Kabbage Review: Is Kabbage a Good Lender?
Kabbage is a FinTech lending platform based in Atlanta, Georgia. Its focus is mainly on small businesses using an automated service to provide loans quickly to qualifying candidates. Kabbage is venture-backed by a number of financial companies and started to provide loans in 2011. The company began its international presence in 2013 with a UK office and is now known as a global disruptor facilitating small business finance.
Kabbage was one of the original disruptors in the automated lending space. Small businesses with no credit history can typically get a loan response within 10 minutes of application. However, the ease of access comes at a price, namely higher interest rates and a personal guarantee for loans.
Kabbage only provides the business line of credit as opposed to the standard term loan offered by most other online lenders. The line of credit range extends to $250,000 through its automated application process.
Up to $250,000
Up to 6 or 12 or 18 month terms
Kabbage is perfect for businesses that struggle with cash flow and need to have the line of credit available, just in case. Cash flow is one of the major reasons that small businesses fail, as they cannot maintain the correct balance between income and expenditure. This is particularly relevant for seasonal businesses.
New businesses that cannot get a term loan with other lenders can turn to Kabbage for swift approval for a line of credit. It is one of the quickest, easiest ways to gain access to capital without any hassle or delay. Even among online lenders, Kabbage has a strong reputation for its loan approval process and is a pioneer in the field of automated finance.
Sometimes, the advantages and disadvantages are the same. The Kabbage line of credit provides easy access to capital, but this access is almost too easy. For example, Kabbage provides a business credit card which can be very convenient. But if you fail to make a payment on time, then you will be hit very hard with late payment fees. This is how this lender makes its profits. Make sure to use your line of credit responsibly. Just because you can get a line of credit, does not necessarily mean that you should get a line of credit.
But the primary disadvantage of Kabbage is actually its fee structure, which is a little complex. Kabbage charges between 1.5% – 10% for the first 2 months of a 6-month loan, the first 6 months of a 12-month loan, and the first 9 months of an 18-month loan. For the remainder of the loan, you can expect to pay 1% of the principal each month. These rates are high. You will also be paying back the principal itself, along with the interest rate.
One thing to keep in mind is that Kabbage constantly analyzes your cash flow. And if it starts to slow down, they can reduce your credit limit or even cut you off. This can be a double whammy – your credit limit could be reduced when you need it the most.
As stated above, Kabbage only provides the line of credit. The line of credit extends all the way to $250,000. However, Kabbage also provides a host of analytical features with dashboards and payment processing facilities. You need to sign a personal guarantee, but you do not have to supply any collateral for the line of credit.
|Loan Type||Line of Credit|
|Term Length||6/12/18 months|
|APR Range||24% – 99% (1.5 – 10% per month)|
|Min-Max Amount||$500 – $250,000|
Fees, Rates, and Penalties
As noted above, the Kabbage fee structure is a little complex, and it works out to be quite expensive, all things considered. With fees that can reach up to 10% of the total loan amount (each month), you need to be careful. It is not the cheapest on the market, and it is often a tradeoff between convenience and cost.
However, there are no other charges. Kabbage does not charge a maintenance fee, withdrawal fee, origination fee, or prepayment penalty. It only charges the typical interest payment disclosed upfront, as well as late payment penalties. The late payment fees are onerous: $10 for balances less than $100, $35 for balances between $100 and $5,000, and $100 for balances over $5,000.
|Loan Type||Line of Credit|
|Late Payment Fees||Yes|
|Interest Rate||Yes (2 – 10% monthly)|
Kabbage is one of the easiest lenders on the market to qualify for, with no minimum credit requirements in its automated loan process. You simply hook up your bank accounts and supply minimal documentation. Kabbage works on business performance, not credit score. You will often get a response from Kabbage (approval or denial) within 10 minutes of application. It’s free to apply and you do not have to accept the loan if approved.
|Criteria||Less than $100,000 Loan||More than $100,000 Loan|
|Minimum Credit Score||None (though 540 recommended)||None (though 540 recommended)|
|Minimum Annual Revenue||$50,000 (or at least $4,200 for the last 3 months)||$50,000 (or at least $4,200 for the last 3 months)|
|Minimum Time in Business||12 Months||36 Months|
The Kabbage Application Process
Kabbage is well-known for its superb application process. It is literally as easy as creating an account with Kabbage, and then linking your bank accounts to see if you qualify. (You’ll also need to key in the desired amount and the repayment terms).
