Want to know more about Fundera?

Get Started

What Are the Current SBA Loan Rates?

Editor's note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone.

Current SBA Loan Rates for 2020: Everything You Need to Know

SBA loan rates are some of the most affordable in the industry—which is why these business loans are one of the best financing products available for small businesses. The partial government guarantee that SBA loans come with mitigates much of the risk that lenders take on when providing these loans. And because of this mitigated risk, SBA lenders can provide funding with lower interest rates. Plus, the SBA dictates the maximum rates lenders are permitted to attach to an SBA loan.

Here are the current SBA loan rates for their main lending programs, assuming a 3.25% market prime rate (effective March 16, 2020):

  • SBA 7(a) Loan Rates: 6% to 8%
  • SBA CDC/504 Loan Rates: 3.63% to 6.112%
  • SBA Microloan Rates: 6.5% to 13%

Ultimately, the SBA loan rates will depend on which SBA loan program you’re borrowing through, how much you end up borrowing, and the repayment term length you qualify for.

In this guide, we’ll explain how SBA loan rates work, based on each of the most popular SBA programs. We’ll also review how to qualify for the best rates possible and answer some frequently asked questions about SBA loans.

Let’s get started.

SBA Loan Rates Summarized

As we’ll discuss in greater detail below, SBA loan rates depend on a handful of factors, including the specific loan program, the loan amount, and the repayment terms. It’s also important to note that whereas the 7(a) loan rates, for example, comprise the prime rate plus a certain percentage, not all SBA loan rates are made in the same way—ultimately, the way each individual SBA loan program works dictates how their corresponding rates are calculated.

This being said, the following table summarizes what you can expect to see with regard to different SBA loan rates:

Type of SBA LoanLoan AmountRepayment TermSBA Loan Rate
SBA 7(a) LoanUnder $25,000Over 7 yearsPrime rate + 4.75%
SBA 7(a) LoanBetween $25,000 and $50,000Over 7 yearsPrime rate + 3.75%
SBA 7(a) LoanOver $50,000Over 7 yearsPrime rate + 2.75%
SBA 7(a) LoanUnder $25,000Under 7 yearsPrime rate + 4.25%
SBA 7(a) LoanBetween $25,000 and $50,000Under 7 yearsPrime rate + 3.25%
SBA 7(a) LoanOver $50,000Under 7 yearsPrime rate + 2.25%
SBA Express LoanUp to $350,000Up to 7 yearsPrime rate + 4.5% to 6.5%
SBA 504/CDC Loan (CDC portion)Up to $5.5 million10 years5-year Treasury rate + 2% to 4.322% in fees
SBA 504/CDC Loan (CDC portion)Up to $5.5 million20 or 25 years10-year Treasury rate + 2% to 4.322% in fees
SBA MicroloanLess than or equal to $10,000Up to 6 yearsCost of funds + 8.50%
SBA MicroloanOver $10,000Up to 6 yearsCost of funds + 7.75%
See What SBA Loan Rates You Qualify For

SBA Loan Rates for the 7(a) Loan Program

Keeping this overview in mind, let’s begin breaking down the SBA loan rates based on each individual program.

We’ll start with the SBA 7(a) loan program, the SBA’s primary program for assisting small businesses. These loans offer flexible terms and a wide range of acceptable use cases. 7(a) loans are the catch-all SBA loan that can service nearly any kind of small business for just about every reason—which means that it’s probably one of the first loan options you’ll want to consider.

Let’s discuss how the rates on SBA 7(a) loans work, and then we’ll highlight additional information you should know about this program.

Current SBA 7(a) Loan Interest Rates

The SBA lender—in other words, the bank that’s actually funding the loan—and the small business applicant negotiate the actual interest rate for a 7(a) loan. However, the SBA sets maximum interest rates, and lenders can’t charge more than those designated rates.

