What is a Business Loan? How to Apply for It?

A start-up that takes off well with its business idea gradually strategizes about other plans to cement its growth. However, despite a fair degree of success, these small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can face a shortage of funds to fuel their progress.

The business revenue that helps to pay employees, purchase raw materials, maintain the premises, meet other expenses and even make profits may not be enough to invest in further growth. Fortunately, there are business loans that come to the rescue of enterprising organisations at this time. These are provided by banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and private money lenders.

This article answers some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on unsecured and fast business loans offered by NBFCS with a digital lending model. They are also referred to as FinTech companies and are being increasingly approached by startups who find their lending policies more flexible than those of conventional sources.

What is a business loan?

A business loan is a form of financial support that helps commercial organisations to keep up with their growth plans. It is particularly valuable for micro, small and medium enterprises that start their operations with a low level of funds and may not have a substantial amount of funds to invest in bigger initiatives. These include the purchase of new machinery/equipment, adding more product lines, upgrading product features, starting the business at a new location or any other activity that will improve and develop the enterprise.

Is it really a good idea to take a business loan? Won’t it be an additional burden in books of accounts?

Any loan is a liability in accounts. However, when a business takes credit for productive purposes, it can also afford to pay it back with the revenue generated by intelligently channelizing the funds. When there is an attractive business opportunity, and it merely needs some financial investment, the required funds can materialize in the form of fast business loans offered by a FinTech lending company.

If the business procrastinates, the amount required in investment may increase with time, or the opportunity may completely vanish. It is, therefore, better to borrow the funds from an institutional lender and take advantage of the opportunity when it is available.

Thanks to the flexible repayment policies of FinTech lenders, the debt can be cleared before the scheduled term of the loan.

How to apply for a business loan? Does an MSME need anything, in particular, to apply for these funds?

Applying for a loan at a Fintech lender is a simple process that takes less than 10 minutes. The application is available online and asks for basic information of the and the enterprise in question. An MSME should have been operating in its industry for at least one year to be an eligible borrower.

The details provided in the digital application need to be substantiated with corresponding documents. This stipulation, however, does not require the borrowers to send any printed copies of the papers to the lender’s office. They only need to scan the necessary documents and upload them as PDFs with the application.

What are the documents required for a business loan application?

A FinTech lender typically asks for minimum possible documentation. It simply wants to verify the credentials of the prospective borrower and make sure that the business has been operating in conformity with the tax regulations and statutory laws of the country. Generally, the required paperwork include:

  • Photo IDs and KYC documents of the business owners
  • Latest ITR/GST returns
  • Business bank account statements for the last six months to one year

The loans provided by a FinTech company are often tailored based on the amount approved, the term of the loan and the purpose of the loan. At times, borrowers may be required to submit a few additional documents . They can find answers to queries such as ‘how to apply for working capital loan’ or ‘how to apply for machinery loan’ on the company’s website. For more details, they can call the customer service team and get the exact list of documents pertaining to their loan.

How long does it take for a business loan to be approved?

In addition to ‘how to apply for business loan’, a frequently asked question on this subject relates to the time within which the finance is available for use.

It usually takes between 1-6 weeks to get a business loan from private and public sector banks, while it only takes three days when such funding is availed from a Fintech lender. Due to the digitized application and document submission system, it does not take long to review the details and provide a decision on the requested funds. For every approved application, the money is deposited in the business bank account within 2-3 business days.

How much loan can a business get from a FinTech lender?

This depends on the individual requirements and the purpose of the loan. While the range of available credit from a FinTech lender can start from five lakhs and go up to a crore, it is recommended that the borrowers have a near-precise idea of the sum that will help them to fulfil their requirement.

Some businesses apply for only a part of the total required sum and make the remaining investment from their savings. Keeping the loan amount on the lower side is a sound way to avoid paying unnecessary interest. Similarly, borrowing a lower amount may result in the SME falling short of funds at a later stage. SMEs must evaluate their credit needs as closely as possible while applying for a loan.

Nevertheless, FinTech lenders do not turn down requests for ‘big amounts’ once they have verified the earning capacity of a business and are confident that the borrower would not default on repayments.

