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How Does Your Garden Grow? Best Business Line of Credit in a Recession

September 9, 2020
Best Business Line of Credit in a Recession Credit Suite

The COVID-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise and turned the economy upside down.  If you are a business trying to make it during this time, we can help.  The Federal government has approved funding through  The CARES Act, including the Paycheck Protection Plan.  In addition, many states and local organizations are offering their own COVID-19 relief options.  Beyond that, we can help you find the best business line of credit in a recession.

A Business Line of Credit is Like Miracle Grow for Your Business

A business line of credit can be an incredible tool for your business, even in a recession. You don’t want just any line of credit however. You want the best one for your business needs.

Not all businesses are the same, and not all lines of credit are best for all businesses. Different limits, rates, and terms work better for some than others. How do you ensure you are getting the best business line of credit in a recession?

What’s a Line of Credit?

It can help to get a quick rundown of exactly what a line of credit is. The most basic definition is that it is a revolving line of credit, similar to a credit card. You have a limit and continuous access to that limit while making payments only on the portion you use each month.

For example, if you have a $10,000 line of credit, you can use however much of those funds you need each month for whatever you want, unless your lender issues some sort of restriction. If you use $2,000, then when you get your statement your payment will be based on $2,000 plus the interest, rather than a payment plus interest on the entire credit line.

If you were to pay $1,000, then spend another $500, you would pay on the $1,500 balance the next month. Your payments change as your balance changes. Just like with a credit card.

Access is most typically granted through checks or a card connected to the line of credit account.  Electronic draws and transfers are also popular.

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Line of Credit vs. Credit Cards

The question is always asked what the difference is between a line of credit and a credit card, and why is one better than the other? The truth is that in some cases, a credit card may be the better option. There is a choice to make based on several different factors.

The main difference between the two that most borrowers need to know is that a line of credit typically has a consistently lower interest rate.  Also, there are no perks like 0% interest or cash back that you sometimes see with credit cards.

What Signifies the Best Business Line of Credit in a Recession?

The best business line of credit in a recession is going to be the one with the best rates and terms that your business can qualify for.  That makes finding it a little more involved. You have to know where you stand and what various lenders offer and require.

It will take some leg work on your part to pull together the information needed for application.  You will also need to understand that the best business line of credit in a recession may not come from the same place you would have gotten a business line of credit pre-recession.  You might have better luck with online lenders or smaller banks over larger traditional banks during an economic downturn.

A Word of Warning

Before you apply for the best business line of credit in a recession, remember that balance is important.  Recession times are by default, hard.  A line of credit can ease some of the burden, but be careful not to let the credit line itself become a burden.  Know your limits as far as what you can pay.

If you do not make payments on-time, you could end up with more trouble than you already had.

How to Find the Best Business Line of Credit in a Recession?

There are several steps to this process.

1. Why do you need a business line of credit in a recession?

Figuring this out could be the most vital step in finding the best business line of credit for your needs. You have to understand why you need a credit line in the first place. Here are some examples of how a business may use a line of credit.

  • Take advantage of a sale on inventory, raw materials, or supplies. This can reduce the cost of goods sold and consequently, increase the bottom line.
  • Purchase or repair minor equipment when needed. This would be like a new printer or laptop. It would not include items like an industrial oven or delivery truck. Larger equipment would best be purchased with an equipment loan.
  • Bridge temporary cash gaps or continuous, known cash gaps due to timing issues. An example of this would be several bills that are due at the beginning of the month when you know your largest contracts pay at the end of the month. The money is coming, but the bills come due before the money gets there. You can pay the bills with the line of credit, then pay off the line of credit when the contracts pay.

Another example of this is a seasonal line of credit for a business that does the majority of its sales during a certain time of the year.  A florist does a large percentage of sales during Valentines day, so a seasonal line of credit can come in handy to bridge the cash gap during other times of the year.

2. Determine your options.

Shop around with various financial institutions to determine which ones offer the best business lines of credit in a recession. You will want to look at factors such as interest rate and credit limit in relation to what you need and can afford.

Check with various types of lenders to get a feel for which ones offer what you need.  Check with larger commercial banks, small local institutions and credit unions, and alternative lenders such as those that operate exclusively online.

Pay specific attention to eligibility requirements to avoid wasting your time with those you do not qualify for.

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Learn bank rating secrets with our free, sure-fire guide which can even help during a recession.

3. Know where you stand.

Your ability to get approval for the best business line of credit in a recession will be directly related to your business credit. Traditional banks pay more attention to personal credit, but they crack down a lot on lending when there is a recession.  Non-traditional lenders may also consider income and cash flow. They may, in addition, rely heavily on your business credit score when making an approval decision about a line of credit.

A lower business credit score does not necessarily mean you can’t get approval.  It could greatly affect your interest rate and credit limit however.

Consider signing up for a credit monitoring service that lets you keep tabs on your business credit and what is affecting it each month. The one offered by CreditSuite.com is easy to use and cost effective.

