Are Bank of America Business Loans Worth It?

(May 2024)

Are Bank of America Business Loans Worth It?

In This Article

Our Verdict

Bank of America (formerly known as Bank of Italy and later became Bank of Italy and America) has a revolutionary history that’s dated as far back as 1904. In 1998, NationsBank (based in Charlotte) acquired the bank for the then record amount of $62 billion and gave it its birth name “Bank of America Corporation.” Now headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bank of America operates in all 50 contiguous states including Washington DC. If you are an SBA borrower, Bank of America maintains small business relationships in 4,600 branches across the US. Bank of America is a well-known lender with numerous loan options like business advantage credit line, business term loans, commercial real estate, and equipment loans. Choose Bank of America if you are a borrower with an established business. Nevertheless, if your business is new with little or no history, opt for Bank of America’s secured line of credit to start building your creditworthiness. Sign up for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Members program to start enjoying the bank’s rewards and promotions. Just like other big banks, know that Bank of America is also a victim of poor customer service and a delayed application process that leads to a slow funding period. For further enquiries visit https://www.bankofamerica.com/customer-service/contact-us/ or contact @BofA_Help.

Pros

  • Provides rewards and promotions, including friendly interest rate
  • Provides numerous loan options
  • Has a presence in every US state
  • Favour only established businesses
  • Offers the highest loan amount for commercial loans and industrial loans

Cons

  • Long loan process
  • Poor customer reviews and ratings
  • Projected sales or invoice factoring doesn’t determine loan approval
  • Zero tolerance for online loan application

Who This Product Is Best For

Bank of America business loan is best for business owners who:

  • Have an active business with at least two years of operational records
  • Have business checking accounts with Bank of America
  • Are not looking for quick funding
  • Want relatively low interest rates when compared to other lenders
  • Prefer banks with a wide range of availability
  • Are health workers looking for healthcare loans with multiple options
  • Need a lender with a higher credit limit.

Who This Product Isn't Right For

Bank of America is not good for you if you are:

  • A business owner who prioritizes perfect customer service
  • A business owner who is new to the business world
  • A borrower who hates paying high fees on business financing products
  • A borrower who holds in high esteem digital service for financing products
  • A borrower who wants to bypass strict qualifications for bank loans
  • A business owner who wants quick funding

What This Product Offers

  • Business Advantage Credit Line (Unsecured): You can get this loan with no collateral. You have constant access to funds with a competitive interest rate and monthly repayment term.
  • Business Advantage Credit Line (Secured): This loan provides a security deposit which helps you to build your business credit. You can draw money anytime you need funds.
  • Business Advantage Term Loan: This is an unsecured term loan. You get the complete payment once with a fixed repayment schedule throughout the loan span.
  • Business Advantage Auto Loan: Business advantage auto loan offers automobile financing options—like car loans and truck loans, which you can use to buy the right vehicles to keep your business moving.
  • Commercial Real Estate: You can use this financing option to acquire land or building for your business expansion. The loan has a competitive rate and zero charges for an origination fee
  • Equipment Financing: Use equipment loan to buy the right tools and machinery to keep your business running. Equipment loan most time serves as a secured loan—because the tools and machines you bought with it serve as collateral. You may lose them if you can’t afford to pay back the loan at its due time.
  • Secured Business Line of Credit: Use this loan to finance any of your ongoing projects. However, prepare to use your assets as collateral because this is a secured loan—which you can only get by placing a lien on your assets or certificate of deposit.
  • Secured Business Loans: This is a secured term loan that you can use to service debts or expand your business. It’s a secured loan that requires collateral but one good thing, you determine the choice of collateral and not the bank.
  • Healthcare Practice Loans: if you are a doctor, dentist, or veterinarian, you can get this loan to begin building your career as a health practitioner.
  • SBA Loans: Bank of America SBA offers you loan products for different business purposes. You have access to different types of SBA loans like SBA 7(a), SBA 504 and SBA Express Loan. As an SBA-preferred lender, Bank of America provides a guidance program for you to get the best out of SBA loans.

Product Details

Business Advantage Credit Line

This is an unsecured business line of credit with no collateral. Its package contains annual renewal, zero charges of interest (except on draw amount), and no cash upfront fee. If approved, the disbursement amount you can get begins from $10,000 with an APR as low as 9%. To qualify, you need 2 years of experience as a business owner with an annual income not less than $100,000.

Business Advantage Secured Credit Line

Tap into this loan to grow your business and build your business creditworthiness (to help you move to unsecured lines of credit) simultaneously. After applying online, you need to make a security deposit of $1,000 and this will also serve as your credit line especially if the purpose is to build your business credit. To qualify, you need proof of consistent annual revenue of not less than $50,000 and an annual fee of $150 with 6 months of experience in the business.

