Payset prespective
May 29, 2024

Types of Business Loans

With a wide variety of business loan options available, including secured and unsecured loans, government-backed schemes, and specialised financing like equipment and real estate loans, there is a borrowing solution to meet every business need and goal.

Secured and Unsecured Loans

Definition and Differences 

Secured loans are a type of financing backed by collateral, such as property, equipment, or inventory. This means that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender has the right to seize and sell the asset to recover the loan amount. Common collateral for secured business loans includes real estate, machinery, and vehicles. 

Unsecured loans, on the other hand, don’t require any collateral. These loans are granted based on the borrower’s creditworthiness and financial history. Examples of unsecured loans include personal guarantees from business owners and cash flow loans.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Secured loans

Secured loans come with several benefits. The presence of collateral means that interest rates are usually lower and amounts are often bigger than the unsecured variety. Secured loans also offer extended repayment periods, which takes weight off the business by spreading payments over a longer time period.

This type of loan has its disadvantages too. The biggest risk is of course the potential loss of the asset if the borrower defaults on payment. Due to the need for thorough assessments and collateral valuation the approval process for secured loans can be lengthy too. Adding to that, there are usually extra costs involved, such as valuation fees and legal expenses—especially when securing the loan against property.

Unsecured loans

A major advantage of unsecured loans is that there is no collateral involved, making them accessible to businesses without significant assets and posing no immediate risk to business assets in case of default. They also come with a faster approval process since there’s no need to assess collateral.

The downside is that the increased risk for lenders means that unsecured loans most often come with higher interest rates. Lenders tend to be more cautious with these types of loans in general, so they typically have lower lending limits. Finally, the approval for unsecured loans leans heavily on the business’s creditworthiness, which can be a barrier for those with poor credit histories.

Unsecured or not, a loan is a loan. If a company cannot repay an unsecured loan then this will very likely result in insolvency proceedings, where any and all company assets such as commercial properties, vehicles, machinery and equipment can be repossessed to settle the debt.

Term Loans


Term loans are a popular financing option for businesses, providing a lump sum of money that is repaid over a fixed period. These loans are often used for significant investments like buying equipment, expanding operations, or funding large projects. The fixed repayment schedule makes it easier for businesses to plan their finances and manage their cash flow.

Key Features 

Term loans come with set repayment terms ranging from one to ten years or more, depending on the lender and the loan amount. The interest rates on term loans can be fixed or variable, and are often influenced by the borrower’s creditworthiness and the loan’s term length. Loan amounts can vary widely, making term loans suitable for both small and large financial needs. The fixed nature of the repayments helps businesses budget more accurately, knowing exactly what their monthly obligations will be.

Application Process

The application process for a term loan typically involves a few steps. First, businesses need to provide detailed financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Lenders will also ask for a business plan outlining how the loan will be used and how the business intends to repay it. Finally, personal and business credit scores are assessed to determine eligibility.

UK Government-Backed Loans

Introduction to UK Government-Backed Loans

The UK offers a set of government-backed loan schemes designed to support small businesses and stimulate economic growth. These programs help businesses access funding with the backing of government guarantees.

Start Up Loans Scheme: This scheme provides loans to new businesses that have been trading for less than three years. The loans range from £500 to £25,000 and are accompanied by free business advice and mentoring. 

Recovery Loan Scheme: Introduced to support businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this scheme provides access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance, and asset finance. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender, helping businesses secure loans from £25,001 to £10 million, with terms ranging from three months to six years.

Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG): This scheme supports businesses without collateral needed to secure a traditional bank loan. The government provides a guarantee to the lender, enabling businesses to access loans from £1,000 to £1.2 million for terms of three months to ten years.

Pros and Cons

Government-backed loans in the UK offer significant advantages, such as reduced risk for lenders due to government guarantees, making it easier for small businesses to secure financing. These loans usually come with lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. Additionally, programs like the Start Up Loans scheme provide free business advice and mentoring, which is invaluable for new entrepreneurs. 

