These days, business owners can access funding through small business loans via effortless applications. This is more attractive because it seems to eliminate the bureaucracies that come with traditional lenders and financial institutions.
This online lending option has proved to be a safety net for small business owners over the years. However, fraudulent individuals have taken advantage of this to prey on unsuspecting business newbies at the slightest opportunity. If you do it right and double-check what you’re signing, online financing can be easy and helpful for you.
How to recognize the safe online lenders
If you are looking to get small business loans from an online lender, you need to mark a basic checklist. Before you submit any information, you need to confirm if they have a physical address. More so, you have to be sure your prospective online lender has measures in place to protect your information or data.
Here are some attributes to check when getting a business loan from online lenders.
Solid security protocols and tight encryption
Online lenders protect their client’s information from hackers, they use the highest encryption level to protect their website. Most of them use the Transport Layer Security protocol.
One way to know if the website of an online lender is safe is by checking its URL. If the address starts with “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS,” it is not secure. The “s” means the website is secure. Another way to be sure is to check if the website has a security certificate from security companies.
Run a background check
You can conduct a website background check by using the WHOIS website. You can know the website’s launch date and its owner. If the website is quite new, you have to tread cautiously and conduct further investigation to ensure you are not walking into the wrong hands.
Check online for reviews
It is easy to know if a business is legit by typing its name on any search engine and using the “reviews” or “feedback” keyword. If you are considering an online lender, type the name on Google and search for what people are saying about it. This way, you can know if you are patronizing the right service or not.
How to detect a fraudulent online lender
If you need an urgent loan and traditional financial institutions are not forthcoming, an online lender can be a fast option. But you must be careful to spot online loan scams.
Here are some features to check
They request upfront payment
Fraudulent individuals or organizations, who are not even remotely related to lending, will request you to make an advance payment while applying. Once you pay, they disappear, and you won’t hear from them again. A reputable lender will not request money upfront. If it happens, don’t transact with them.
Little information about them online
Fraudulent lenders don’t have a track record online. If they do, it would be bad reviews of people they have swindled before. Always watch out for information like their physical address and other details online.
They contact you first
Reputable online lenders cannot personally contact you with a loan offer, except you reach out to them, fill an application, and get approved first. You will also observe that they are pushy and aggressive if they notice you are reluctant to do business with them. It would be best to look elsewhere if you notice this.
All things considered
Small business loans are a good source of funding, but you have to be careful if you are considering the online option. The last thing you need is to fall into the hands of fraudulent lenders and losing money in the process. With the steps listed in this article, you can check for yourself if an online lender is safe or not.