Square Capital is a small business working capital loan that is repaid with a percentage of daily credit card sales processed through Square. Square Capital loans are used by businesses that need quick working capital financing and process sales through Square. Square Capital alternatives include business lines of credit, short-term loans, and invoice financing.
Square Capital Loans vs Working Capital Alternatives
|Loan Provider||Best For|
|Businesses processing credit card payments with Square needing financing up to $250,000|
Businesses wanting a line of credit up to $100,000 without a 500 credit score requirement
|Businesses needing loans up to $500,000 with payments over 13 to 52 weeks|
|Businesses wanting quick invoice financing up to $5 million|
|Businesses needing a line of credit up to $250,000 with monthly payments|
|Prime borrowers needing term loans up to $350,000 for up to 10 years|
|Low credit borrowers that process credit card transactions needing up to $250,000|
How Square Capital Works
Square’s merchant financing is similar to a merchant cash advance (MCA). Both offer funding based on credit card receivables, but Square Capital is only available to Square point-of-sale (POS) users. Both have a simple application process and offer next day funding, but if you need a larger loan or less frequent payments, consider an alternative.
With Square Capital, your loan offer and approval are based on your historical Square sales. There is no loan application and Square Capital will contact you via email and dashboard if you qualify for a loan. If you borrow $100,000 at 1.1x, you will get a lump sum of $100,000 deposited into your account, and then you will have to repay a total amount of $110,000. The loan payments are made daily directly from your Square sales.
Square loan repayment terms vary based on the credit card sales you process through Square each day. Typically, your APR for the loan will fall between 30% and 35%, but it can range from 20% to 80%. The daily payments from transactions will be between 8% and 15% of receipts processed through Square. Your APR is variable because repayments are based on a percentage of your daily credit card receipts.
Is Square Capital right for you? Take our quiz. This two-minute quiz will show you which financing options may be best for you.
Who Square Capital Is Right For
Square Capital is right for small businesses that use Square to process their sales and who need a short-term working capital solution up to $250,000. You might choose Square over an alternative financing option if you do not want a hard credit check on your personal credit or if you need a fast business loan.
Square Capital Rates
Square loans have a single fee determined at the start of the loan:
- Fee (factor rate): 10% to 16% (1.10x to 1.16x)
- Estimated APR: 20% to 80% if repaid in one year
Square Capital charges a factor rate that ranges from 10% to 16% of the principal. The factor rate is added to the principal to determine total repayment. For example, if you borrow $100,000 from Square, you can expect to repay fees of about $10,000 to $16,000, or a total repayment of $110,000 to $116,000.
Square Capital Loan Terms
Businesses that use Square POS can borrow between $500 and $250,000 and can use the loan for any working capital needs. Your loan—including fees—must be paid back in full within 18 months. Payments will be taken daily as a percentage (8% to 15%) of your total Square sales and are automatically deducted for you during processing. Every 60 days, you must pay a minimum of 1/18 of your loan.
The loan terms you can expect for Square loans include:
- Loan amount: $500 to $250,000
- Repayment schedule (percentage): Payments daily (8% to 15%) of your total Square sales, with a minimum of 1/18th of the loan balance paid every 60 days
- Repayment term: One to 18 months
- Speed to funding: Minutes to apply, with funding as soon as the same day
Using a $100,000 example, each day a set percentage between 8% and 15% is automatically deducted from your daily Square sales until the entire $110,000 is paid in full. You are required to pay a minimum of 1/18th of your loan balance every 60 days, or $6,111.11 on a $100,000 loan. At the end of 18 months, if you have not paid off your loan, the remaining balance is due.
Square Capital Qualifications
Square Capital approval will depend on your particular transaction history and activity level, as well as your business, customer mix, and growth. If you are among the top candidates, it will offer you a Square Capital loan through your dashboard. You will be notified about your approval via the Square dashboard and your email, with funds available as soon as the next day.
The qualifications Square Capital will use to evaluate your business include:
- Personal credit score: Not a factor
- Monthly sales processing: At least $10,000
- Square history: Square will look for sales trends and how your business might grow in the future.
- Square activity level: The number and frequency of your payments matters. If you’re an active Square seller who gets payments every week, then you’ll be in a good position to qualify.