Business Advantage Term Loan

This is an unsecured loan that offers a one-time lump sum amount. To meet the requirement, you must be generating an annual sale of not fewer than $100,000 with 2 years in business. You can get a loan amount as low as $10,000 and it maintains a fixed payment at the rate of 6.75% all through its lasting period. Also, you have to pay a $150 origination fee and the loan period lasts up to 60 months.

Business Advantage Auto Loan

Specially designed for business owners as vehicle loans, you can use it to finance cars and trucks vehicles that your business needs to scale up. The loan amount begins from $10,000 with an annual rate as low as 5.99%. Its term lasts up to 72 months. Be aware that the loan requires a vehicle worth $10,000 with an age of not more than 5 years.

Commercial Real Estate

This loan allows you to buy land or buildings to grow your business. The amount offered is $25,000 with an interest rate of 5.50%. Its duration ranges between 10–15 years. Your application documents must portray 2 years in business with an annual revenue of $250,000.

Equipment Financing

Provide your business with the ability to secure the needed tools and machines to perform tasks quickly. The amount is $25,000 with an APR of 6.50%. Loan Term lasts up to 5 years. To be fitted for this loan, your business needs 2 years in operation and a minimum annual income of $250,000.

Secured Business Line of Credit

Boost your current running cash by applying for this loan. You need collateral or security payment to stand a chance. The amount is $25,000 and it has an interest rate of 8.25%. The duration is revolving on an annual basis. To qualify,  you need 2 years of running experience and annual revenue of $250,000.

Secured Business Loans

Getting this loan is determined by your choice of collateral. You can use it to enlarge your coast or service outstanding debt. The amount is $25,000 at the rate of 6.50% per annum. Duration time is 4 years to 5 years. You need 2 years in business and annual revenue of $250,000.

Healthcare Practice Loans

This loan is good for you if you are a medical practitioner such as a doctor, dentist, or veterinarian. You can get up to $5 million with an advantage to pay only interest and pay the principal amount on a gradual process. Moreover, if you are taking out a loan to finance a particular project, Bank of America’s loan manager will pay the suppliers on your behalf. However, you can qualify to receive the complete fund and personally pay your suppliers if you are running an established business. In addition, Bank of America provides a medical counselor with 20 years of experience to walk you through how best you can utilize the loan in your medical field. For more enquiries call 800.497.6076.

SBA Loans

These are government-backed loans that are designed for small businesses. You can get these loans for any business purpose. To qualify, you must have a profit-oriented business that is structured as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. You have access to choose from various kinds of SBA such as SBA 7(a) loan, SBA 504 loan, and SBA Express loan.

SBA 7(a) loan

With SBA 7(a) loan, you can get a loan amount up to $5 million with an undisclosed fixed rate. The loan term is up to 25 years. Note that for you to get the loan, you have to make a down payment as low as 10% of the principal amount.

SBA 504 loan

Get a loan amount starting from $400,000 when you choose SBA 504 loan. It has a fixed rate and expiration period of 25 years with full amortization.

SBA Express loan

This loan allows you to get funds up to $500,000 with revolving options. It offers a fixed rate amount but you can also get a variable rate if you choose the revolving option.

Where This Product Stands Out

  • Numerous loan choices: Bank of America offers different kinds of financing which includes various secured and unsecured loans. It also provides specialized loan types like auto loans, commercial real estate, and equipment financing. Don’t know which loan option is good for you? Worry no more. You can arrange a meeting with a Bank of America special adviser to discuss which loan is best for you.
  • Favorable policies and prices: Generally, Bank of America offers long-term business loans with friendly interest rates. For instance, Bank of America secured business loans have a duration between 4 to 5 years with an APR of 6.50%. Commercial real estate has 10 to 15 years with an interest rate as low as 5.50%. And business advantage term loans have up to 60 months duration and an interest rate of 6.75%.
  • Promotions and incentives are offered: Bank of America runs a promotion called Preferred Rewards for Business Program which allows qualified small businesses to benefit from its promotions and rewards. To benefit from this program, you need an opened and active checking account with Bank of America and an average daily balance (for 3 days) of $20,000. Joining this program attracts no fee. Once you meet the requirement, register for the promotional and rewards perks by visiting the Bank of America website.
  • Discount rate for members of the US armed forces: If you are a veteran US military personnel, maximize the 25% discount on origination fees that Bank of America offers on all loans including SBA loans.
  • One of the topmost SBA lenders: With Bank of America’s SBA lending products, you can get an SBA loan up to $10 million. According to https://www.fundera.com/business-loans/guides/bank-of-america-sba-loans Bank of America has loaned out more than $46 million to small businesses across America.