As you’ll see, your SBA loan rate for the 7(a) loan will depend on the current U.S. prime rate. The prime rate is a market rate that goes up or down based on how the U.S. economy is doing. Banks use the prime rate as a benchmark for setting rates on consumer and commercial loans. As of March 16, 2020, the prime rate is 3.25%.

Therefore, this means that maximum SBA loan rates for the 7(a) program currently range from 6% to 8%. Your lender might charge a lower rate than this, however, if you have excellent credit and business financials. Nevertheless, to participate in the SBA 7(a) loan program, your SBA lender can’t currently charge more than 8%.

Along these lines, it’s also important to note that although a lender can never charge more than the SBA-designated maximums, SBA loan rates can be fixed or variable.

If the interest rate is fixed, that means your monthly payment stays exactly the same during the entire term of the loan. Lenders typically charge fixed rates on large business loans.

On the other hand, if the interest rate is variable, the rate can go up or down based on how the U.S. economy is performing and how high interest rates are on other types of loans. A variable interest will be pegged to the prime rate or other benchmark rates. Loans under $50,000 tend to have variable interest rates so that they are more profitable for the lender.

All of this being said, along with the prime rate, the maximum SBA loan rates for the 7(a) program depend on the loan term and size:

Repayment term over seven years:

  • Loans under $25,000: Prime rate + 4.75%
  • Loans between $25,000 and $50,000: Prime rate + 3.75%
  • Loans over $50,000: Prime rate + 2.75%
Repayment term under seven years:

  • Loans under $25,000: Prime rate + 4.25%
  • Loans between $25,000 and $50,000: Prime rate + 3.25%
  • Loans over $50,000: Prime rate + 2.25%

SBA 7(a) Loan Fees

The rates above do not account for fees that the SBA and lender might charge you. Those fees can increase the total annual cost, or annual percentage rate (APR), of your loan.

This being said, you’ll want to keep in mind that SBA loans have a guarantee fee based on the loan terms and amount. The lender initially pays the guarantee fee, but they usually pass that expense on to the borrower—that’s you—at closing.

The fees range from 2% of the guaranteed amount for loans of $150,000 and less, to 3.75% on any guaranteed amount over $1 million. For SBA loan terms of less than 12 months (which is very rare for SBA loans), lower guarantee fees will apply.

You should also remember that the lender might charge other fees too, such as application fees, credit check fees, appraisal fees, packaging fees, and closing fees. You’ll want to make sure to take these—along with SBA loan terms and amounts—into account when determining the total cost of your SBA 7(a) loan.

SBA 7(a) Loan Terms

Although the SBA and your lender will base the repayment term length for your loan on your ability to repay, the purpose of the loan, and the useful life of the assets you’re financing, there are maximum timelines for SBA 7(a) loan terms:

  • 25 years for real estate
  • 10 years for equipment
  • Seven years for working capital

As you can see, another benefit of SBA loans is the lengthy repayment terms that are associated with these products. Through the span of your SBA loan terms, you’ll repay with monthly payments of principal plus interest, like your standard term loan.

Moreover, it’s important to note that you’ll only face a prepayment penalty if your SBA 7(a) loan term is 15 years or more and you prepay during the first three years of the term—otherwise, there will be no prepayment penalty for paying your loan back early.

SBA 7(a) Loan Uses

SBA 7(a) loans go up to $5 million, with no minimum amount. The average SBA 7(a) loan amount in the 2019 fiscal year was $446,487.

As we mentioned before, the best part of an SBA 7(a) loan is the versatility. You can use these loans for any of the following reasons:

  • Purchase inventory, equipment, furniture, supplies, raw materials, land, buildings, fixtures, and more
  • Cover operational expenses
  • Meet your seasonal business needs
  • Cover the upfront costs of construction or other contract work
  • Set up, buy, expand, or begin operating a business
  • Refinance your current debt (in some situations)

SBA Express Loans Rates

Although we’ve been generally discussing the SBA 7(a) loan program as a whole, there are smaller subprograms within the overarching category of 7(a) loans.