- Customer mix: Are you getting customers to come back for multiple purchases? If you’re diverse in both new and returning customers, it gives Square a comfort level that you’re growing in both directions.
- Overall growth: If you’re growing at a healthy rate, then your approved loan size will typically reflect that. The more you’re growing, and the faster you’re growing, the larger your approved loan amount will be.
The Square Capital loans working capital solution is similar to PayPal Working Capital, which is for businesses that use PayPal to process their customer payments. Square merchant services is typically a better solution for brick-and-mortar businesses since PayPal processes mostly online transactions. The way they work is almost identical, both with getting funded and repaying the loan.
Getting Approved for a Square Capital Loan Renewal
Square Capital periodically reviews your business qualifications to determine if you are eligible for a loan renewal. Depending on your transaction history, you may be offered a Square Capital loan renewal before you finish repayment. In some cases, you may receive a better offer on subsequent loans, but this isn’t guaranteed.
What Square Capital Loans Are Missing
Square Capital loans are a great option for businesses processing sales with Square. However, most businesses that don’t use Square to process payments will not be able to receive a loan. Additionally, the cost of a Square Capital loan is the same whether or not it is repaid early by the borrower.
Square Capital Reviews
We determined the reviews are a mix of positive and negative ratings. Positive reviews were impressed with its lenient loan requirements. Critical reviews were concerned with the ability to get additional loans from Square.
How to Get a Square Capital Loan
Since your loan is based on your Square sales, there is no initial application and no credit check required. Square Capital will initiate a loan offer via email or dashboard if you qualify and ask you to fill out some more details about your business.
Some alternatives to Square Capital are:
Fundbox: Best Overall Alternative to Square Capital Loans
Fundbox offers a small business line of credit based on cash flow. There is a 500 minimum credit score, allowing most businesses to qualify for loans up to $100,000 with repayment terms up to 24 weeks. This makes Fundbox the best alternative to Square Capital for short-term loans.
Fundbox vs Square Capital
Both Square Capital and Fundbox offer great working capital financing options, with Fundbox offering smaller loan amounts up to $100,000. Fundbox requires weekly payments compared to Square Capital’s daily payments, and you must fully pay back your Fundbox financing within 12 to 24 weeks. Both options are a good choice if you struggle to meet high credit score requirements.
Square Capital and Fundbox base funding on factors such as revenue, receivables, historical sales, and growth. The amount you repay with Square Capital is fixed regardless of whether it is paid early, unlike Fundbox, which lets you save money through early repayment.
Fundbox Rates & Fees
Fundbox charges a weekly fee known as the discount rate. Besides repaying a portion of the principal weekly, you will also have to pay this fee, starting at 4.66% (12 weeks) and 8.99% (24 weeks) of the advanced invoice amount. You get to choose either 12 or 24 weeks for your repayment terms.
Fundbox Loan Terms
Fundbox offers funding up to $100,000 for up to 24 weeks and weekly payments to qualified borrowers. You can apply and receive a funding decision in 15 minutes with funding as soon as the next business day. A major advantage of Fundbox is the opportunity to save money with early repayment. With fees charged per week, this could mean a large amount of savings for your business.
In terms of minimum qualifications, Fundbox is available to most businesses that have been in operation for six months or longer. This opens the door for many small businesses that may have poor credit, be less established, or operate on a smaller scale.
Fundbox requires businesses to have at least three months of operations and will evaluate factors such as growth, customer retention, and revenue. The accessibility of funding from Fundbox makes it one of the best accounts receivable financing companies.
What Fundbox Is Missing
Fundbox provides one of the fastest funding times, and you can repay a draw early to save money. However, it can only finance up to $100,000 and you must make weekly payments, which could be difficult if you have a cyclical business cash flow. If you need more funding and monthly payments, consider getting an unsecured line of credit from BlueVine or Kabbage instead.
We determined Fundbox generally has positive ratings. Positive Fundbox reviews came from users who said the company’s helpful customer service team made the process easy. Critical Fundbox reviews came from users who wished they could change the repayment terms to longer periods.
How to Apply with Fundbox
To apply with Fundbox small business owners must provide some basic and personal information. Fundbox can then connect to multiple accounting software and invoicing providers to evaluate cash flow. In a few minutes, Fundbox makes an approval decision and presents business owners with an offer, resulting in funding as soon as the next business day.