A FinTech company may also offer an eligibility calculator to help the potential borrowers calculate the maximum amounts they can borrow. Such a calculator takes business earnings, expenses and its operational history into account to compute the borrowable funds. Capital Float understands the anxiety of a business that wonders ‘how to apply for business loan without collateral’? We know that many SMEs are unable to get the loan they deserve due to lack of financial assets to pledge as collateral. This is why we offer only unsecured business loans.

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Your enterprise qualifies for our funding if it has a minimum operational history of one year, has been earning reasonable revenue throughout its tenure, has a sound credit history and is compliant with the laws of the land. To know more about fast business loans and for queries on any specific working capital loan, please call us at 1860 419 0999. You can also meet us in person by scheduling an appointment.

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Online Seller Finance – working capital loans for e-commerce merchants

The fact that ecommerce is growing exponentially all over the world is undeniable. Entrepreneurs everywhere are competing with each other to get a piece of this lucrative pie. Definitely, starting a business in the virtual world entails much less costs, making it easier for more and more people to fulfill their dreams of running their own enterprise.

However, even with ecommerce, there are some things that do need to get taken care. For instance, you will need an impactful website that stands out among the crowd and you will need products and/or services that the market is currently looking for. You will also need to identify a network of suppliers that you can work with and hire employees to take care of the day-to-day activities as well.

Most importantly, you require capital to keep the business running and leverage business opportunities. This is where Capital Float’s Online Seller Finance comes to the rescue. If you, as a new entrepreneur, were to approach a bank or NBFC for a loan, you will be faced with difficult terms and conditions, the least of which is proving that you’ve run the business successfully for at least a year.

On the other hand, with the flexibility, ease of processing and convenience of accessing working capital even an amount as low as ₹1 lakh to as high as ₹3 crores, Online Seller Finance, specifically designed for ecommerce businesses, is the way to go.

Features 

1) Loan range from 1 lakh to 3 crores

We cater to a wide range of e-commerce merchants. Each merchant has a different capital requirement based on their business need or opportunity. With our wide ticket range, we cater to practically any working capital requirement of the online seller segment. These funds could be used for a variety of purposes such as making supplier payments, adding inventory during peak seasons or diversifying into new product categories.

2) Customized credit criteria

We acknowledge that each merchant is inherently different and must be treated individually. Unlike many traditional financial institutions, we don’t follow a cookie-cutter method to underwrite our customers. By leveraging Big Data & Analytics, we are able to underwrite each customer on the merit of their business performance and offer a tailored credit product. For example, the merchant is offered a specific loan amount basis their monthly sales on the marketplace and projected revenue.

3) Quick, online application process

We are a digital finance company and believe in limited paperwork. We offer the convenience of technology to our customers right from the start of the relationship. Borrowers can apply online using their mobile devices, as long as they are connected to the internet. The 10-minute application is very simple, quick and entirely hassle-free. The borrower can upload their documents online and need not visit a physical office for presenting the documents.

4) No pre-closure charges

Borrowers can close their loan by repaying the balance amount before the end of the agreed tenure. We offer the feature of ‘no pre-closure charges’, which means that the borrower will not be liable to pay any extra charges for closing the loan ahead of time.

5) Get up to 2x credit based on your marketplace sales

Online merchants applying for ‘Online Seller Finance’ can avail up to twice the amount of sales they make on e-commerce marketplaces. For example, if the seller makes ₹10 lakhs in sales per month, the seller can receive working capital funds of up to ₹20 lakhs. These funds can fuel growth on the marketplaces, helping the seller to increase their business geometrically. Higher the sales, the higher the eligible loan amount, higher the chances of leveraging business opportunities.

Benefits

1) Collateral-free

Our Online Seller Finance credit product is an unsecured working capital loan. The borrower need not pledge any security or asset as collateral to avail this loan. Funds are approved on the merit of the borrower’s business performance on the marketplace and not on their assets. Merchants can avail funds and operate without the anxiety of conceding their securities.

2) Funds in 3 days

Our technology and Big Data capabilities help us speed up the underwriting process. We understand that ‘timing makes all the difference’ to online merchants, given how dynamic the business is. Payments can’t be delayed and opportunities must be seized immediately. Bearing this in mind, we disburse loans to the borrower in less than 72 hours of the loan application.

