Funding Circle Review

ByKevin MercadanteJan.31, 2018

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In a Nutshell

Funding Circle is a peer-to-peer lender that helps otherwise established businesses find quick access to extra funding. It has a simple application process and relatively quick approval times, and stands out as a helpful solution for businesses seeking to improve cash flow, finance growth, hire staff, or purchase new equipment.

pros

  • Funding in as little as 5 days
  • No prepayment penalties

cons

  • High origination fees
  • 660 minimum credit score required

Funding Circle ID Card

Loan typesSecured Loans
Loan amountBetween $25,000 and $500,000
Repayment Terms6 to 60 months
Top ProFunds can be accessed in as little as 5 business days
Top ConOrigination fees are a little steeper than alternatives
Best forSmall businesses in need of extra funding

Funding Circle at a Glance

Funding Circle is a peer-to-peer lender that helps otherwise established businesses find quick access to extra funding. It has established itself as a financing resource that small businesses can turn to by connecting borrowers with investors through its peer-lending platform. To date, the company has already handled over $4 billion in financing globally through its platform, helping 32,000 businesses access loans. Thanks to a simple application process and relatively quick approval times, Funding Circle stands out as a helpful solution for businesses seeking to improve cash flow, finance growth, hire staff, or purchase new equipment.

Best for Whom?

  • Veteran businesses with good credit

For small businesses with a track record of at least 2 years, Funding Circle provides financing for borrowers with fair credit scores starting at 660 that is not solely dependent on a business's credit score alone or approval. Other factors considered during the underwriting process include revenue, customer feedback, and more.

  • Businesses needing quick access to funding

Unlike applying for funding from a traditional bank, Funding Circle’s application is relatively easy and benefits borrowers thanks to streamlined approval times. With applicants receiving approval in as little as 24 hours and accessing funds as quickly as 5 business days, business borrowers can take advantage of a shorter funding window relative to institutional alternatives.

Loan Features

Businesses can find the right solution for their cash flow or growth ambitions with Funding Circle’s helpful platform. The company acts as a point of contact to connect its applicants with its network of peer investors and lenders. With a prequalification application that takes as little as 10 minutes and an underwriting decision that can be reached as quickly as 24 hours, the process for obtaining funding is very streamlined. Qualified borrowers have access to financing soon thereafter and benefit from full discretion when it comes to how they allocate their loans. Competitive interest rates start as low as 4.99% depending on the term length, with loans repaid in monthly term installments ranging for durations ranging between 6 months and 5 years. Unlike many of its competitors, Funding Circle only charges interest for the installment length.  Furthermore, customers are incentivized to repay their loan early thanks to no prepayment penalties, helping borrowers end up paying less in interest.

Highlights:

  • Shorter approval process than traditional banks
  • Financing amounts between $25,000 to $500,000 available
  • Terms varying from 6 months to 5 years
  • Complete the prequalification application in under 10 minutes
  • Wide network of accredited 3rd party investors and lenders
  • Loan approval granted in as little as 24 hours
  • Funds received as quickly as 5 business days after approval
  • Absence of prepayment penalties means early repayment savings

The Application Process

Applying for financing with Funding Circle is quick and easy. Applications can be completed online in under 10 minutes on the company’s website. There is no fee or obligation for applying, and underwriting specialists will contact applicants within one hour to finalize specific terms to help find the right loan. This initial application involves a soft credit inquiry, meaning business borrowers’ credit scores will not be impacted by applying for financing. However, companies classified as general partnerships will undergo a hard credit check. Potential borrowers are judged on more than their credit scores alone for loan approval, although applicants must have a minimum credit score of at least 660. The application for Funding Circle is very straightforward, but also very thorough. There is some information that must be provided to underwriters after the initial application which include:

  • 2 years of business tax returns
  • 1 year of personal tax returns
  • 6 months of bank statements
  • Information pertaining to the business’s existing debt

Funding Circle has helped many businesses across different industries receive funding, but does not provide funding to certain industries, such as real estate speculation enterprises, nonprofit organizations, weapons manufacturers, gambling businesses, marijuana dispensaries, or pornography companies.

