LoanBuilder Review: Is LoanBuilder A Good Lender?

By Daniel Lewis
Advertiser disclosure

LoanBuilder is a loan service offered by PayPal, a well-known online payment processor. It’s a direct lender, not a loan marketplace like Lending Club. Technically, the loan is facilitated by Swift Financial, a company that PayPal took over in 2017. The terms “PayPal Business Loan” and “LoanBuilder” are used interchangeably and refer to the same product. 

PayPal LoanBuilder is designed to provide loans to small and medium-sized businesses. The loan offerings fit neatly into its existing payment infrastructure. It offers similar terms and conditions than numerous other online lenders, but it’s a little bit clearer, a little bit quicker, and a little bit easier to qualify for. This is what makes it stand out from even the best online lenders.

LoanBuilder is mainly geared towards small business enterprises and is undercutting a competitive market. However, it only offers short term loans with predetermined rates – there are not many financial options available for businesses looking outside of the narrow range offered by PayPal LoanBuilder.

Editor’s Note: LoanBuilder has lower eligibility requirements than practically any other online loan provider. It’s perfect for businesses looking for a short-term loan (generally less than one year) It also has a transparent fee model, something that is rarely seen in the short-term lending market which is notorious for hidden charges.

Highlights

requirments_icon1Loan Amount
$5,000 – $500,000

Terms
Up To 12 Months

Funds received
Next Business Day

Pros

  • Very low borrower requirements
  • Moderate interest rates
  • Clear fee structure with no hidden charges
  • High loan of $500,000 available

Cons

  • Only offers short-term loans
  • Lien required on loans

Good for… Bad for…
Business owners look for a loan quickly and easily Those who want the option to pay off their loan early
Business owners just starting out Those who are looking for the lowest rates
Business owners with low annual revenue and weak credit history Those looking for longer-term lengths (above one year)
Business owners looking for a transparent pricing model Businesses looking for alternatives to the Line of Credit and Term Loan

LoanBuilder Homepage

Advantages

The primary advantages of LoanBuilder are its low eligibility requirements and quick turnaround times. It also offers higher maximums than other online lenders, at $500,000. The typical maximum is $250,000. LoanBuilder is a very easy loan to qualify for and it’s simple to understand how much you are paying. There are no hidden fees of any kind with LoanBuilder.

The transparent fee model with LoanBuilder is its biggest asset – the repayment terms are fixed upfront. The short-term lending market is notorious for hidden charges and cloudy repayment conditions. It is also ridden with low-quality lenders. LoanBuilder isn’t one of them and it’s easy to understand how much you’ll be paying before taking out the loan. They have a configuration tool on their website which allows borrowers to see how much they will be paying.

Most short-term loan providers deduct payments daily, which can be a hassle to handle. But PayPal takes payment on a weekly basis, which is more straightforward.

Disadvantages

There are not many disadvantages with the Loan Builder product – it is a simple solution for business owners looking for short term loans. However, it does have some pitfalls.

LoanBuilder has a fairly high minimum threshold, at $5,000. Many other online lenders let borrowers take out a minimum of $1,000. While there is no prepayment penalty, there is also no benefit to paying off your loan early. Fees are fixed upfront and you pay a set amount weekly. It does not offer a huge range of products and rates are not the lowest on the market.

LoanBuilder only offers short term loans between 13 – 52 weeks. It is designed solely for businesses that need working capital quickly to get things moving. It is not a long-term funding option. 

Aside from this, Loanbuilder is a very reputable lender with outstanding ratings.

Loan Features

LoanBuilder only offers a short-term loan, up to $500,000. As it only offers a single product, it is easy to understand and to know what the provider is all about. You choose the day of the week that the payment will be deducted from your account – this day cannot be changed afterward. The loan details are described in the table below.

Loan Type Short Term Loan
Term Length 3 – 12 Month
Repayment Period Weekly
APR Range 24% – 49% (6% – 19% fixed)
Min-Max Amount $5,000 – $500,000

Fees, Rates, and Penalties

The fees and penalties associated with LoanBuilder are straightforward and simple to understand. Aside from a $20 returned payment fee, the interest rates are between 6 – 19% upfront of the total loan amount. While the fees are steep, borrowers like transparency above all else – they know exactly what they are getting into before they take out the loan. 

