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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Importance of Working Capital for Businesses

What is Working Capital?

Working capital is the difference between the total number of assets and the total number of liabilities in a company. This amount is spent on executing day-to-day operations in a business. As a result, it is used as an index to measure the health of a company. Enterprises with high working capital are often strong businesses.

What are the Uses of Working Capital?

In most situations, working capital is used to run operations. A well-managed business will also use it’s working capital to achieve growth. For instance, an online seller would spend to add a new type of product to his portfolio. A retailer may liquidate funds to increase his store size by adding a new section to his outlet.
Other uses of working capital include:
• Equipment and inventory purchases
• Hiring, salary payments and employee training
• Unforeseen expenses

What are the Outcomes of Low Working Capital?
Responsible financial management may help companies secure higher levels of working capital. On the contrary, poor management of capital could result in the following issues:

• Bankruptcy risk: In the case of negative working capital, SMEs use money received from creditors to finance business operations. Businesses run the risk of bankruptcy due to the lack of sufficient income to counterbalance the expenditure.

• Lack of investment opportunities: Investors are less likely to consider companies which regularly have low or negative working capital. This demonstrates that the company is not being run effectively.

• Missed growth opportunities: With large amounts of positive working capital, businesses will have money to spend on pursuing growth. With negative or low working capital, businesses may find it difficult to capitalize on investment opportunities. Low working capital could have stifling effects on the ambitions of any businessman.

• Trade discounts: Many suppliers will offer substantial discounts if they are paid on time. Low or negative working capital can make it difficult to meet payment obligations which, effectively, increases the cost of inventory.

What are the Ways of Accessing Working Capital Finance with Capital Float?

At Capital Float, we offer a wide range of financing options for small and medium scale businesses. By providing quick and easier access to funds and with flexible repayment options, we can give businesses the right financial support to help them achieve their next milestone.

We offer Online Seller Finance to e-commerce sellers who operate on online marketplaces. Through a simple online process, the seller can apply for a loan and receive funds in three days. The loan tenure ranges between 90-180 days and is repaid on a biweekly basis. This loan is ideal for sellers who are looking at expanding into other marketplaces, increasing their product portfolio or purchasing higher volumes of stock.

Term Finance is applicable for traditional businesses that have been operating for three years. The loan tenure varies between six months to three years. Small scale manufacturers, retailers and distributors can use this loan to meet short-term investment requirements and finance inventory purchases.

Invoice Finance helps SMEs convert their invoices into cash, that can be channeled into financing business operations. This loan product has an exclusive feature of one-time bullet repayment mode, which might suit the cash-flow needs of several SMEs.

We also provide Merchant Cash Advance which will interest vendors using point-of-sale machines with consistent card settlements. Merchants can receive working capital finance of up to 150% of their monthly card swipes within three days of the loan application.

Our unique product called ‘Pay Later’ is a rolling credit facility, that enables the borrower to make multiple drawdowns within a predefined credit limit. The borrower pays interest on the utilized amount and not on the entire limit. By repaying the amount utilized, the borrower resets the credit limit, thereby instantly availing the facility in whole. Click here to read more about ‘Pay Later’. You could read about the product features by clicking here.

At Capital Float, we have working capital finance options for SMEs across all segments. Visit our website to know more about all our products. Click here to apply now.

Oct 24, 2018

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Impact of GST on Your Day to Day Business

The Goods and Services Tax or GST goes live on July 1, 2017, but the process of consolidation and enrolment has already begun. Aiming to standardise indirect taxation in the country as far as goods and services are concerned, the GST will have a multi-fold and direct impact on the workings of businesses, whether large corporate houses or SMEs.

A quick overview of GST will help businesses understand its implications play to its advantage.

About GST

GST is a standardisation of the indirect taxation regime across the nation, leading to subsuming of many earlier state and central tax regime laws. Now, goods and services will be taxed under four basic slabs—5%, 12%, 18% or 28%—creating a new norm in indirect taxation. Traditionally, indirect taxes have had a very significant impact on businesses, particularly on their working capital. A number of taxes such as VAT, Service Tax, Excise Tax and others have resulted in huge contributions to the government and in effect, a huge expense for businesses. The hidden nature of indirect taxes, often spreading across multiple stages of the product cycle, has been a significant drain on working capital. Typically, the proportion of indirect taxes is significantly more in tax collections in developing countries, as compared to developed countries, where the share of direct taxation is significantly higher.

With the implementation of the GST, tax buckets are set to change, as also the way of doing business, as the cash outflow and timelines are about to be significantly affected. Working capital is the lifeline of a business, one that keeps it up and running. Especially for SMEs, it helps carry on day-to-day operations, which are critical to business continuity and success.

Here are some key GST changes that will directly affect your business and working capital flows.