These loans also have drawbacks. Applicants have to meet stringent eligibility criteria, including good credit history and a viable business plan, which can be challenging for some. And the approval process tends to be long, calling for substantial documentation and time from applicants.

Business Lines of Credit 


A business line of credit is a flexible financing option that allows companies to access a predetermined amount of funds as needed. Unlike a traditional loan where you receive a lump sum and repay it over time, a line of credit lets you borrow, repay, and borrow again up to your credit limit. 

With a line of credit you only pay interest on the amount you use, not the total credit limit, making it a cost-effective way to manage short-term cash flow needs. 

Ideal Use Cases 

Business lines of credit are particularly useful in scenarios where funding needs are unpredictable or vary over time. For example, a seasonal business with big fluctuations in revenue can use a line of credit to cover expenses during off-peak periods and repay the borrowed amount during peak seasons. 

Lines of credit are also helpful for managing unexpected expenses or seizing quick opportunities, like urgent repairs or purchasing inventory at a discount. Startups and small businesses in particular can benefit from quick and easy access to funds without the long approval process that comes with traditional loans.

Equipment Financing 

Purpose and Benefits 

Equipment financing is designed to help businesses acquire machinery, vehicles, or technology without needing to pay the full cost upfront. These loans are specifically tailored for purchasing business equipment, which in turn serves as collateral for the loan. This type of financing allows businesses to spread the cost of expensive equipment over time, keeping their working capital for other needs. 

Terms and Conditions 

The terms and conditions of equipment financing typically include structured repayment schedules and interest rates that reflect the borrower’s creditworthiness and the value of the equipment being financed. Repayment schedules can vary, often ranging from two to ten years, depending on the lifespan of the equipment and the lender’s policies. Interest rates for equipment loans are generally competitive and may be fixed or variable. The lender may also require a down payment, which is usually a percentage of the equipment’s cost. 

Invoice Financing and Factoring

Definitions and Differences

Invoice financing and factoring are two solutions that help businesses improve their cash flow by leveraging their outstanding invoices. 

In invoice financing, a business borrows money against its unpaid invoices. The business controls its sales ledger and continues to manage the collection of payments from customers. The lender advances a percentage of the invoice value, typically between 70% and 90%, and the business repays the loan once the invoices are paid.

In invoice factoring, a business sells its unpaid invoices to a factoring company at a discount. The factoring company then takes over the responsibility of collecting payments from customers. The business receives an immediate cash advance—usually a substantial percentage of the invoice value—with the remaining balance (minus the factoring fee) paid to the business once the invoices are collected.

Suitable Business Scenarios

Invoice financing is ideal for businesses that prefer to maintain control over their customer relationships and collections process. For example, a manufacturing company that experiences periodic cash flow gaps due to delayed payments from large retailers can benefit from invoice financing. By borrowing against their invoices, they can bridge the cash flow gap and continue operations smoothly without waiting for customers to pay.

Invoice factoring is a good fit for businesses that need immediate cash and don’t have the resources or time to manage collections. A good example is a small logistics company with a steady flow of deliveries but facing delayed payments from clients. By selling their invoices to a factoring company, they can quickly access the funds needed to cover expenses and invest in growth opportunities without worrying about collecting payments.

Merchant Cash Advances

Explanation of the Financing Type 

A merchant cash advance (MCA) is a unique form of financing where a business receives a lump sum of cash upfront in exchange for a portion of its future sales. Instead of traditional fixed monthly payments, repayments are made through a percentage of the business’s daily credit or debit card sales. This means the amount repaid fluctuates with the business’s sales volume. The advance is typically repaid within a few months to a year, making it a short-term financing option. This flexible repayment structure can be particularly useful for businesses with high card transaction volumes but unpredictable income.

Risks and Considerations 

While merchant cash advances offer quick access to funds and flexible repayments, they come with drawbacks. The cost of borrowing through an MCA is often higher than traditional loans, with effective interest rates that can exceed 100%. This high cost can strain a business’s cash flow, especially if sales slow down. 