One of these subprograms is the SBA Express Loan program. The Express Loan is for loan amounts up to $350,000. These loans have a faster, expedited application and approval process along with shorter terms. It’s worth noting that the interest rates on SBA Express Loans are higher than the rates on traditional 7(a) loans, with rates ranging from the prime rate + 4.5% to 6.5%.


SBA Loan Rates for the CDC/504 Loan Program

Now that we’ve explored the SBA loan rates, as well as the associated details, for the 7(a) loan program, let’s continue by looking at the CDC/504 loan program.

The SBA CDC/504 loan program is another of the most popular programs; however, it’s also one of the most complicated financing products out there.

Nevertheless, these loans offer the most ideal SBA loan terms, rates, and amounts. A CDC/504 loan helps small business owners finance major fixed asset purchases, such as equipment and commercial real estate.

Current CDC/504 SBA Loan Rates

The CDC/504 loan program is actually made up of two different loans. One comes from a bank, which funds about 50% of your financing, and the other comes from a nonprofit certified development corporation (CDC), which funds about 40% (the other 10% will come from you, as an SBA loan down payment).

Every month, the CDC submits closed loans to the SBA, which pools all the loans together and sells them to investors. The investors provide the capital that actually funds the loans.

This being said, the rates on the CDC portion of the loan are subject to SBA rules. Under those rules, the interest rates on the CDC loan are based on the current rate for five-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds. To calculate those rates, you must add a spread for investor returns, as well as fees that the CDC and SBA charge.

The calculations for these markups can get complicated, so a good shortcut is to take current U.S. Treasury bill rates and add a spread of 1.5% to 5.125% (which covers various CDC and SBA fees) to get your approximate interest rate.

The rates on the CDC portion of SBA 504 loans are currently as follows:

  • 10-Year SBA Loan Term: five-year Treasury rate + 2% to 4.322% in fees
  • 20-Year and 25-Year SBA Loan Term: 10-year Treasury rate + 2% to 4.322% in fees

As of November 2019, the five-year Treasury rate is 1.63%, and the 10-year Treasury rate is 1.79%. This brings the current SBA CDC/504 loan rates between approximately 3.63% and 6.112%.

These are fixed rates, so your payment never changes for the entire length of the SBA loan term on the CDC portion of the loan.

You and the bank will negotiate interest rates on the bank portion of the loan. The SBA doesn’t have any say over these rates, although they usually fall under 10%.

SBA CDC/504 Loan Fees

Just like SBA 7(a) loans, 504/CDC loans also come with fees. Both the SBA and the CDC can charge fees. Here are the main fees to look out for:

  • Annual SBA fixed service fee – Currently 0.3205% ongoing
  • CDC servicing fee – 0.625% ongoing
  • Central servicing agent fee – No more than 0.1 % ongoing
  • Third-party lender participation fee – 0.5% one-time
  • Guarantee fee – 0.5% ongoing

Along with these fees, you can expect additional closing costs and fees from both the SBA, the CDC, and the bank (on the bank portion of the loan). You’ll want to make sure you understand all of these fees and determine how they contribute to the overall cost of your SBA loan.

SBA CDC/504 Loan Terms

Like the 7(a) program, the CDC/504 loan program matches their low-interest rates with an equally ideal loan term: You can expect to pay this financing back over the course of 10 to 25 years, on a monthly schedule.

SBA CDC/504 Loan Uses

As we mentioned above, CDC/504 loans are designed specifically to fund the purchase of fixed assets. This being said, you can use one of these SBA loans for any of the following growth initiatives:

  • Buying land, including buildings
  • Improving land, including making street improvements, adding utilities, building parking lots, or landscaping
  • Renovating, converting, modernizing, or building new structures for your business
  • Purchasing large, long-term equipment and machinery
  • Upgrading machinery and equipment

Compared to the 7(a) loan program, you can’t use your CDC/504 proceeds for nearly as many purposes—but the CDC/504 loans tend to have larger amounts, longer terms, and even lower interest rates.