LoanBuilder: Best Alternative for Loans Up to $500,000
LoanBuilder is great for businesses needing a larger loan up to $500,000. Most of the others, including Square Capital, offer much smaller loans. With LoanBuilder, you can choose the loan amount you need and the term (13 to 52 weeks), and you will receive a rate from 2.9% to 18.72%.
Businesses needing a greater amount of capital that understand their funding needs in detail can benefit from LoanBuilder. With the flexibility to determine the repayment term and the loan amount, business owners can tailor its loan product to their specific needs, and avoid paying for anything that they do not need.
LoanBuilder vs Square Capital
LoanBuilder’s unsecured business loan can be as large as $500,000, which is twice as much as the Square Capital $250,000 limit. LoanBuilder also requires weekly payments, unlike Square loans, which are repaid automatically through credit card deductions and may cause variability in repayment.
LoanBuilder Rates & Fees
LoanBuilder has fixed fee loan pricing that can be determined specifically for your business. With LoanBuilder, you don’t benefit from paying early because your total interest charge is determined at the time your loan is originated. Rates range from 2.9% to 18.72%, or an APR of between 12% and 136%. This means that for every $10,000 borrowed, you will need to pay $3.30 to $37.25 per day in interest.
LoanBuilder Loan Terms
LoanBuilder offers loan terms from 13 to 52 weeks, with funding up to $500,000 and weekly payments. The largest advantage of LoanBuilder over other Square Capital alternatives is the tremendous repayment flexibility available to the borrower. By selecting the repayment term, the borrower is not only able to control costs and borrow for a different project but also select a payment amount that is sustainable for the business.
With a nine-month active time in business and a credit score of at least 550, qualifying for LoanBuilder is generally in line with other Square Capital alternatives we reviewed. The minimum gross revenue requirement ($42,000 per year) is easier to meet than Square Capital’s ($10,000 per month). However, this requirement will vary with loan terms and amounts.
In addition to the above factors, your business must not have filed for bankruptcy, needs to be located in the 50 United States, and have an active business record with your local Secretary of State.
What LoanBuilder Is Missing
LoanBuilder offers your business a great deal of flexibility by allowing you to select a repayment term. However, early repayment does not provide you with any cost savings. This is because the total interest you are responsible for paying is calculated at origination. If you need a term loan that offers your business the option of early repayment, consider working with SmartBiz instead.
We compiled LoanBuilder user reviews from around the web and noted that customer experiences have been generally positive. Customers who provided positive LoanBuilder reviews said its process was quick and efficient. Customers who provided negative LoanBuilder reviews said its pricing was too expensive.
How to Apply with LoanBuilder
LoanBuilder has a short online application. It requires three months of bank statements or a connection to a business bank account. Small business owners must then verify their identity and the existence of their business. Once the application is complete, LoanBuilder presents business owners with several loan term options with varying repayment terms, interest rates, and loan amounts so that business owners can select the option that best fits their financing needs.
BlueVine: Best Alternative for $5 Million in Invoice Financing
BlueVine offers invoice financing up to $5 million, making it best for businesses that invoice their customers. If you have outstanding invoices that are due in less than 90 days or are struggling to collect invoices and need working capital, BlueVine receives the invoice and collects on your behalf. BlueVine also offers a $250,000 line of credit, and you could get both loans.
BlueVine vs Square Capital
BlueVine financing options differ from those offered by Square Capital. BlueVine effectively purchases your outstanding invoices for a discount (85% to 90%) and collects money directly from your customers. This means that unlike Square Capital, you must already have outstanding invoices and you must assign your customer relationships to BlueVine.
In addition to invoice financing, BlueVine offers a line of credit and term loan to businesses, unlike Square Capital. With a line of credit, you have access to funds up to a credit limit on a revolving basis, which means you can access funds repeatedly once the principal has been repaid. While a term loan offers a lump sum of cash to the borrower, both have repayment terms up to a year and offer up to $250,000 in funding.
BlueVine Rates & Fees
BlueVine does not charge any origination fees for invoice financing. However, depending on when invoices are repaid by your customers, you will be charged a starting rate of 0.25% per week on the outstanding balances. This charge is directly deducted from the remainder of the repayment you receive when invoices are paid back, resulting in an APR of 13% to 70%.