The response should be received within 10 minutes. The vast majority of applications are approved. You can even make an application on your mobile phone with ease. Kabbage is a very tech-friendly lender that uses a data driven model to streamline the loan process.
While you do not need to have a credit score, you do have to consent to a FICO credit check during the application process. You will also need to provide access to accounting software that you use (PayPal, Amazon, QuickBooks, etc). For larger lines of credit, Kabbage may require additional information. The application process is algorithmic, which is why it is so fast.
While its fee structure is a little complicated, Kabbage is an extremely transparent lender and you will know exactly what you will be paying. It uses the ‘Smart Box’, which makes it easy for loan applicants to compare loans between different lenders. Data in this box includes average monthly payment, total APR, cost of capital, and other key metrics.
Its website is also very clear and easy to navigate, and everything is disclosed upfront. This is a huge advantage, as you won’t be caught for hidden fees, which happens all too often in the alternative lending space.
Kabbage provides a business loan calculator (btw, you can use our calculator) and an ROI tool on its website, so customers can understand what they are paying before they take out the loan. Kabbage is one of the most transparent lenders on the market.
Regulatory and Legal Status
Kabbage Funding makes the loans to customers as a fully owned subsidiary of Kabbage Inc.
All Kabbage Funding business loans are issued by Celtic Bank, which is a Utah Industrial Bank and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (‘FDIC’).
The FDIC is an independent Federal Agency that insures all deposits up to a specific amount in the event of financial turmoil. Each depositor is protected up to $250,000. Kabbage is rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau (‘BBB’) and is trusted by over 200,000 businesses, according to its official site.
Kabbage customer service is excellent. Kabbage has a 5-star rating on TrustPilot from over 6,000 reviews, and with good reason. The automated services provided by Kabbage along with the upfront terms and conditions means that there the customer service team is not under too much pressure. For people who do actually need to get in touch with Kabbage representatives, they are easy to contact and are quite responsive.
On SiteJabber, Kabbage reviews are not quite as happy about the service, but this is primarily because users are not accustomed with the Kabbage terms and conditions and do not understand the loan before they accept it. Many others are dissatisfied when they could not make payments and get an extension, but it is naive to fall behind on payments and expect to get an easy extension.
Kabbage has won a number of accolades and accreditations. In 2013, it was ranked in the top 10 most innovative companies in finance by FastCompany. In 2016 it was ranked as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking companies by CNBC’s annual top 50 Disruptors List.
Kabbage was ranked as the #59 best company by Entrepreneur Magazines in 2017 and was also listed as one of the best places to work by both GlassDoor and Inc Magazine. Co-founder Kathryn Petralia was listed as the 9th most influential women in the financial sector.
Kabbage is ideal for small businesses that are looking to get access to capital quickly without a lengthy application process. It is especially useful to cyclical businesses who need access to finance. Startups and small businesses have much to gain from the Kabbage line of credit. It is not ideal for established businesses with a higher credit score, simply because it would make more sense for such businesses to get a better loan with lower rates.
If your business is booming and you need to buy more inventory, then the Kabbage line of credit is perfect. You can take out the line of credit as you need. Online businesses selling physical inventory (eBay, Amazon, dropshipping, etc) could do very well using the Kabbage line of credit.
Remember if you get a line of credit to pay it back on time, every time. Because the line is so easy to qualify for, it means that people use it recklessly and often complain about Kabbage when they default on their obligations.