SBA Loan Rates for the Microloan Program

The SBA microloan program usually provides smaller loan amounts than other programs. The program provides loans of up to $50,000 to help small businesses, startups, and not-for-profit childcare centers launch and expand. The average SBA microloan was $14,735 in the 2019 fiscal year.

To make the microloan program possible, the SBA loans money to nonprofit, community-based lenders (called intermediaries). The intermediaries then loan money to small business owners.

Current SBA Loan Rates for Microloans

With this in mind, the SBA takes a backseat on microloan interest rates compared to other loan programs. The SBA only limits the markup that intermediaries can charge over their own cost of funds to borrow money from the SBA.

Here are the interest rate limits on SBA microloans:

  • SBA microloans less than or equal to $10,000: Cost of funds + 8.5%
  • SBA microloans over $10,000: Cost of funds + 7.75%

Subject to these limits, you’ll negotiate your interest rate with the intermediary lender, with little involvement from the SBA. The SBA loan rates for microloans typically vary between 6.5% to 13%. The average SBA loan rate for microloans in the 2019 fiscal year was 7.5%.

This being said, the intermediary’s own cost of funds will go up or down based on a variety of macroeconomic factors and how the economy is doing. Your creditworthiness and business financials will also affect the interest rate on your SBA microloan.

SBA Microloan Fees

The SBA doesn’t charge any fees on microloans. However, intermediaries can charge application and origination fees up to 2% of the loan amount. They can also charge out-of-pocket closing costs, such as appraisal and credit check fees. Lenders can roll these fees into the loan, so the borrower can pay them over the course of the loan.

Like any of the loans we’ve discussed thus far, it’s important to understand what fees you’ll face with an SBA microloan and factor them into the total cost of your loan.

SBA Microloan Terms

Terms for the microloan program will depend on your loan amount, funding use, lender-specific requirements, and the particular needs of your small business. The maximum loan term for the SBA microloan program is six years.

SBA Microloan Uses

SBA microloan amounts range from as little as $500 to as much as $50,000. You can use these as working capital loans as well as to pay for inventory, supplies, furniture, equipment, and more.

This being said, however, you can’t use microloans to pay off your existing debts or to purchase real estate.


How to Apply for an SBA Loan

There you have it—a comprehensive overview of SBA loan rates for the three major programs, as well as pertinent information about how each program works.

With all of this in mind, you might be wondering what your next steps are: How do you apply for an SBA loan?

Ultimately, the SBA loan application process will be lengthy and time-consuming, requiring extensive documentation and financial information. To start the process, you’ll need to find an SBA lender to work with—and the lender you’ll need will vary based on the program you want to apply to.

SBA 7(a) loan program: There are hundreds of SBA 7(a) lenders. Your local bank probably participates in the program, and large national banks (Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo) all offer SBA loans. Your best bet is to find an SBA Preferred Lender (who has the authority to approve loans without input from the SBA) to speed up the application process.

SBA CDC/504 loan program: The first step to apply for a CDC/504 loan is to find a certified development company (CDC) near you. CDCs are nonprofit, community-based lenders, and there are more than 270 nationwide. The SBA has a CDC finder to help you locate a CDC near you.

SBA microloan program: These loans are available through certain nonprofit, community-based organizations that are experienced in lending and business management assistance. The SBA has an intermediary search tool to help you locate a microlender near you.

Apply for an SBA Loan

How to Qualify for the Best SBA Loan Rates

Once you’ve found an appropriate lender for the SBA program you want to apply to, you’ll work with that entity to gather and submit your application. If you’re fortunate enough to qualify for an SBA loan, you’ll know that you are already getting some of the best interest rates and terms that business lenders have to offer.

However, within the ranges set by the SBA (as we discussed above), your creditworthiness, business financials, and other factors will influence your ultimate interest rate.

Here are three things you’ll need to score the lowest possible interest rate on an SBA loan.