BlueVine Loan Terms
BlueVine requires that loan amounts start at $5,000, which can be a hurdle for smaller businesses. This would require that invoices outstanding for the next 90 days exceed this amount in total. However, its maximum loan limit of $5 million is the highest that we evaluated, and BlueVine provides an advance rate of 85% to 90% one to three days after you apply.
To qualify with BlueVine, you need a personal credit score of at least 530, three months in business, and $100,000 or more in annual revenue. Qualifying for invoice financing is more difficult than Square Capital based on credit score. However, compared to Square Capital alternatives, qualification with BlueVine can be much easier because your loan is based on the value of your outstanding invoices.
In addition to completing BlueVine’s online application, you will also need to provide BlueVine with a connection to your checking account or three months of your most recent bank statements.
What BlueVine Is Missing
BlueVine offers the largest range of funding options we evaluated. However, you need at least a 530 personal credit score to qualify for invoice financing and a 600 or higher credit score to qualify for a line of credit. Some other providers offer a lower threshold or do not have a stated credit score requirement, such as Fundbox.
We considered BlueVine reviews by users from around the web. In so doing, we determined it generally has positive ratings. Positive BlueVine reviews came from customers who were impressed with its helpful customer support team. Critical BlueVine reviews came from businesses unhappy about being denied financing.
How to Apply with BlueVine
BlueVine offers small business owners a single application for multiple loan products. Business owners can connect a business bank account or upload the last three months of bank statements to be reviewed for funding. The application process can be completed online and BlueVine may offer multiple financing options to qualified business owners.
Kabbage: Best Square Capital Alternative for Monthly Payments
Kabbage is best for businesses needing a line of credit up to $250,000 with monthly payments. A line of credit from Kabbage offers businesses the same limits as Square Capital at rates starting at 1.5% per month on the funds you use. This is valuable if your funding needs vary over time.
Kabbage vs Square Capital
With Kabbage, you can draw on your credit at any time, rather than receiving the entire loan upfront like with Square Capital. When qualifying, Kabbage checks your personal credit score and requires a minimum score of 550. Kabbage also offers six-, 12-, and 18-month repayment terms with manual payments rather than automatic deductions like Square Capital.
Kabbage Rates & Fees
With each draw considered an independent six-, 12-, or 18-month loan, Kabbage offers borrowers a great deal of flexibility in how much and when they borrow funds. Rates range from 1.5% to 10% per month, resulting in an expected APR of 24% to 99%. This means that on a one-year draw of $10,000, you can expect to pay between $6.60 and $27.00 in daily interest.
Kabbage Loan Terms
When applying online for a Kabbage line of credit, you can get approved in 10 minutes for up to $250,000. Once approved, you can draw on the line of credit, with each draw representing a new loan. You can qualify for repayment terms of six, 12, or 18 months, all with monthly payments. Funding takes one to two business days after you’ve been approved with Kabbage.
Qualifying for a Kabbage line of credit can be more difficult than Square Capital or alternatives like Fundbox due to the higher personal credit score of at least 550. If the minimum credit score is preventing you from getting the financing, you should consider a bad credit business loan. Kabbage also requires that you have at least $50,000 in annual revenue and that your business has been operational for one year or more.
What Kabbage Is Missing
Kabbage offers every borrower monthly payment on its line of credit, making it a great option for businesses wanting less frequent payments. However, you must be in business for at least one year, which can be too long for newer businesses. Fundbox has a minimum requirement of six months and is a great alternative if you need a line of credit.
Kabbage has mostly positive ratings. Users who gave positive Kabbage reviews said its customer service provided clear explanations. Although some Kabbage reviews complained about high interest rates and short repayment terms, its rates and terms are disclosed upfront.
How to Apply with Kabbage
Kabbage is the only lender we evaluated that offers a mobile application process. Business owners can log in to their business bank account directly to link information or upload PDF’s of statements. The only other information required is personal and business identification along with estimates of annual revenue and required funding amounts.
SmartBiz: Best Alternative to Square Capital for Prime Borrowers
SmartBiz offers Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that are best for prime borrowers (700 or higher personal credit score) who can benefit from the lowest interest rates. It offers businesses needing a fixed repayment schedule a loan with rates as low as 8.25% for up to $350,000. SmartBiz SBA 7(a) loans have the longest repayment terms we evaluated—up to 10 years.