Loan Type Term Loan
Origination Fees No
Prepayment Fees No
Late Payment Fees Yes
Maintenance Fees No
Interest Rate High (6 – 19%)
Additional Charges $20 return payment fee.

Estimated APR

APR with this short term lender can vary wildly. This is because when customers fail to make repayments, the total APR can balloon out of control.

The estimated APR can range between 12% – 136%. A more accurate and typical estimate might be in the range of 24% – 49% APR, with a 6% – 19% fixed interest. There are late payment penalties ($20) in addition to the fixed interest rate. There are no prepayment penalties, but also no benefit to paying off the loan early, as you will be making a fixed payment from the outset.

People who default on their loans can arbitrarily bring up the total APR rate, which may not be indicative of the average for reliable business owners. The short term loan industry is not just known for the poor quality of lenders. There are plenty of unreliable borrowers who give the industry a bad name due to the thought of an easy and fast loan. 

Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility requirements for LoanBuilder are among the lowest in the short-term lending market. In comparison to other lenders, LoanBuilder requirements are a little less stringent, as if designed specifically to undercut its competitors.

There are some other providers that do not have a credit score minimum, which might be a factor for businesses that are just starting out. However, most other online lenders require at least 12 months in business with a minimum of $50,000 – $100,000 in annual revenue to qualify. Aside from the criteria below, you will need to be located in one of 50 US states as well as Washington DC. Personal bankruptcy can also disqualify you from a loan with this product.

You also need to have a UCC 1 filing, which is typically filed with the Secretary of State. This is standard and nothing to cause alarm. But it means that the lenders can go after your personal property if you fail to repay the loan. This is handled by Loanbuilder and you don’t have to do anything except file a loan application with them.

Criteria Condition
Minimum Credit Score 550
Minimum Annual Revenue $42,000
Minimum Time in Business 9 Months
Minimum Loan Amount $5,000
Collateral/Lien UCC 1 Filing

Average Borrowers With LoanBuilder

There is no online data available for borrowers with PayPal LoanBuilder. This is because they are a new service, unlike Lending Club or OnDeck, who will have tonnes of data available. However, typical borrowers will meet minimum credit requirements:

  • 9 months in business
  • Looking for short-term loans only
  • Looking for an immediate loan with no frills attached

The LoanBuilder Application Process

Loanbuilder only provides the short-term loan, so there are no confusing array of options. There is only one choice and a smooth process for qualifying. Like most online lenders, the LoanBuilder application process is very quick and streamlined. It only takes 5 – 10 minutes to fill out this basic questionnaire.

However, it is not quite as streamlined as some of its elite competitors. The approval times can vary from 24 – 72 hours, as opposed to 10 minutes boasted by some other lenders. But waiting a few days for funding should not be such a deal-breaker for most people serious about expanding their business. Funding is provided within 24 hours upon approval.

To proceed through the application process, clients will simply need to fill out a basic questionnaire and supply the required documents (minimal). It is not an automated process but requires manual review. However, applications above $250,000 must call directly to apply.

Get funding with LoanBuilder

What Happens After The Application?

After you have completed the application process, PayPal will let you know whether or not you qualify. This is similar to other lenders, known as the ‘Pre-Qualification Process’. You then receive a customizable offer with a range. Depending on how much you want to borrow and for how long, the rates and requirements will change.

Once you have made a decision, then it’s time for the process of filling out the full application. With a bank, this could be quite an onerous process, but PayPal LoanBuilder makes it remarkably easy (or, at least, as easy as it can be). 

You will have to submit bank statements and personal identity documents. A hard check will be pulled on your credit history, which will have a minor effect on your credit history. Prior to approval, you will be asked for your electronic signature. With LoanBuilder, you are not required to connect personal accounting software.

PayPal LoanBuilder is lightning fast. If approved, funds will be in your account by the next business day, provided you get your application in by 5 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. If you are declined, they will let you know immediately.

Transparency

As part of the wider PayPal umbrella, LoanBuilder is about as transparent and reputable as it gets. PayPal has been around since 1998 when it was branded as ‘Confinity’. It has come a long way since its original mission to create a global payment mechanism independent of governments and cartels. It is now very much public and transparent.

