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The Difference Between Revolving Credit & Short Term Loans

Selecting the right financing option is crucial for your business’s growth and financial stability. In the dynamic world of finance, two prominent options stand out for businesses seeking short-term capital – Revolving credit and short-term loans. Revolving credit offers ongoing access to credit, while short-term loans provide predictable repayments, can include flexible payment schedules and often lower interest rates. We’ll be exploring the fundamental differences between the two to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business needs.

Revolving credit is a type of credit arrangement where a lender provides a predetermined credit limit, and the borrower can access funds as needed within that limit. It is a revolving line of credit that allows businesses to borrow, repay, and borrow again once a certain proportion has been repaid, similar to a credit card.

The lender sets a maximum credit limit for the borrower, based on factors like creditworthiness and business performance. The borrower can then draw funds from the approved credit line whenever necessary, up to the established limit. As the borrower repays the borrowed amount, the available credit is replenished, enabling ongoing access to funds.

  1. Flexibility in Borrowing – Businesses can use only the funds they need, making it suitable for unpredictable or fluctuating expenses.
  2. Ongoing Access to Credit – As long as the borrower adheres to the terms, they can continue borrowing without having to reapply.
  3. Pay-As-You-Go Interest – Interest is charged only on the amount borrowed, not on the entire credit line.

Like most lines of business loans, there can be downsides to revolving credit, these include:

  • Higher Interest Rates: Interest rates on revolving credit are typically higher than those of traditional term loans due to the added flexibility.
  • Potential for Overspending: Continuous access to credit might tempt businesses to borrow more than necessary, leading to higher debt burdens.

Short-term loans are a form of borrowing where a lender provides a fixed amount of money upfront, which the borrower repays over a specified period with regular installments. The loan term can vary, typically ranging from 3 months to two years, with regular term loans then usually available from 2 yrs to 5 yrs.  

The borrower receives the entire loan amount at the beginning of the loan term. Repayments are made in fixed installments, usually monthly, comprising both principal and interest, until the loan is fully repaid. In the case of flexi-loans, the borrower pays a minimum amount plus any additional payment they feel able to. Once the balance has been settled, no further interest is payable.

  • Predictable Repayment Structure – Fixed installments enable businesses to plan and budget more effectively, as repayment amounts remain consistent throughout the loan term.
  • Lower Interest Rates– Compared to revolving credit, term loans generally offer lower interest rates, resulting in potential cost savings.

Your business may benefit from a term loan if you are affected by the following:

  • Expansion Projects – Term loans are suitable for financing long-term investments in business expansion or acquiring assets.
  • Major Purchases – Businesses can use term loans to buy equipment, machinery, or vehicles, spreading the cost over time.
  • Debt Consolidation – Term loans can be used to consolidate higher-interest debts into a single, more manageable loan.
  • Seasonal cashflow variations
  • Gaps between incurring costs and getting paid or projects where you are paid in staged instalments.
  • Temporary cashflow issues
  • An unexpected bill such as VAT or Corporation tax

Business loans are designed to provide financial support to businesses for various purposes, such as funding growth, managing working capital, or making significant investments. They help businesses bridge the gap between expenses and revenue, ensuring smooth operations and facilitating expansion opportunities.

Here at Portman, we offer a range of asset finance and business loan solutions, including: 

  • Business Loans – Borrow anywhere between £10,000 to £2 million for your business to boost your cash flow and avoid falling back on credit cards or overdrafts.
  • Flexible & Short Term Loans – Designed for businesses needing quick access to funds with short repayment periods, flexible & short term loans are ideal for managing temporary cash flow gaps.

When selecting the most appropriate financing option for your business, several crucial factors demand thoughtful consideration. Making the right choice can significantly impact your business’s financial health and growth prospects. Here are the key factors to consider when choosing between revolving finance and term loans:

Define your business’s short-term and long-term goals to identify the financing option that aligns best with your objectives. Assess whether your business requires ongoing access to credit (revolving credit) or a lump sum for specific purposes (term loans).

Analyse your business’s cash flow patterns and forecast to determine your ability to manage periodic repayments (term loans) or prefer more flexible repayments (revolving finance) based on your cash flow.