SmartBiz vs Square Capital
SmartBiz term loans offer borrowers a set repayment schedule, unlike Square Capital, and have a lower overall APR. Also, unlike Square Capital, SmartBiz can fund you for up to 10 years, which can be great for businesses needing longer repayment terms with smaller payments. However, you’ll need a personal credit score of 650 or higher to qualify and funding can take up to 30 days.
SmartBiz Rates & Fees
A loan from SmartBiz has rates that are restricted by the SBA, leading to low overall rates of 8.25% to 11%. This is the lowest rate range that we evaluated for our list of the best alternatives to Square Capital. Based on the rate provided by SmartBiz, you can expect to pay between $2.25 and $3.00 in daily interest on a $10,000 loan in addition to an origination fee up to 4%.
SmartBiz Loan Terms
SmartBiz offers up to $350,000 in funding, which is higher than lenders like Kabbage but lower than the maximum funding you can get with invoice financing from BlueVine, which is $5 million. The loans are partially guaranteed by the SBA, which allows SmartBiz to offer the longest terms we evaluated (up to 10 years). This can be a big advantage for small businesses needing small monthly payments on large projects like renovations.
Qualifying for SmartBiz requires that you have a personal credit score of at least 650, which is higher than every other lender we evaluated. It also requires that your business be operational for at least two years, but there is no minimum annual revenue requirement. Instead, you will need to meet the size standards set by the SBA, which typically require that you have fewer than 150 employees and less than $750,000 in annual revenue.
What SmartBiz Is Missing
SmartBiz offers the lowest rates and the longest repayment terms we evaluated. However, it is the most difficult lender to qualify for, based on its time in business and personal credit score requirement. For the lowest minimum qualification requirements, consider working with Fundbox. It will also take at least 30 days to get funded, which is longer than any other lender on our list by at least three weeks.
SmartBiz reviews on the web are generally positive. Many positive reviews cited the simplicity of its application process and were left by businesses happy to get low-interest funding with a long repayment term. The negative reviews we found came from businesses that were unable to qualify due to the higher minimum qualifications from SmartBiz (however, those qualifications are disclosed upfront).
How to Apply with SmartBiz
The SmartBiz application process is more convenient than a traditional SBA loan, but still takes an extended amount of time. Business owners must upload financial statements, identifying information, and complete several forms that the SBA requires. Based on this information, SmartBiz will contact individual small business owners to gather additional documents to submit to the SBA for approval. The entire process can be completed in under 30 days but may take much longer.
National Funding: Another Alternative to Square Capital
National Funding‘s merchant cash advance (MCA) working capital loan up to $250,000 is a good solution for businesses with poor credit that accept credit cards. Keep in mind that an MCA can be expensive and should be used as a last resort. National Funding also offers loans and equipment financing that you may qualify for.
National Funding vs Square Capital
Square loans are similar to the National Funding merchant cash advance in that they are repaid out of credit card transactions. Square Capital also has the same limit of $250,000 and makes deductions from Square transactions, whereas National Funding can work with different credit card processing systems.
National Funding Rates & Fees
National Funding merchant cash advances are designed for high-risk borrowers who are unable to get access to credit anywhere else. This is offset by the high factor rate charged by National Funding, which can be 1.1x to 1.6x the loan amount. Based on this factor rate, we calculated an APR of 30% to 150%, a resulting daily interest cost of $8.20, and $41.00 for every $10,000 you borrow.
National Funding Loan Terms
In the case of National Funding merchant cash advances, there is a great deal of variability in the specific terms received by businesses. You can get funding up to $250,000 with repayment taken as a percentage of your daily credit card settlements over as long as 18 months. This variation in actual terms is due in large part to the different needs of businesses that are not in strong shape financially.
National Funding Qualifications
National Funding does not have very restrictive qualifications, requiring any credit score and only one year of being operational. You will have to demonstrate your credit card receipts to establish your ability to repay the loan, which should be at least $3,000 per month. When applying, you’ll need to submit your credit card receivables statements for the four most recent months.
