StreetShares StreetShares
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StreetShares Review

StreetShares
Rating:
Bottom Line:
Peer-to-peer lending platform with a special emphasis on military veteran loans; highly personal loan applications; good for established businesses with lower revenue

Full Review:
StreetShares offers small business loans up to $100,000, with a special emphasis on lending to veterans and military spouses who are business owners — it even holds a monthly contest called Commander's Call which awards a $5,000 prize to a veteran or military spouse-owned business. Its focus is very much on the Main Street type of business owner who might not be able to get a loan from a bank in the current economic climate, and the auction style of its loan funding process is different from many peer-to-peer lending platforms we've seen.


Types of Loans Available

StreetShares offers business owners fixed-rate term loans in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $100,000. Applicants are asked to create a Business Pitch that tells their story and why they need a loan, rather than simply filling out an application. This makes for a far more personal loan application process than what you'd get at a bank or other traditional lending service.


Calling itself a "social lending marketplace," StreetShares operates as a facilitator and connects small business owners with investors. Most loans will be funded by numerous investors making bids to back a portion of the total amount rather than one single investor funding the entire thing. The institutional and retail investors working with StreetShares must apply and meet certain requirements determined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to be accepted. Additionally, StreetShares itself backs a portion of every loan.

Because investors are competing to offer the lowest rates to fund each loan, your APR will vary based on the financial health of your business and how compelling your Business Pitch is; however, according to StreetShares, the average rates run from the single digits into the 20s.




Qualifying

To qualify for a loan, business owners must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have "reasonable" credit — which it defines as the low-to-mid 600s or higher. Additionally, your business must be at least one year old and earning $25,000 or more in annual revenue. That said, the service may make an exception for businesses less than a year old that already have very high revenue traction (more than $100,000). StreetShares does not accept businesses operating as Sole Proprietorships; however, Single-Member LLCs are welcome to apply. Also, note that if you were a Sole Proprietorship before you incorporated or became a partnership, that time will be counted toward the one-year requirement.


Many industries are supported, including retail, services, consulting, web-based, industrial, agricultural, entertainment, energy and healthcare. Construction is the only industry singled out as not supported, but if you aren't sure whether your business will be accepted, it's a good idea to contact StreetShares and ask before taking the time to fill out an application. Currently, StreetShares can lend to business borrowers in all 50 states plus D.C.

According to the StreetShares FAQ, information you can expect to provide during the application process includes your business tax ID, the owner's social security number, your most recent personal and business tax returns, your two most recent business bank statements, a download of your business checking account transaction history over the past six months and the details of your total outstanding debt and monthly payments on that debt.


Application Process

To apply for a loan, you must first create an account with StreetShares and indicate how much you'd like to borrow. Once your account is created you can begin a loan application, which consists of four pages requesting information about yourself and your business. After filling out the online application, you will find out instantly whether you are pre-approved or not. If you are, StreetShares will request you to submit documents to verify your financial and business information and help you create your Business Pitch (or loan listing). Once your Business Pitch is posted, it will be placed up for "auction" on the StreetShares marketplace.


During this auction process, investors will review your loan request and compete with each other to fund different portions of your loan. Those who offer the lowest interest rate "win" the auction, and your loan is funded by these investors as well as StreetShares itself. The auction process can take between three to five days, and once it's complete, you will be presented with a loan offer spelling out the full terms — including APR, origination fee and other pertinent information.

If you accept the offer, you will receive your funding (minus the origination fee) the following day. If you choose not to accept, you won't be held accountable or charged a fee.




Repayment and Fees

Street Shares offers terms ranging from three months to three years (36 months). Borrowers will make fixed payments on a weekly basis, which are taken directly from your linked bank account.

Before your loan is disbursed to you, Street Shares will take an origination fee of 3.95% or 4.95% of the total loan amount before the money is deposited into your account. Your origination fee is determined by your term length, loan amount and risk. Be sure to factor in this fee when requesting a loan so you end up with the right amount of money you need.

Other fees borrowers can incur are a $10 fee for a failed payment (such as an issue with your bank account), as well as a $10 late fee for payments made more than seven days past the due date. These fees are lower than the average, which is a nice plus.


Customer Support and Trustworthiness

Both phone and email support are offered, and if you create an account with StreetShares, you will likely be contacted via email even if you leave the application unfinished. Representatives are friendly and easy to talk to. Email support is available during business hours, and being contacted directly by an associate adds the personal touch StreetShares seems to excel at. Phone support is toll-free and available from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.

Although StreetShares is new to the business loan game, it's garnered a lot of positive attention. The service has an A rating with the BBB and is accredited with the bureau. The service's dedication to helping U.S. veterans and military spouses is admirable, and its advisors include a former U.S. Army Chief of Staff, which certainly helps boost its credibility.




Conclusion

StreetShares is dedicated to providing small business owners a shot at getting a loan based on their individual story, rather than just their credit or other financial information. The option to create a Business Pitch and entice investors to compete over you is a different take on peer-to-peer lending than we've seen before. Additionally, StreetShares offers stellar customer service, which is also a huge plus. Small businesses wishing to borrow more than $100,000 will want to look elsewhere, but others will enjoy what StreetShares has to offer.

Compare to Other Small Business Loans

If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Your question will be added to the NextAdvisor Forums so that we and other experts in our community can answer it. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.



Service Details

Minimum/Maximum Loan Amount:$2,000 - $100,000
APR:Varies
Terms Available:3 - 36 months
Origination Fee:3.95% or 4.95%
Minimum Business Age Required:1 year
Minimum Annual Revenue Required:$25,000
Owner's Credit Rating:600+

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