The fees are clearly disclosed at the outset of the loan. You won’t be hit with any hidden charges with PayPal. The fees are between 6 – 19% upfront of the total loan amount, without any other fees. This makes it perfect for the short-term lending market, which is notorious for hidden charges.

The transparency of its fee structure is one of its greatest strengths. In fact, having transparent pricing is one of the biggest strengths of any kind of lending model. Nothing will frustrate a customer more than paying more than was initially expected.

No data is transmitted to third-parties and industry-standard encryption is used on all communications.

Swift Financial LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PayPal, Inc. The loans themselves are generated by WebBank. WebBank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation(‘FDIC’). This means that investors are protected up to $250,000 on their deposits.

To clear up any confusion about how loans are legally facilitated – every loan is generated by a bank, in this case, WebBank. Swift Financial processes the loan itself, as a subsidiary of PayPal. The loan processor needs a bank to generate the loan, so it can then be legally given to an applicant. WebBank is the ‘Lender’ in legal terms, while Swift Financial would be the ‘Processor’. The customer would be referred to as the ‘Applicant’.

Swift Financial LLC has no affiliation with Swift Financial Services Inc, which is a completely separate legal entity.

Customer Service

Even before the acquisition of Swift Financial by PayPal in 2017, the company was well recommended for its high standard of customer care (which could have been one of the reasons that PayPal decided to acquire it). This standard has been maintained and even improved.

Unlike many online lenders, it is easy to get in touch with a representative over the phone for a smooth customer experience. Fewer and fewer companies are providing high-quality phone service for customers in the era of digital automation and AI. The customer service associated with the PayPal Loanbuilder product is outstanding according to genuine reviews and testimonials, as well as prior expertise demonstrated by Swift Financial LLC.

Its customer service is why it is possibly the best short-term lender on the market right now. It brings transparency and a high standard of care to an industry that has historically been bereft of both.

Best For…

Loanbuilder is the perfect solution for businesses looking for a short-term loan with clear terms and conditions. Seasonal businesses with a high-risk high reward model could do well with LoanBuilder. Small businesses that struggle with cash flow might find it ideal.

Businesses that want capital quickly without dealing with problematic hidden charges would love LoanBuilder. Businesses looking or a cheaper, long-term option will not have any options.

Not Suited For…

Paypal Loanbuilder is not suited for businesses looking for a medium or long term loan. They only provide loans for 9 – 12 months with a weekly repayment basis. Short term loans have higher APR rates and more frequent repayment schedules. Those looking for the lowest rates will need to look elsewhere.

Additional Features

There are not all that many additional features associated with LoanBuilder, as it is such a simple product. However, you can still use the following features:

  • The LoanBuilder Configuration Tool, to help you understand what you will be paying. You can adjust your term length to see how it will affect the interest rate before accepting the loan.
  • The PayPal Working Capital Loan, if you use PayPal to process payments for your business.
  • The PayPal Suite of payment processing tools including invoicing, loans, analytical tools, and more.

Positive Reviews

LoanBuilder has an outstanding rating on TrustPilot of 9.6. Independently of LoanBuilder, Paypal is rated ‘A’ with the Better Business Bureau (‘BBB’). Swift Financial is not rated with the BBB.

The positive reviews of Loanbuilder (i.e Swift Financial) on TrustPilot are almost entirely related to the quick and easy approval process with no strings attached. The main advantages cited are:

  • Fantastic customer service
  • Quick, easy, painless application process
  • Transparent terms and conditions
Review about Loanbuilder by James - Source Trustpilot

Review about Loanbuilder by James – Source: Trustpilot

Negative Reviews

You won’t find many negative reviews of Loanbuilder (i.e Swift Financial). Its reputation is exceptional in the short-term lending industry, and it stands head and shoulder above the rest in this regard.

You may find negative reviews of PayPal and its payment processing services, which are not associated with LoanBuilder. These are in relation to payment processing facilities, not loan services. LoanBuilder is a unique service and Swift Financial has an excellent track record. Applicants have little to worry about, once they can meet their payments on time.

How is PayPal LoanBuilder Helping Customers Amidst COVID-19?

PayPal LoanBuilder has come under criticism from some quarters in relation to COVID-19. This is largely due to the nature of its business. It caters to small business owners looking for short term cash to get boosted. These are the people who are worst hit due to COVID, unable to withstand the pressure due to short term liquidity issues.