What National Funding Is Missing
A National Funding merchant cash advance provides a financing option for businesses with poor credit, but requires that businesses be operating for at least a year, unlike Square, which has no minimum. This means National Funding is only an option for more established businesses.
An MCA is also a very expensive option due to the higher rates. It can still be a good option if you can’t qualify for another form of financing. Once you have improved your personal credit score, you can apply for a small business working capital loan up to $500,000.
National Funding Reviews
We determined that National Funding reviews on the web are mostly positive. Customers who gave positive National Funding reviews said the application process was quick and easy. Customers who gave negative National Funding reviews complained about the interest rates and hidden charges.
How to Apply with National Funding
Since merchant cash advances come at a high cost and can create a potential cash flow strain, it is only recommended if your other options are exhausted. The application process requires small business owners to share credit card receivables with National Funding along with some personal and business information. While the approval process can take as little as a day, several days is more common as National Funding requests additional information.
Square Loans Compared to SBA 7(a) Loans
Based on information from Square Capital and the SBA, Square has noted success in improving the access to capital for women and minority-owned businesses. Per SBA 7(a) lending statistics for major programs as of July 2018, women-owned businesses account for 18% of the total number of loans issued. This is compared to 56% of Square loans, based on a Square Capital survey from April 2018.
Source: Square Capital Survey April 2018
Further, according to Square Capital, over 85% of Square users are outside of the biggest 25 cities in the United States. The implication is those small businesses that previously had trouble accessing financing because they are outside of a major metropolitan area now have better access to the funding they need.
“America is home to a diverse population of small business owners, and improving access to capital for them means job growth, greater commerce, and more enrichment of local communities. We’re excited that Square Capital is helping to build a bridge between the financial system and the many small business owners who have been underserved.”
– Jacqueline Reses, Head of Square Capital
Pros & Cons of Square Capital Loans
When considering a Square Capital loan, it’s important to recognize both its benefits and its drawbacks. Square Capital loans are easy to qualify for and don’t require an extensive application. However, like any other form of financing, repayment may be difficult during business downturns.
Pros of Square Capital Loans
- Qualifying is simple: Square Capital has few qualification requirements because it primarily evaluates your business and transaction performance to determine your qualifications.
- There’s no application: There is no application for a Square Capital loan. Instead, you will receive a notification on your dashboard and in your email that you qualify. This means that you don’t have to go through the process of selecting a lender and applying.
- Repayment is automatic: Your payments are made directly from your daily credit card settlements. This means that you don’t have to worry about making a payment and the loan is repaid in the process of your business operating, allowing you to focus on running your business.
Cons of Square Capital Loans
- You can’t delay repayment: In the event of a business downturn, payments will continue to be made out of your daily credit card transactions. This could potentially put a strain on your cash flow and ability to pay other obligations.
- Costs are potentially high: The overall cost of a Square Capital loan can be higher than some other options that are available to you. This is due mostly to the lack of prepayment benefits available to you as a borrower. In the case of early repayment, you must still pay back the entire loan balance plus the fee calculated at the beginning.
Square Capital Loans Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many times can you get a Square Capital loan?
There is no maximum number of loans you can qualify for with Square Capital. If your business is growing, you have new and returning customers, and your loan payments are current, you may receive an additional loan offer from Square Capital. Some sellers receive up to five loans, with offers arriving around 70% repayment.
What are the most important Square Capital requirements?
When evaluating borrowers, Square Capital looks for indicators of a growing business such as the number of Square transactions, recent payments, transaction history, activity level, and customer mix. It also checks for on-time payments and minimal chargebacks. For more information on avoiding and handling chargebacks, see our guide on accepting credit cards.
When does Square Capital offer you a loan?
Square Capital does not take loan requests directly at this time. By leveraging its transaction data, it regularly evaluates whether your business qualifies for a loan. If your business qualifies, you will receive a loan offer on your Square dashboard. This offer can be withdrawn at any time, so act fast.
Square Capital offers a working capital loan based on the value of your daily credit card sales that are processed through Square. This is a great option for businesses that use Square as the primary way of collecting customer payments. However, there are comparable working capital alternatives that work for businesses.
Fundbox offers a small business line of credit based on the value of your outstanding invoices. With funding available in 24 hours, a 500 minimum credit score, and loan values of up to $100,000, it is the best overall alternative to a Square Capital loan.