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A Short Guide to No-Doc and Low-Doc Business Loans

A woman with laptop studying no-doc business loans and low-doc business loans

For business owners who don’t have a company track record, low-doc and no-doc business loans can be a viable business finance option. Here we will explain how they work and what’s required to get a no-doc or low-doc business loan.

What is a low-doc loan?

When you approach a bank for a traditional business loan, you will be required to provide tax returns from the previous two years, financial statements (including Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement) and proof of consistent income.

Sometimes, especially for a new business, you will be required to provide a business plan when you apply for a loan.  If you are new in business, it’s a good idea to create a business plan but it can take several weeks to do this – and you probably don’t have the time when you start your own business. It’s possible you don’t have the detailed accounting data that other lenders require which goes back for two years, especially if you have a new Australian business which you operate on your own.

Established businesses can have challenges getting loans as well. This can include not showing a high income due to large write-offs or are reinvesting funds in the business. You could also late in paying taxes to the ATO.

Low-doc business loans can solve these challenges. With a low-doc loan, you don’t need to provide detailed documentation and proof.  This makes it good for start-ups and small businesses that don’t have the track record and documentation to apply for a traditional bank term loan. It’s also a time-saver as it sometimes can take up to three months to get approval for a bank business loan.

Advantages and disadvantages of low-doc loans

Besides being simpler and taking less time to get approval and funds, most low-doc loans are unsecured. This means you don’t have pledge collateral and provide supporting documentation.

If you have bad credit or no credit history, you can still qualify for a low-doc loan. This might mean you pay a higher interest rate.

Disadvantages of low-doc business loans are that they have higher interest rates compared to traditional loans and larger down payments may be required.

What is a no-doc business loan?

No-doc business loans are not offered through banks but through specialist lenders who are willing to take on the risk. With this type of loan, the borrower self-declares their business income and no documentation is required.

No-doc business loans are asset-backed, with the value of the property used as security at a higher value than the loan amount. This is why they are also called ‘asset-lend’ loans. Although there’s no documentation, no-doc lenders will usually do some type of credit assessment before approving the loan.

Advantages and disadvantages of no-doc loans

The main advantages of a low-doc loan are that it doesn’t require any documentation and can be fairly quick to get approved.

One disadvantage of no-doc business loans is that they have higher interest rates due to their higher risk. They have a term of six to twelve months, so you will need to find a new loan relatively quickly after the term is up. No-doc loans also require property as security.  The property needs to meet specific requirements, including being in good condition, not in a remote location and easily sellable.

A no-doc business loan can be used to buy a commercial investment property, with a loan to value ratio of between 60% and 80% used, depending on the type of lender.

Another disadvantage of no-doc loans is that they are not regulated by the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. This means that lenders can charge expensive exit fees if extra payments are made or if the loan is refinanced before its fixed-rate term ends.

An alternative to low-doc and no-doc business loans

Low-doc and no-doc loans require little paperwork and save time – but there are other alternatives to consider. One that has been growing in popularity with small business owners are unsecured business loans. These loans require minimal documentation and can be approved within 24 hours.

Moula, for example, uses leading-edge technology to quickly, safely and securely analyse your finances to make a decision on whether to grant a loan. If the borrower meets the requirements, the business loan is approved within 24 hours. Once approved, the funds are immediately transferred into your account. With terms of six to 12 months, Moula’s unsecured business loans are classified as short-term business loans.  

Find out more about unsecured business loans from Moula.

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All the thoughts, ideas and musings from the Moula team! Covering everything from work/life balance to general finance tips plus everything in between!

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