Along with the line of credit, Kabbage has a lot going for it. The application and online dashboard are as streamlined and intuitive as possible, which will have particular appeal to millennial audiences and startups.
- Kabbage Payments allows for invoicing and payment processing. Business owners can simply send a link for easy payment from third party suppliers.
- Kabbage Insights allows business owners to see where they are allocating their capital and to anticipate future spending. It’s an easy way to visualize business performance.
- The Kabbage Credit Card provides easy access to the line of credit and comes with the application.
There are a lot of positive TrustPilot reviews and SiteJabber reviews on the Kabbage platform. Small businesses are raving about how quickly the funds were deposited into the account without any additional documents or verification.
The Kabbage dashboard and analytical features were also often mentioned, as it is a very ‘slick’ platform that appeals to many small business owners. A Kabbage representative was active on both sites responding to concerns. The majority of the positive reviews are related to the:
- Quick and easy loan approval process.
- Excellent customer service.
- Clear and upfront terms and conditions.
Most of the negative Kabbage reviews stem from the fact that its loan structure is difficult to comprehend. The fact that people pay off so much of the loan early makes it very expensive for companies with limited capital. However, these rates are made clear at the outset of the loan. Most of the negative reviews come from SiteJabber. The majority of the negative reviews are related to the :
- High cost of the loan.
- Lack of understanding of the loan process.
- Limited options to extend loans in the event of business disruption.
Get funding with Kabbage (less than 10 minutes!)
How long will it take for money to get into my account?
The review process is very quick (often within 10 minutes). The line of credit can be made available to you within 48 hours in many instances. You can use up to the limit of your line of credit once you pay it back. If the line of credit is above $200,000, it will be subject to a manual review, which will slow down the process.
What happens in the case of a default?
Often, the loan amount accrues charges and after the acceptable time period has elapsed, your details are submitted to a collection agency. If the agency is unsuccessful, you might have to face an ensuing court case. This could ruin your credit rating and business standing.
Are there any hidden charges?
Kabbage has something of a unique business model, but it is 100% transparent. You pay back the principal and the interest on the principal, with higher rates of interest during the start of the loan. There are no additional fees or charges as it is a completely automated process.
Is my data safe when I use Kabbage?
Kabbage only has ‘read-only’ access to your bank account and software accounts such as PayPal and Quickbooks. They cannot withdraw or deposit funds. All data sent to Kabbage uses 128-bit encryption. Lending institutions are subject to strict regulations when it comes to data management.
How do I know if I qualify?
For smaller loans, the terms are simply $50,000 in revenue along with 12 months in business. An application through the Kabbage platform takes less than 10 minutes in many cases. You can go through the process to see if you qualify, and then decide to reject/accept the offer.
What is the difference between a line of credit and a term loan?
A loan is granted for a once-off use with a set repayment schedule. A business line of credit may or may not be used. If you have a $5,000 line of credit, you may only wish to use $1,000 of it. You cannot owe more than $5,000. But you can use the line of credit similar to a term loan by taking out the full amount straight away and paying it off monthly. For more information on the business line of credit, click here.
What is the minimum loan I can take out?
For a 6 month loan, the minimum is $500. For a 12 month loan, the minimum is $10,000. And for an 18-month loan, the minimum is $20,000. The fee structure is largely the same, though it works out a little cheaper for 18-month loans.
If you want money quickly with no hassle or just want a line of credit in the event of emergency, then Kabbage is the place to go. The application process is lightning fast and you will know exactly what you will be paying back, as long as you take the time to actually look at the figures before accepting the loan (many businesses fail to do this).
However, bear in mind that it is a very expensive means of finance and it is ‘frontloaded’. This means that you will pay off a larger proportion of the line of credit in the early months of the repayment schedule.
Once you understand this, you will not be surprised by any hidden charges and can make good use of the Kabbage line of credit and the additional functions supplied through the Kabbage lending platform. If you pay on time and understand the interest rate schedule, you will love the Kabbage platform.