Once you have a handle on why you need a business line of credit, what is available, and what you may actually be eligible for, you can make a decision as to where you are going to apply and which product you are going to apply for.

Determining which of these lenders has the best business line of credit in a recession for you goes back to knowing what you need, who has it, and who will approve you for it.


When Is a Line of Credit Better than a Credit Card?

If you are going to need to make payments, a line of credit is a better option. The reason is pretty simple. The credit rate is almost always lower. The few exceptions are those cards that offer 0% APR for a short period of time.

If you are going to use a credit card to make regular purchases you intend to pay off immediately, that’s another story.  Especially if you qualify for a card with perks such as cash back.  In that case, you may find that you can benefit from using a credit card over a line of credit.

An example would be if you wanted to use your business credit card to make your monthly supplies purchase each month and then pay it off in the following month. You could take advantage of the cash back and reduce your overall cost.

To float a cash flow gap or make significant purchases that you will need to pay out over a short amount of time, a line of credit is almost always the best choice.

Where to Find the Best Business Line of Credit in a Recession

Some small businesses will have a hard time getting approval from a traditional lender due to poor credit or a lack of sufficient credit history.  We found examples of what alternative lenders are offering currently. Keep in mind these offerings can change, so make sure to visit the lender and verify.


Kabbage offers a credit line of up to $150,000 with no credit score required. The catch is that the interest rate is between 32% and 108%. The business must have been in existence for at least one year and have revenue of at least $50,000.

The interest rate is very high. This is really only an option for those businesses that cannot get financing due to a low or nonexistent credit score and need funding immediately.

Best Business Line of Credit in a Recession Credit Suite2


There is a credit line available here of up to $100,000.  A business must have what they consider to have “reasonable credit.”  It also must be in business for at least one year and have more than $25,000 in revenue. Repayment is weekly.

Due to the lower revenue requirement, this is a good option for smaller businesses with okay credit scores but lower annual revenue. Also, the interest rate minimum is lower, with the low end at 9%.


If you have a credit score of at least 600 you can get a credit line of up to $100,000 with OnDeck. There is a $20 per month maintenance fee and weekly repayment. The interest rate is a little higher here than with those that require a higher credit score minimum. It ranges from 13.99% to 39.99%.

Again, due to the higher interest rate, this should only be an option if you cannot meet the higher credit score requirement.

Lending Club

The credit line offered by lending club goes up to a limit of $300,000. It requires a credit score of 600.  In addition, at least one year in business and at least $50,000 in revenue are necessary. The repayment term is 25 months, and they require collateral for limits over $100,000.

This is a good option for those that meet the requirement as there is a higher limit available with collateral, and the interest rate can go as low as 6.25%. The repayment terms are much friendlier as well.

Credit Line Hybrid: Another Option

A credit line hybrid is revolving, unsecured financing.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.  It even works for startups.

What are the Qualifications?

How hard is it to qualify?  It’s probably easier than you think.  You do need good personal credit.  That is, your personal credit score should be at least 685.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Also, in the past 6 months, you should have less than 5 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit.

If you do not meet all of the requirements, all is not lost. You can take on a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to fund their business. If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding.

Business Credit in a Recession

When you apply for the best business line of credit in a recession, consider using your business credit rather than personal credit.  Some lenders will require you to use both.  If you can get a credit line on your business credit only, that is best. If not, strong business credit can help negotiate better terms and rates.

Learn bank rating secrets with Credit Suite's free, sure-fire guide.

Learn bank rating secrets with our free, sure-fire guide which can even help during a recession.

Not sure what business credit is, if you have it, or how to get it?  Here’s a quick rundown.  Business credit is similar to your personal FICO, but it is for your business only.  It is not attached to your name or social security number, but rather to your business name and EIN.

The most commonly used business credit reporting agency is Dun & Bradstreet, but there are others.  With Dun & Bradstreet however, you must have a DUNS number to have a record with them.  If you do not have one, you don’t have a D&B business credit report.

You can get a free DUNS number on the D&B website.  Before you do, your business must be incorporated.  It also must have dedicated, separate contact information that is not your personal contact information.  You can find out more about incorporation options and how to get a free EIN on the IRS website.

It is Possible to Find the Best Business Line of Credit in a Recession

A business line of credit is a great financing option. It offers flexibility that isn’t always available with a term loan. Interest rates are often better than those offered by business credit cards.  With alternative lenders in the mix, a line of credit is an option for most small businesses even during a recession.

About the author 

Faith Stewart

Faith has a BBA with a major in Accounting, and a combined 20 years of experience in the fields of finance and account.

Before switching to writing, she spent 10 years working in various areas of small business and personal finance and accounting, including working as a public auditor at BKD, LLP, Financial Director at Central Arkansas Development Council, and Commercial Credit Analyst at Farmer's Bank and Trust.

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