Personalized and Transparent Loan Terms

A big advantage of seeking financing from Funding Circle is its flexibility in how companies can use their funds. After approval, borrowers can dispense their funds for whatever they may need from expanding locations, to hiring staff, purchasing new equipment, and other activities with the only restrictions pertaining to repaying personal debt or refinancing outstanding loan balances.

After the initial application, applicants will work together with Funding Circle’s community of seasoned underwriters to build the best loan terms for their financial situation. While the clients’ business credit score is taken into consideration, it is not the sole factor for determining loan approval. Other aspects of a prospective borrower’s history are examined, including but not limited to customer feedback, financial history, revenues, and prior debts.

Small businesses can apply for loans ranging from $25,000 to $500,000 and have full discretion when choosing how to use their funds. Funding Circle is also known for its relatively affordable interest rates. The company offers competitive interest rates starting at 4.99%, depending on the term length and amount of funding borrowed, and applicants’ credit qualifications.

Repayment Terms

Funding Circle works together with its customers to find the best repayment solution possible. Each applicant is assigned an account manager during the application process to create the most appropriate pricing terms for the loan. All repayment details are established during the underwriting process when terms are finalized with the account manager. Rates range between 4.99% up to 26.99% depending on the term length and customer's financial profile. Repayment occurs on a monthly basis, and terms offered can last between 6 months to 5 years. Like most financing companies, borrowers are charged an origination fee which can stretch from 0.99% to 6.99%. Funding Circle outlines all the costs associated with its service and is very transparent about how they are assessed in the case of late payments or insufficient funds for automated payments.

How Safe Is It?

To keep customer information safe and private, Funding Circle goes above and beyond to ensure data integrity and security. The company employs industry standard practices to encrypt sensitive information, and keeps its data safe through the deployment of a secure firewall. The company’s website even goes into detail regarding their communication practices to prevent phishing. For example, the company mentions that they never ask for customer's credit card information, nor do they begin greetings with “Dear Customer.” Funding Circle’s transparency demonstrates its commitment to preventing fraudulent information breaches.

Help and Support

Customers needing extra help and support can get in touch with Funding Circle via telephone or email. Phone support is available from Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm PT. When tested, we found that representatives could answer our inquiries accurately and professionally with minimal wait times. Although there is no 24/7 chat feature for quickly addressing customer inquiries, all clients are assigned a personal specialist during their loan term to help address individualized concerns that might arise. A useful resource center hosts numerous articles covering topics related to running a small business. Finally, the FAQ section covers the entire scope of the company’s services, helping prospective borrowers uncover answers to their most common inquiries.

Deep Dive Into Pros And Cons

ProsCons
Quick and thorough applicationSuitable for established businesses only
Funding in under 5 business days660 minimum credit score required
Personal loan agentOrigination fees charged for service
No prepayment penalties 

Overall, Funding Circle presents a very comprehensive solution for business borrowers. There are nevertheless several areas where Funding Circle could improve its services. Foremost, the company charges an origination fee for its services, but the final amount is unclear until after the terms are completed. While the company does its best to take a comprehensive view of business applicants during the approval process, it has steep requirements like 2 years in business and a minimum credit score of 660, which limits the range of potential borrowers to more established companies.

Even with these minor drawbacks, many features and characteristics of Funding Circle’s services were very impressive. The quick application and approval process allows companies to access the funding they need within a relatively short period of time. Each client is also assigned an agent to work alongside them during the entire term of their loan. Finally, the absence of prepayment penalties helps to incentivize borrowers to repay their loans earlier.

Summary

Funding Circle presents a great opportunity for borrowers to quickly obtain the financing needed for a variety of activities relating to maintaining and growing their businesses. While the company is catered towards businesses with more established track records, the streamlined process helps applicants receive funding rapidly. Furthermore, Funding Circle takes a hands-on approach, helping borrowers navigate their application by working side-by-side with businesses throughout the life of a loan. With numerous helpful resources and affordable terms for small businesses, Funding Circle offers outstanding service to qualified borrowers needing flexible and fast funding to help their businesses blossom.

Physical Address

Funding Circle

747 Front Street, 4th Floor

San Francisco, CA, USA 94111

FUNDING CIRCLE