3) Flexible repayment terms

Banks and other NBFCs typically function using the model of EMIs, or easy-monthly-installments. ‘Online Seller Finance’ allows you to repay the installment on a fortnightly basis. As a result, the installment is smaller in amount and is less burdensome to repay when compared to a monthly installment, which would typically be twice the sum. This way, your cash flows remain unaffected and you have more funds to deploy into your business.

4) Ideal for expanding your business

Financing the online seller segment is relatively new in the lending space. Not many financial institutions have fully understood this segment, which has caused several e-commerce sellers to return empty handed from formal lenders. Capital Float was the pioneer in digital lending to e-commerce sellers. Therefore, we’ve made it a lot easier for online merchants to avail finance for their business. Our partnerships with leading marketplaces like Amazon, PayTM, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shopclues, eBay, Craftsvilla, etc. has enabled us to reach to a wide range of sellers. Merchants on these platforms can avail easy funding and expand their business on the platform.

Eligibility and Documents

To qualify for ‘Online Seller Finance’ you must comply with the following parameters.

Eligibility

1) Applicant’s business must have minimum operational history of 1 year

2) Applicant’s partnership minimum vintage should be between 3-6 months

3) Minimum quarterly sales of ₹25,000

Documents

1) Bank statements for the last six months

2) KYC documents of the applicant and the organization

Fee and Charges

At Capital Float, we conduct business in the most transparent manner. This means, you’re only obligated to pay a processing fee of up to 2% for the loan. There are no hidden or pre-closure penalties during or after your application procedure.

Oct 24, 2018

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5 Things to Know About Short Term Business Loans

If you are planning to embark on a new venture or are already running an enterprise, knowing all about short-term loans will serve you well.

Money plays a crucial role in your entrepreneurial journey, determining the size and scope of your business. After all, when you are brimming with ideas to cater to a market need, the last thing you want on your hands is a financial concern that could result in a compromised business opportunity.

Fortunately every problem has a solution and financial solutions for businesses come in many forms.

Reach out to experts

Should you require commercial finance, a short-term business loan could prove to be immensely useful. Wondering what exactly short-term loans are? You could ask friends who have applied for one, or approach specialized financial companies like us. You would be better placed to know more about short term business loans before applying for one. This is particularly useful if you are venturing into business for the first time as a small entrepreneur.

What is a short-term loan?

The simplest way to understand the concept of a short-term loan is to think of it as a business loan that provides immediate working capital to your company. You are given a lump sum amount that you have to repay within a period of one year, or up to five years at most. This is in contrast to other loans which can be repaid over a longer term.

Financial experts say that a short term business loans hold the potential of making or breaking your company. As per a study, conducted by the National Small Business Association, 19% of small business owners cite lack of available capital as the major challenge in their growth, and 82% of businesses fail due to improper management of cash flow.

Given its importance to small businesses, let’s take a quick look at the implications of a short-term business loan.

Factors to keep in mind

Short-term loans are easier to obtain as compared to long-term loans. You can avail of them in the alternative finance market through online lenders, and thus you can completely bypass the slow and cumbersome conventional lenders like banks. These loans are less tedious to get as they have a shorter list of qualifications and lesser paperwork. But you also need to repay them faster, usually within a year. If you manage to raise your profitability in the short term, this can be comfortably achieved.

However, there are certain points that you need to keep in mind while applying for a short-term loan. The interest rates of short-term loans are relatively higher in the commercial finance segment. Thus, it’s advisable for you to go through and understand the total cost of the loan before applying for it. Short-term loans often demand frequent payments from you. In case you don’t have regular/stable cash flow, you may find it difficult to repay your loan with weekly payments.

To help you further, here are five things you should know before applying for a short-term loan.