Where This Product Falls Short

  • Difficult to enroll: To be eligible for loans from Bank of America, you need solid earnings and numerous years of business experience, this qualification fit is fundamental to most banks. New businesses and companies with bad credit have to search somewhere else for financing.
  • Too lengthy application procedures: In most cases, Bank of America expects you to make a booking to speak with a lending consultant by phone or in person to finalize and present an application. Except through a Bank of America business checking account, your only option to submit an online loan application is the Business Car loan. Placing side by side in comparison with other lenders who permit you to submit your applications and documents online, Bank of America takes a long period to fund its borrowers due to lengthy application processes.
  • There is not much information online: unlike other banks and online competitors, Bank of America has no cogent data on interest rates, required credit scores, and typical payment periods.
  • Discounts and promotions only available to standardized businesses: You can only benefit from the Bank of America promotions and discounts if:
  1. Your business has an existing checking account with Bank of America before taking out a loan.
  2. Your business has an operational record that’s up to 2 or more years.
  3. Your annual revenues are up to $100,000 and above.

How to Qualify for This Product

The prerequisites for applying were not made explicit by a Bank of America consultant. Nevertheless, they did state that it varies based on your circumstances. Also, a Bank of America small business banker may guide you through the requirements for applying. However, in general, you may anticipate using these records for the majority of business loan applications coupled with the following lender-specific standards:

  • 2 or more years of business operation.
  • Annual revenue of $250,000. For an unsecured loan, you need an annualized income of $100,000.
  • FICO score of 700 or higher to augment your chance of approval. However, Bank of America has no specific required credit score range.

How to Apply for This Product

Visit any of the Bank of America’s branches to meet with its loan officer and discuss lender-specific requirements for any loan product of your choice. But, whatever the case may be, present the following requirements for loans.

  • Your business profit and loss statements
  • Provide a business plan that details your business’s structure.
  • Provide a balance sheet that reveals your business assets, capital, and liabilities.
  • Get at least tax return statements for the past two recent years.
  • Provide financial documents like bank statements, and cash flow statements.
  • Make available your business legal documents like EIN and SSN numbers, legal contracts and agreements, and articles of incorporation.
  • Don’t forget to provide proof of collateral if your goal is to take out a secured loan.

Alternatives to This Product

American Express Business Blueprint

This is the best option to choose if you are a business owner who needs working capital to support their businesses. American Express Business Blueprint gives you a credit line amount between $2000 and $250,000. It has a repayment term of 6 to 18 months. Though the conventional interest rates vary based on the loan term, you have to pay extra interest on any outstanding balances.

  • 6 months period: 2% to 9%
  • 12 months period: 7.5% to 18%
  • 18 months period: 15.75% to 27%

You can apply for the American Express Business Line of Credit online. It permits the integration of your business checking account with its platform for seamless loan application. To qualify, you need at least one year of operation in business with a credit score of 640. Also, you need a typical monthly revenue of $3000.

Wells Fargo

This Bank is a worthy competitor for Bank of America. It has branches in 36 US states and also offers various lending options including SBA loans at a competitive rate. Wells Fargo’s qualification requirements are a little bit lower than Bank of America’s requirements. For instance, Wells Fargo considers your application if you have a Fico score as low as 580, while Bank of America only considers you if your credit score is up to 640. Moreover, you don’t need many years of experience before you qualify for Wells Fargo business loans.

OnDeck

If you need quick funding, OnDeck is your best option—as the lender can provide you with financing funds for your business on the same business day you secured lending approval. You can qualify for its loan products with a credit score as low as 625, while your business’s year of operation can be as little as 1.

U.S Bank

With a business history as short as 6 months, you are already a prospective borrower of U.S Bank loan products. The bank gives you a wide variety of business financing products with a competitive interest rate as low as 7.99%. Loan amounts start from $5,000 and can be up to $12, 400,000 with an expiration period of 2-25 years.

Customer Reviews

In a study conducted in 2021 on customer satisfaction for US major banks, Bank of America performed below what is expected from an average industry. According to 9-person reviews on TrustPilot and 736 reviews on Consumer Affairs, Bank of America only receives a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. These lukewarm reviews take Bank of America out of the rank of banks which have exceptional customer service.

Methodology

We reviewed *this product* based on 20 data points in the categories of loan details, loan costs, eligibility and accessibility, customer experience and the application process. We rated *this product* based on the weighting assigned to each category:

  • Loan cost: 35%
  • Loan details: 25%
  • Customer experience: 20%
  • Eligibility and accessibility: 10%
  • Application process: 10%

Within each major category, we also considered several characteristics, including available loan amounts, repayment terms and

applicable fees. We also looked at minimum credit score and time in business requirements and the geographic availability of the lender. Finally, we evaluated *this product* customer support tools, borrower perks and features that simplify the borrowing process—like online applications, prequalification options and mobile apps.

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