Evaluate your risk appetite as a business owner or decision-maker. Consider the potential risks associated with each financing option, such as higher interest rates in revolving credit or fixed repayments in term loans.

Clearly define the timeline for which you need financing. Revolving credit is suited for short-term low-level needs, while term loans are more suitable for higher values, projects, opportunities or unexpected costs.

By carefully weighing these factors and understanding the unique benefits and limitations of revolving finance and term loans, you can make an informed decision that will best support your business’s financial success and prosperity.

Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your business’s financial position, including cash flow, profitability, and debt obligations. Consider your credit score and history, as it can influence the availability and terms of financing options.

Seek advice from experienced financial advisors or experts to gain valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your business’s unique needs. They can help you understand the pros and cons of each financing option and provide guidance on making a well-informed decision.

Thoroughly review the terms and conditions of each financing offer, including interest rates, repayment periods, fees, and any hidden charges. Ensure that you fully comprehend the terms and ask questions to clarify any uncertainties.

Calculate the total cost of borrowing for each financing option by factoring in interest rates, fees, and other charges. Compare the overall cost of each option to assess its affordability and long-term impact on your business’s financial stability.

Choosing between revolving credit and term loans is a crucial decision that directly impacts your business’s financial well-being and growth opportunities. Selecting the right financing option for your business requires careful consideration of factors like your objectives, cash flow projections, risk tolerance, and financing requirements.

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News & Articles FAQs

What is the main difference between revolving credit and short-term loans?

Revolving credit offers a credit line with ongoing access to funds, similar to a credit card, whereas term loans provide a lump sum upfront, repaid in fixed installments over a specified period.

Are there any alternatives to revolving finance for short-term funding needs?

Yes, there are alternatives to revolving finance for short-term funding needs. Some options include short-term business loans, invoice financing, merchant cash advances, and business lines of credit. Each alternative comes with its own terms, interest rates, and eligibility requirements, so it’s essential to explore and compare the options to find the best fit for your specific short-term funding requirements. For more advice on alternative short-term funding options, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team at Portman for further information.

What factors determine the credit limit on a revolving credit account?

The credit limit on a revolving credit account is determined by several factors, including the borrower’s creditworthiness, credit history, income, debt-to-income ratio, and the lender’s risk assessment. A higher credit score, stable income, and responsible credit behaviour typically result in a higher credit limit, while a limited credit history or high debt levels may lead to a lower limit. Lenders evaluate these factors to assess the borrower’s ability to manage credit and repay debts, influencing the credit limit they offer on the revolving credit account.

What is the difference between working capital loans & term loans? 

Working capital loans are short-term loans designed to cover day-to-day operational expenses, while term loans are long-term loans used for larger investments like equipment or real estate.

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Business Loans FAQs

Can I apply for multiple funding sources simultaneously?

Yes, you can apply for multiple funding sources simultaneously. However, it’s essential to manage your approach strategically. Applying to various sources can be time-consuming, so ensure you tailor each application to the specific requirements of the funding option. Be transparent about your application status with each source to maintain professionalism.

Can I repay a business loan early?

Yes, you can usually repay business loans early. If your lender does not charge early repayment fees, this could save you money. To repay a loan early, just contact the lender for a settlement fee.

How do I get a business loan?

You can enquire online by using our eligibility checker. Click ‘get started’ at the top of the page and complete your details on the enquiry form. Once you have submitted your details, one of our account managers will contact you to discuss your needs. We do need some business documentation from you but will complete proposals and applications on your behalf.

How are business loans secured?

Business loans are ‘secured’ against existing commercial assets. This could include machinery, vehicles or property. What this means is that should the borrower be unable to repay the amount owed, the lender can sell those items in order to recoup the money it is owed. An unsecured loan does not put your business assets at risk, however, they carry greater risk for the lender and so are likely to be more expensive.

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Here at Portman, we understand that each business is unique and has distinct financing needs. That’s why we offer tailored financing solutions to empower your business’s success. Don’t navigate the complex world of business finance alone.

Contact Portman today and let our experienced team assist you in finding the ideal financing solution tailored to your business.

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