MCAs are typically used by businesses with consistent card sales and a need for fast, short-term funding. Restaurants, retail stores, and service providers like salons often use them to cover immediate expenses, such as inventory purchases, equipment repairs, or seasonal needs. 


Target Audience 

Microloans are specifically designed to serve small businesses and startups that struggle to secure traditional financing. Non-profit organisations, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and government programs often provide microloans to help support the growth and development of new businesses. Typically, these loans range from a few hundred pounds to £50,000, making them ideal for covering initial startup costs, purchasing inventory, or funding small-scale projects.

Application Insights

The application process for microloans is generally more straightforward and less stringent than the process for larger loans. Applicants can expect to provide basic information about their business, a business plan, and financial statements. Lenders may also look at personal credit history, particularly for startups with limited credit history. 

Typical lenders involved in microloans include non-profit organisations, community development banks, and certain government programs like the Start Up Loans scheme in the UK. These lenders often offer additional support, such as business mentoring and financial advice.

Commercial Real Estate Loans 


Commercial real estate loans are specialised financing options designed to help businesses purchase property, such as office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses, or other commercial properties needed to operate. 

In addition to purchasing new properties, these loans can be used for refinancing existing commercial mortgages, renovating existing properties, or even expanding current business locations. 

Key Loan Features 

Commercial real estate loans come with specific terms and conditions tailored to the nature of the property being financed and the financial health of the business. Loan terms generally range from 5 to 20 years, with the property itself serving as collateral. Interest rates for these loans can be fixed or variable, and are often influenced by factors such as the business’s creditworthiness, the loan amount, and the overall financial market conditions. 

Loan amounts for commercial real estate loans can vary widely, depending on the value of the property and the lender’s policies. Typically, lenders require a down payment, which can range from 10% to 30% of the property’s purchase price. In addition to the principal and interest, businesses should be prepared for other costs, like appraisal fees, legal fees, and sometimes environmental assessments.


Selecting the right type of loan is crucial for the financial health and growth of your business. Whether you’re choosing between secured and unsecured loans, government-backed schemes, or specific financing options like term loans and equipment financing, understanding your business’s unique needs and financial situation is key. Each type of loan comes with its own set of advantages and potential drawbacks, making it well worth the time investment to find a borrowing solution that fits best.

To make the most informed decision, it’s highly recommended to consult with financial advisors. They can provide tailored guidance and help you navigate the complexities of various loan options, steering you down the best path for your business’s future.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a multi-currency account/virtual IBAN?

A Payset multi-currency account allows you to receive money in 34 different currencies and send money in up to 38 currencies, all within the same account.

You can deposit and withdraw funds, convert currencies at competitive exchange rates, and hold your chosen currencies to capitalize on market movements.

A Payset multi-currency account allows startups and business owners to receive payments from clients virtually anywhere in the world and pay suppliers, staff, and contractors quickly and affordably in their chosen currency.

  • Funds can be deposited and withdrawn from the account for a small fee.
  • Account holders can send and receive money with other Payset users for free.
  • Depending on your region, you can use various payment networks from your Payset account, including SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Fedwire, Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS. 
  • Once you register an account, you will be provided with a Virtual IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which makes all of these transfers easy.
  • We provide you with local payments and collections. For example, transactions in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP are processed through the local payment networks, which is far cheaper and takes minutes as opposed to days

Are there limits on the amount of money I can send and receive?

No, there are no transaction limits on Payset multi-currency accounts.

However, higher-volume transactions may require additional anti-fraud verification. If you plan to make a large transaction, contact us in advance to avoid verification delays.

How is Payset regulated?

Payset is regulated as an authorized Electronic Money Institution by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Our activities are also regulated by the Payment Services Regulation 2017 and the Electronic Money Regulation 2011 (SI 2011/99).

How do I send money from my account?

Once you have opened your verified IBAN account and added money to a balance, transferring funds is simple.

Simply log in into your account and add a beneficiary, then simply “make a transfer” in your preferred currency to that beneficiary.

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