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Low-Doc Business Loans

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What is a low-doc business loan?

Low doc (low documentation) and no doc (no documentation) business loans allow small businesses and self-employed borrowers to access cash flow when they cannot provide the financial statements or supporting documentation required for traditional business loan approval.

They are often used by small businesses with a relatively short operating history. Owning a small business isn’t always easy, and having fast and simple access to business funds can make a massive difference.

  • Low-doc loans are used when you are unable to meet qualifying criteria for a standard business loan because you cannot provide business financial statements and tax returns for the past two years. But you can provide some documentation.
  • No-doc loans are used when you are unable to provide any evidence of your business income or supporting documents.

3 main benefits of low and no-doc business loans


Fast access to funding for small businesses


They don’t require security or extensive supporting documentation


Simplified application process — non-bank lenders will often allow you to apply online

How do low-doc business loans work?

In many ways low-doc and no-doc business loans are similar to traditional secured and unsecured business loans. The main difference is in the documents required as part of the application process.

In summary, low-doc and no-doc business loans in Australia:

  • Require limited supporting documents for approval
  • Can be accessed more easily from non-bank lenders
  • May have a factor rate applied instead of a percentage rate
  • Will have higher interest rates and fees than a standard business loan
  • Can be used for almost any business purpose

Depending on the business and its needs, other ways of sourcing credit quickly can include invoice finance, a business line of credit and a business overdraft.

Key features of low-doc business loans

Here's what's usually on offer with a low-doc business loan:

  • Borrow from $5,000 to $1 million
  • Fixed or variable interest rate
  • Repayments to suit your budget
  • Terms from one month to five years
  • Secured & unsecured options

Who is eligible for a low-doc business loan?

To qualify for a low-doc business loan you'll generally need to meet these criteria:


Own a business and have an ABN

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Business is GST-registered

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Australian citizen or permanent resident


Credit history meets the lender’s requirements

Self-employed (sole trader) business loans

Low-doc business loans are designed for business owners who have difficulty in meeting the standard bank approval criteria.

This is why they are incredibly popular with new businesses, small businesses, sole traders and self-employed individuals in Australia.

These kinds of borrowers benefit from the fast approval times offered by non-bank lenders. These lenders requires minimal paperwork and offer loans for a wide range of purposes.

Loc doc and no-doc business loan purposes

‘Working capital/smoothing over cashflow' is the most popular business loan purpose according to recent business lending data. But there are generally no restrictions on how you can use a low-doc or no-doc business loan. Common purposes include:

Best low-doc (sole trader) business loan rates

Interest rates on low-doc business loans will vary between lenders. The actual rate applied to your loan will be dependent on a number of factors, including:

  • The trading history of the business
  • The length of the loan term
  • The credit history of the business (rates will likely be higher if you need to apply for a bad credit business loan)
  • The value of any deposits or security — if any — used on the loan

As interest rates are assessed based on the level of risk the borrower represents for the lender, low-doc loans will have higher interest rates than standard business loans, and no-doc loans will have higher interest rates than low doc loans.

Factor rates on low and no doc business loans

Similar to unsecured business loans, low doc and no doc lenders may apply a factor rate to your loan instead of an interest rate.

A factor rate is expressed as a multiple of the loan (e.g. 1.2, in which case the loan amount would be multiplied by 1.2 to arrive at the total amount to be repaid).

If a factor rate is applied by the lender, the amount of interest you pay on a low doc business loan will be calculated based on the initial loan amount. In contrast, with a standard business loan interest is calculated based on the current balance which reduces over time.

How to qualify and apply for a low doc business loan

Applying for a low doc or no doc business loan is generally easiest through non-bank or specialist lenders. You may be asked to sign an income declaration, and you’ll still need to meet basic lender criteria and have:




A GST-registered business


Citizenship or permanent residency


A letter from your accountant


Business Activity Statements


Bank Account Statements

The most important aspect of your application is proving your ability to meet your repayment obligations.

Low doc business loans: Bank vs non-bank lenders

Applying for a low doc loan with your bank can be a time-consuming and stressful process. Fast approval without needing to provide endless amounts of supporting documents is the main reason businesses apply for loans with non-bank lenders.

If you do choose to apply with your bank, you’ll need to supply extensive documentation about your business, such as:

  • Your balance sheets for the past two or three years
  • Profit-and-loss statements for the past three financial years (provided by your accountant)
  • Business revenue projections for the next 24 months
  • A debtors and creditors report
  • Copies of any significant contracts or sales agreements your business may rely on for continued revenue
  • Your personal and business credit records
  • Details of any assets you wish to use as security on the loan — such as vehicles and property
  • A business plan, showing your understanding of the market and how your business will compete with other, similar businesses to maintain a profit
  • A detailed business case indicating how you will use the funds and how you plan to repay the loan

For the majority of self-employed individuals or small businesses, collating this much supporting documentation can be an arduous task. Even if you are able to provide this documentation, there is no guarantee you will be approved by your bank, and if you require fast access to finance, the length of the process may make applying a waste of time.

Business loan guides and resources

Learn more about your business finance options and how to get the funding you need to grow your business.

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FAQs about business lines of credit

Low doc (low documentation) and no doc (no documentation) business loans are used when an individual or business owner cannot provide sufficient paperwork or supporting documentation to qualify for a traditional business loan. The main difference between a low doc or no doc business loan and other loans is the required paperwork to qualify for approval.

Many lenders in Australia offer low doc business loans. You can apply through your bank, however a low doc or no doc business loan will be easier to apply for through non-bank or specialist lenders. You can even apply online.

Lenders may also advertise a factor rate instead of an interest rate, and will be fixed for the entire term of your loan. A factor rate is a fixed amount calculated upfront on the full balance you apply for when taking out your low doc business loan. Even if you decide to make extra payments on the loan balance during the term, the amount of interest you pay won’t change.

No, a low doc or no doc business loan is defined by the application process — i.e. limited documentation is required to grant approval. A low doc loan can be secured by an asset you or your business owns or unsecured (where no collateral is required). A secured low doc loan will generally come with a lower interest rate than an unsecured loan.

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Written by

Sean Callery

Sean Callery is the Editor of Money.com.au. He has over 15 years of international experience. He is qualified with a Certificate IV in Finance and Mortgage Broking (FNS40821) and is compliant to provide general advice in Tier 1 General Insurance (RG 146) products.

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Reviewed by

Shaun McGowan

Shaun McGowan is the founder of Money.com.au. He's determined to help people and businesses pay as little as possible for financial products, through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.


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