Small business loan marketplaces like LendingTree help connect companies to multiple lending offers from a vast lending network. Business owners of all credit scores, industries, and time in business can apply to the lender network.
The tradeoff for the convenience of the service is additional fees and your information going to many institutions who may contact you persistently. The service works for some small businesses, but not all.
This LendingTree business loans review covers the benefits and drawbacks of the service to help you decide if it’s right for your business needs. Specifically, we’ll answer the following questions and more:
LendingTree is a loan marketplace that connects individuals and small businesses to its lending partners. The company does not fund or service loans. Instead, it helps borrowers find and compare loan offers.
The company is perhaps best known for its other services for consumers, such as finding personal loans and its core mortgage brokerage services. However, it can also help small business owners find business financing through its network.
Founder and CEO Doug Lebda founded the NC-based company as CreditSource USA in 1996. It rebranded as Lending Tree in 1997 and launched its website in 1998.
The partners it works with offer various small business loan options. Lending Tree does not publish loan amount ranges, interest rates, or terms since those depend on the lender servicing the loan.
Here are some of the available business financial products.
With a short-term loan, you get a lump sum upfront, which you repay plus interest and fees in fixed payments. You can use the funds for most business purposes. Most short-term loans are repaid within 18 months or less.
With a business line of credit, you get an available credit limit and can draw funds as needed. You only pay interest on the funds you draw. This form of financing is good for ongoing projects, seasonal businesses, and covering unexpected costs.
Financing options for equipment include loans and leases to acquire needed business equipment. In most cases, the equipment you’re financing serves as collateral.
LendingTree’s network includes SBA-approved lenders. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) partially guarantees up to 85% of the loans, allowing lenders to offer higher borrowing amounts at lower interest rates and longer repayment terms.
With invoice factoring, you sell your unpaid receivables to a factoring company in exchange for a cash advance for a percentage of the invoice value, typically 75%-95%. Once your customers pay their invoices, you receive the remaining amount minus the factoring company’s fees.
LendingTree does not publish borrower qualifications for its commercial loans. The exact qualifications will depend on the lender.
Most lenders will base approval on your credit score, time in business, and annual revenue. You’ll qualify for more loans and better rates with a higher credit score, strong revenue, and at least two years in business.
You must apply to see your available loans, rates, and terms. You will likely be charged extra fees, such as an origination fee. There is no minimum credit score requirement to apply.
The company offers lead generation services, but it’s unclear if it has a referral partner program. Loan brokers should contact LendingTree to see if they can offer lending products to their SMB clients.
The application process might be LendingTree’s biggest selling point. Visit the LendingTree website and move through the question prompts.
You’ll identify your company’s legal structure, funding needs, and credit rating. Then you’ll provide contact information.
Applicants must provide some documentation, including:
If you qualify, you’ll receive loan offers from the company’s lending partners. From there, the process varies depending on which lender you select.
Some loans will have a fixed percentage fee called a factor rate. This usually applies to short-term financing options. Most loans are set up for automatic payments from your business bank account.
Online reviews suggest there are prepayment penalties for some loan types. If you get a loan offer from one of the marketplace’s lenders, ensure you carefully read the loan agreement and all disclosures.
The primary benefit of LendingTree is the application process. You can apply in minutes and receive multiple loan offers in minutes.
LendingTree has lower qualifications than traditional lenders. There are also financing programs for startups.
There are usually extra fees charged. The website does not provide much information about commercial loans, so you won’t know what’s available until you apply.
Some reviews suggest that the customer service team can be aggressive. Many of these reviews suggest that the lenders to which it sends your information will use persistent sales tactics and unsolicited contact, including multiple daily phone calls.
Yes, LendingTree is a legitimate online lending marketplace. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has accredited the company since 2019, where it has an A+ rating. LendingTree also has significant brand recognition due to its mortgage and consumer loan programs.
LendingTree has a mixed online reputation that skews towards the positive side. However, there are many complaints you should know about before applying.
The company has a 4.5 out of 5 rating with over 12,000 reviews on Trustpilot, which is considered excellent. It’s a different story on the BBB, with a 1.3 out of 5 rating on 102 customer reviews.
Many reviews are about the consumer lending side, but we will focus on the reviews that mention business. Most positive reviews talk about the ease of the application and how quickly they got matches to loans. A few mentioned getting decent rates on their loan.
Negative reviews discuss being contacted by numerous lenders. Many of these reviews also talk about lenders doing a hard credit pull despite not authorizing it. There are many negative reviews about the costs and fees involved.
One of the advantages of working with LendingTree is that it can typically match you with a lender where you qualify. However, this is only a prequalification process. The lender might still deny the loan during underwriting.
If your request gets declined, the denial letter should explain why. You can contact LendingTree or the lender directly if you need more information.
Fortunately, there are many online lenders and marketplaces to consider if LendingTree doesn’t work for your business loan needs. You should be able to find a marketplace that offers the following:
LendingTree is best suited for small business owners who don’t know what loan they need and want to explore multiple options. The service can save the time and effort of researching and applying to multiple lenders.
Established businesses with good credit can likely find less costly financing options elsewhere. Also, you should be prepared for multiple contacts from various lenders.
Based on user reviews, lenders, and available products, we rate LendingTree at 3.75 out of 5. The application process and lender network make it an attractive option, but it loses points for the lack of information on its website and customer complaints.
Disclaimer: The LendingTree trademark is owned by LendingTree, LLC and its use herein is for reference purposes only and it does not indicate sponsorship or endorsement from LendingTree, LLC.