  1. Input tax credit changes: As per the existing taxation system, any tax paid on a business expense that is not directly related to taxable sales is not available as credit. For example, any tax paid on advertising expenses will not be available as credit. GST has a new concept called the “Furtherance of Business” under which it allows credit of any kind of input for business to be “used or intended to be used in the course of or for the furtherance of business”. Now, a businessman can claim credit for tax paid on advertising services as well, giving the businessman significant leeway. The positive outcome is that cost of operations will greatly reduce, and net margins will increase, thereby bettering the working capital flow of the business, and perhaps the line of credit in the future.
  2. Claims due to inverted duty structure: An inverted duty structure is one where inputs are taxed higher than outputs i.e., raw material excise duty is higher (12.5%) than finished goods (6%), leading to a situation where the excess i.e., 6.5% is unused and gets accumulated. Under the current regime, this excess is not refundable. With the introduction of GST, businesses can now claim the unutilized input tax credit accumulated due to inverted duty structure. This, coupled with a speedy claims process, is a boon to boost the working capital of businesses.
  3. Timeliness of input tax credit: Currently, the input credit that a businessman avails is not captured in real-time, or in other words, in line with the current tax liability of the supplier. With GST, the input tax credit amount will depend on the compliance level of the supplier, making it compulsory for the supplier to declare the outward supplies along with the tax payment.  In a way, you might be responsible for your supplier’s failure to furnish valid returns. This may mean a dip in your cash flows since the input credit tax that you have claimed will be reversed and you will be expected to pay interest too, apart from losing out on the credit. GST will thus mandate businesses to manage their vendors very effectively. Review your current vendors and continuously monitor compliance levels to avoid this concern.
  4. Advance tax payments: Under the GST regime, tax needs to be paid on advance receipt dates. This is a major change, since so far this was applicable to only service tax under the current system. Now, if an advance is received against supply at a later date, the tax is liable to be paid on the date of advance receipt. The matter becomes worrisome since even though the business pays tax in advance, it cannot be claimed under the bucket of input tax credit immediately. It can be availed only once the goods or services are received.
  5. Taxation of stock transfers: The current VAT rules do not treat stock transfers as “goods” or “services”. However, with the GST, this changes—stock transfers are included under the category of goods/services and are taxable. This change will directly impact companies’ cash flows because the tax is to be paid on the date of stock transfer, whereas input tax credit can be availed of on the date of stock liquidation. How the working capital holds up in the interim period can be a crucial element to maintaining the working capital levels of the company
  6. The impact of location in offsetting credit: The prevailing Service Tax regime allows for centralised, pan-India registration of business. As a result, there are no restrictions on availing input tax credit across locations. However, under GST, different state entities need to be registered separately. These will be under varying jurisdictions depending on whether they come under the Central GST Bill, Integrated GST Bill or the Union Territory GST Bill. There are certain restrictions to offset a Central GST tax with an Integrated GST tax and so on. This may create difficulties in offsetting tax input credits across locations. For example, you may not be able to offset tax liabilities of one state branch with another state branch. Your liquidity may not be useful, even though it is available, creating an undesirable working capital situation.
  7. It is clear that businesses will need to exert more caution as they transition to GST. A detailed scrutiny of current tax commitments and the impact of the four bills depending on operational locations must be done at the outset to ensure healthy levels of working capital. It is also recommended to explore opportunities for availing working capital finance, or options for a line of credit by looking for the latest financing products such as those offered by Capital Float. Our customised, innovative loan offerings include term finance and online seller finance among others to ease working capital woes that SMEs routinely face. Click here for more.

Oct 24, 2018

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7 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY WHILE MANAGING PERSONAL FINANCES

In today’s world, saving money is of the utmost importance. If you are stressed about how to save money, then you are not the only one in this regard. Financial planning sounds easier than to practice. Even though it may be more exciting to spend money, you should try to practice saving for contingencies, as the future cannot be predicted and is uncertain.

Why is saving money essential?

Saving money can help you to become financially independent, providing you with security in the face of emergencies. Financial planning is necessary to set aside money for the family’s needs, such as the education of children, marriage expenses, healthcare expenses, planning for significant life events, retirement, etc. Saving money is an effective financial practice and a lifestyle choice with several proven benefits.

7 tips to save money

Though there are several ways to save money, you could consider implementing these seven tips:

  • Awareness: Being aware is one of the most critical factors. If you are aware of your finances and spending habits, you will be able to consciously set more money aside.  
  • Prepare a budget: Begin by identifying your fixed and flexible expenses. This will help you evaluate how much of your corpus is depleted by unnecessary expenditure. After this, you can prepare a budget on a weekly or monthly basis by setting expenditure limits. This will help you pay your bills while simultaneously creating a pool of savings. You can make a budget on a weekly or monthly basis (based on your preference) with spending limits clearly defined. This budget may help you in saving extra money and restricting unnecessary expenditures.
  • Curb the spendthrift in you: Many people aren’t always conscious of how lavishly they spend money on unimportant things. Tracking expenses will help you maintain a close vigil on expenses and keep the spendthrift within under control.
  • Create an emergency fund: While facing emergencies, financial support in the form of insurance or loans may not be immediately available or they may not cover the need of the hour. At such times, savings come in handy to address the contingency. Therefore, make sure you set aside a fund for unforeseen expenses.
  • Sell things you no longer use: There are many things we buy, and after some time, do not use any more. These items can be sold to generate funds.
  • Savings calculator: Various types of savings calculators can be found online. These can be used to calculate the amount one can save over a given period of time. Using these calculators could encourage the habit of saving.
  • Switch to a personal finance money management app: Spends tracking and budgeting can be made easy with personal finance management apps. Walnut is one of the most loved and rated apps in the market with over 10 million downloads. Use this app to unlock the financial planner in you. 

It is necessary to save money, as it provides security, financial independence, and reduces stress. Get started on your journey of personal financial planning to achieve peace of mind and money in the bank for when you need it.

Oct 24, 2018