Business overdrafts can be a really useful way of accessing a working capital buffer when you need the cash quickly. For other businesses, they’re more like a safety net that is used rarely, but invaluable in times of need.
It has become harder to get traditional business overdrafts from the major banks, with many of them reducing or removing overdrafts currently offered to smaller businesses. This is particularly damaging to businesses with irregular income, such as firms in tourism, hospitality or retail, and can leave a significant gap in working capital levels.
Luckily, there are lots of alternatives to business overdrafts, which could help your business go after a new contract or smooth out cashflow bumps. Let's take a look at a few of the options.
Revolving credit facilities are very similar to overdrafts in practice. They're a consistent source of business funding with a pre-approved limit — like having a business loan that's ready to go at any time.
Just like overdrafts, you only pay for what you use, so you can dip into the funds when you need them. It's worth noting that revolving credit facilities will often have setup costs, though.
Other firms use business credit cards as a source of working capital finance. They work largely the same way as personal credit cards, but with business-specific features like expenses tracking and the ability to add multiple employees to the same account.
The main benefit is reduced admin for staff expenses, and the credit limits are usually higher for business credit cards too.
Merchant cash advances use your card machine to unlock funding. They advance cash against your future card sales, with flexible repayments and the ability to top up once a portion of the advance has been repaid.
The main advantage of merchant cash advances is speed — once they've been set up, it's often possible to draw down cash within a few hours.
If you've been considering business overdrafts but your bank won't offer you one, these are just a few of the alternatives.
Depending on your sector, you may be eligible for a variety of other working capital finance, including invoice finance if you offer trade credit to your customers, and trade finance if you're dealing with international buyers and suppliers.
We work with over 70 of the UK's best lenders, so we can help you find the option that suits your business best from across the whole market.