Help and support

Applying for business finance? It could be quicker than you think

Applying for business finance can feel daunting for SME owners. With businesses to run and limited resources, many could be worried that applying for finance will eat up time they simply don’t have.

Yet research company BDRC[1] has found that the vast majority of small businesses – some 75% – who have successfully applied for business finance get the money within just 14 days of applying. This means the whole process can take less than a fortnight from end-to-end – from application to money in the bank.

Almost all (94%) of those who successfully applied also said that the money they asked for was in their account plenty of time before they needed it, meaning they avoided unnecessary work-time stress.

Just to put that into context, here’s how that compares with other business processes:

  • It takes 4 weeks to register as an employer with HMRC[2]
  • It takes 30 – 45 days to process a tax refund[3]
  • It takes an average of 60 days for a business to be paid by a client[4]
  • It takes 3 months to register a trade mark[5]

In tough times, many small businesses live from week-to-week and being able to access bank cash quickly can have a really positive impact on their operations, helping them pay off bills and buy necessary equipment.

Banks are continually trying to improve the speed and efficiency of their services to make life easier for business customers, so it’s great to see so many saying that they got bank cash in time to meet their needs.

The other good news is that small businesses applying to banks are a lot more likely to get finance than they think, as seven in ten applications are approved. Right now across the country, banks are proactively getting in touch with small businesses to let them know that they qualify for a loan.

So if you’re thinking of applying, get started now. Your business could be set for growth in a matter of weeks.

Irene Graham, Executive Director of Business Finance at the BBA

Notes to Editors

[1] The SME Finance Monitor, published by BDRC, surveys over 20,000 firms from across the UK each year. The latest survey covers finance taken out in the period from Q3 2012 to Q4 2013
[2] HMRC (
[3] Source: Inland Revenue (
[4] Source: Experian research, January 2014
[5] Intellectual Property Office (