Unsecured loan

Quick facts

This is a business loan that doesn’t require you to offer security (in contrast to a secured loan). You might want to consider an unsecured loan if you want to borrow more than the value of your assets, if you would prefer not to offer security, or if you’re a fast-growing business that needs finance quickly.

Here are three scenarios where you might look at taking out an unsecured business loan:

  • you’re looking to borrow, but you don’t have much in terms of tangible assets (e.g. you rent an office rather then owning commercial property)
  • you do have some valuable assets but you don’t want to borrow more than your assets are worth
  • you’d prefer not to offer specific assets as security.

On the plus side, unsecured business loans are usually simpler and quicker to arrange than secured loans because there is no need for the lender to inspect or value any assets.

However, in the absence of any security, the lender cares much more about your business’s profile – and may also look at your personal credit history and personal assets. After all, they will need assurance that you can repay the loan if things don’t go to plan. Unsecured lending is usually more expensive than secured lending because there’s more risk for the lender.

For an unsecured loan the lender may look at: 

  • turnover and profit (vs. loan amount)
  • bank statements
  • filed accounts
  • trading history
  • payment history (e.g. late payments, county court judgments)
  • directors’ histories (lenders may ask for a personal guarantee)
  • forecasts and business plans
  • your clients/customers. 

Unsecured lending is a broad term. As well as short-term loans and ‘term’ loans (i.e. medium-term and long-term loans), it includes, for example, merchant cash advances, revolving credit lines, overdrafts and credit cards.

You might also want to consider the different types of working capital finance.

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