  1. Be clear about the purpose: Having a clear purpose is the pre-requisite for exploring a short-term business loan. It’s of utmost importance to be crystal clear as to the purpose of the loan—to hire new talent, expand your supplier network, invest in technology etc. If the purpose is not clear, the loan amount could well be frittered away on incidental expenses that can hold back the progress of young companies. Analyze in detail if the short-term loan is going to work for you in your current situation.
  2. Have an operational plan: Have a clear business strategy in place before securing a loan from a financier. It’s crucial to have a strategy that optimizes your resources. Without a proper business plan/strategy, it’s likely that you are going to find yourself in a debt-trap.
  3. Research interest rates and overall cost: Interest rates are an important part of any loan. It’s a smart move to know the interest rates on your dream loan early on, along with the other charges/fees that your lender may levy. A fee would not cause an increase in your interest rate, but it will be a part of your monthly payments.
  4. Calculate risks: As a wise entrepreneur, it is crucial that you carefully weigh all the possible risks before arriving at any decision. Analyze and ask yourself questions like: Will this loan help me in reaping the benefits? Will it generate regular cash flow? Will I be able to repay my loan in regular weekly or monthly payments?
  5. Know your loan duration: Apart from calculating all the risks, and having the strategy in place, it is important to know the duration of your loan and to choose the repayment tenure wisely. You can choose a slightly extended period, keeping risks and emergencies in mind, instead of choosing a short tenure.

Take a leap of faith

We understand that the journey of any venture, especially of a small business, is not an easy one. It takes a lot to take your business to a certain level and when issues like finances become a hindrance, one is likely to lose hope. But remember, today’s new age financial solutions offer a timely respite. Yet, you need to have an analytical and calculative mind, which can understand the pros and cons of the loan in order to leverage it fully.

If you are still in a dilemma, wondering how to get loan for your business or are unable to decide if a short-term business loan suits you or not, we, at Capital Float would be more than happy to assist you.

Oct 24, 2018

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Everybody thought we were nuts – TOI

Written by Shilpa Phadnis. 

When Stanford MBA graduates Sashank Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja started online lending startup Capital Float, it was counter-consensus. All around them they had naysayers, including investors who they had approached early on.

“You guys must be nuts -lending is not a business for you.” “It’s an offline business. You guys have to set up branches.” “Why don’t you guys start an e-commerce or a big data company.” These were some of the comments, recalls Sashank. About the only ones who believed in their idea were their parents.

The two worked with Baba Shiv, professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, to shape their idea of democratizing access to capital. “We wanted small and medium businesses to have access to credit on collateral-free terms.People needed loans against their business health and not against personal property,” Sashank says.

Capital Float started in 2013 and is the trade name of Zen Lefin, a non-banking finance company (NBFC) registered with the RBI.

Sashank, who was passionate about policy and development, was an engagement manager with McKinsey & Co in New York and India before he teamed up with Hinduja to start Capital Float. He graduated in economics from Princeton Uni versity and did an MBA from Stanford. Hinduja was the head of operations at Gokaldas Exports, overseeing one of the country’s largest apparel manufacturers.

 Banks, Sashank says, follow a cookie-cutter approach in assessing SMEs.Their lending policies are restrictive, collateral re quirements are inflexible and disbursements take up to 60 days. There are over 3 crore registered SMEs in the country and around Rs 7 lakh crore of loans have been disbursed through banks to them. But estimates show that the unmet demand is over Rs 9 lakh crore. “We wanted to use tech to bring agility to lending, become a lender as fast and flexible as a family member, but do it in a formal way ,” Sashank says.
Capital Float created flexible credit products that have helped SMEs get out of the clutches of informal sector financiers who charge high interest rates. One of the early customers was a mobile phone vendor from Bhilwara in Rajasthan. “He had pledged his house to get seed capital to start his business. He sold mobile phones on Snapdeal and had a great track record. From Rs 5 lakh a year back, he runs a Rs 50 lakh credit line with us today ,” Sashank says.
Capital Float has partnered with e-commerce marketplaces like Snapdeal, Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm to finance small merchants selling online. “We give an in-principle approval in 10-15 minutes after assessing the credit risk. Borrowers can apply online in minutes, select desired repayment terms and receive funds in their bank accounts in seven days with minimal hassle. We want to benchmark lending to the ecommerce experience,” Sashank says.
The company uses proprietary algorithms to check fraud and repayment history , and uses psychometrics to assess entrepreneurs’ payment ability . “We have taken the human bias out of financing and lowered the cost of lending,” Sashank says.

Now, with Rs 200 crore of loans disbursed, and $17 million raised from investors including SAIF Partners and Aspada, the early scepticism around their venture has more or less vanished.

News piece sourced from the Times of India. Read the original article here

Oct 24, 2018