcomes. Get more information about GST on our GST blog.

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Oct 24, 2018