Unlike many other online lenders, Loanbuilder does not seem to have a comprehensive list of resources available. They provided the PPP program when it was available. According to Trustpilot reviews, the PayPal Loanbuilder program was unacceptable during the months of April, May, and June in 2020. There are many reports that indicate a lack of communication and many failed applications.

However, this was only for a particular period during which there was considerable confusion at the Federal level in regard to this program, which ran out of funds for over 2 weeks. July and August reviews turned positive and it currently has a 91% rating, down from 98% after the COVID PPP complaints which were largely out of their control.

They even went as far as to automatically suspend loan repayments, to the benefit of many small business owners. According to an August 24th Swift financial review:

“Loanbuilder by Paypal was a fairly easy program once we ironed out the APR, Loan builder came through with the cash and I came through with the payments THEN COVID hit!!! It was horrible and I was very worried about paying my debts BUT Loanbuilder jumped in and automatically suspended the weekly payments and I didn’t even ask or have to reach out. VERY progressive for an institution to step up like that, I was very, very impressed! Beyond satisfied, very happy with the end result.”

Why LoanBuilder Beats Banks

For one thing, you know if you get declined immediately. Unlike an SBA loan with a bank, you don’t have to wait around 90 days for a rejection. And you don’t have to chase down accountants and lawyers to get all of the required documentation.

PayPal Loanbuilder offers among the lowest eligibility criteria found between online lenders. In other words, it crushes banks in terms of the minimum requirements. Practically anybody can apply, even with a low credit score and only 9 months in business.

LoanBuilder is 100% transparent. You know exactly what you will be getting into with the terms and conditions. Customer support is fantastic and user reviews are quite high. In other words, LoanBuilder beats banks across all departments. There is a single fixed fee with no origination charges, which is a huge advantage in comparison.

LoanBuilder FAQs

How do I know if I qualify?

Just fill out the questionnaire and you will see what terms and conditions you qualify for.

What is the minimum loan I can take out?

The minimum loan you can take out with Loanbuilder is $5,000. This is higher than many other short-term lenders.

Are there any hidden charges?

There are no hidden fees with LoanBuilder whatsoever. You pay a disclosed fee between 6 – 19% upfront with this provider. Aside from a $20 payment returned fee, that’s it. Late payment penalties are not a hidden charge. They are a condition on which you are taking out the loan.

How long will it take for money to get into my account?

Funds can be in your account within 24 hours, depending on when you get your documentation in (if documents are submitted by 5P EST, it should be in your account within the next business day). The funds are deposited into your PayPal business account.

What documentation will be required?

This depends on your unique business after you have made the application. In many cases, all you will need are 4 months of recent bank statements. Your personally assigned advisor will talk you through this process – according to the reviews, these advisors are very responsive and helpful.

What happens in the case of a default?

You are protected up to $250,000 by the FDIC. PayPal is very unlikely to default as a huge multinational payments provider, and Swift Financial has a lot of capital backing it up. If you default, the situation is much more serious – The company could instigate legal proceedings or claim your assets based on the lien/guarantee. And late payments/defaults will really crush a credit rating faster than anything else.

Will the UCC-1 Lien affect my business standing?

The existence of a UCC-1 filing will not affect your credit score unless you fail to make a payment on your credit obligations. An existing UCC-1 can affect your chances of obtaining further finance, but you can request your lender to delete it after the loan is repaid without any hassle. In any case, it is never a good idea to take out multiple forms of short-term credit at the same time.

Is LoanderBuilder the Same as the PayPal Working Capital loan?

No, these are two completely separate products with distinct terms and conditions. The PayPal working capital loan is only for businesses that conduct their sales and payment operations through PayPal.

Summary

PayPal Loanbuilder is one of the easiest and most straightforward online providers to do business with. They offer short term loans with clear (but steep) repayment terms. The customer service is exceptional and few (if any) businesses run into any problems.

Once you look over the terms and conditions and understand them, then you are most likely good to go and the eligibility requirements are very easy to satisfy.

Get funding with LoanBuilder

Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis is an MBA accredited investment professional who wants to assist small business owners to gain access to finance. After going through many channels for funding, Lewis has found that getting the first loan right is vitally important for future success.