1. High Credit Scores

Credit scores measure how “reliable” you are as a borrower—or, in other words, how likely you are to pay back the debts you take on. Many factors go into figuring out your credit score—like your debt obligations, history of late payments, diversity of credit accounts, average age of accounts, and more—so that lenders can use the score as easy shorthand for your trustworthiness.

In addition, the SBA is spending tax dollars to guarantee loans, so they hold the small businesses receiving SBA financing to a high standard. Although there’s no real SBA loan credit score minimum, you’ll get the best SBA loan rates if your credit score is above 700. You’ll want to check your personal and business credit score to get an idea of what SBA loan rates you could qualify for.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that for 7(a) loans, the SBA also takes a look at your FICO SBSS score, also known as your liquid credit score.

2. Strong Business Financials

Having a record of strong business revenue or achieving profitability will go a long way toward helping you qualify for SBA financing (and the best SBA loan rates). But, your business might not be at a revenue-producing stage yet.

If you’re still at the idea or concept stage, you might still be able to qualify for an SBA loan, but you’ll need to have a well-prepared business plan. All SBA loan applicants should put a business plan together, but this is especially important for owners of newer businesses.

Without a financial history, your business plan is one of the few pieces of information the lender has to evaluate your application. In your business plan, you should include revenue and profit projections.

3. Valuable Collateral

Although collateral isn’t essential for every SBA loan program, most SBA lenders require an adequate amount of collateral to protect their interests. Plus, offering up collateral will make you more eligible for lower SBA loan rates and longer terms.

Collateral can be a business asset like equipment, machinery, or inventory. Collateral can also be a personal asset like your car or personal bank account. Many business owners submit a mix of business and personal assets as collateral. The more collateral you have to support your loan, the lower the risk for the lender. Therefore, the lender will feel more comfortable loaning money to you and offering you a low-interest SBA loan rate.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the terms of an SBA loan?

Ultimately, the terms you receive on any SBA loan will depend on the lender you work with, the loan program you’re applying to, and your qualifications as an applicant.

This being said, however, the SBA does set certain limits on term amounts for each of their programs:

  • SBA 7(a) loans: Maximum of 25 years for real estate, 10 years for equipment, and seven years for working capital
    • SBA Express loans: Seven years for lines of credit, 25 years for real estate, five to 10 years otherwise
  • SBA 504/CDC loans: 10 years for purchasing machinery or equipment, 20 or 25 years if you’re purchasing or converting land or buildings
  • SBA microloans: Maximum of six years

How much down payment is required for an SBA loan?

Not all SBA loans require a down payment—and for the ones that do, the down payment will vary based on the type of loan, the amount of the loan, the lender you’re working with, and how you plan to use your funds.

This being said, you’ll typically need a down payment for SBA loans within the 7(a) program and the CDC/504 program. For the microloan, CAPLines, Export loan, and Disaster loan programs, you usually will not need a down payment.

If you’re applying for an SBA 7(a) loan, you’ll be required to submit a down payment equivalent to at least 10% of the total amount you’re borrowing. Your lender, however, may require an even higher down payment. Additionally, according to the SBA rules for 7(a) loans, a down payment is only required if the business is a startup or if the business is using the funds for an acquisition. Nevertheless, most lenders require the down payment for other uses and businesses as well.

For the CDC/504 program, on the other hand, a down payment is built into the way the program works. You’ll be required to submit a 10% down payment on the total amount of the loan to complete the funding—adding this payment onto the 50% bank portion and 40% CDC portion.


Why are SBA loan rates so low?

You may find yourself asking: Why are SBA loan rates so low?

Although we briefly explained the answer within this guide, let’s discuss in greater detail.

In essence, all of the advantages of SBA loans come from the mitigated risk that the partial government guarantee allows for.

What do we mean by that?

Well, when a bank issues an SBA loan, the bank gets a promise from the SBA—if the borrower defaults, the SBA will step in to cover most of the bank’s losses. (That said, the borrower remains on the hook for the full amount due.)

Ordinarily, lenders view small business owners as “risky” borrowers. Half of small businesses fail within five years, and it’s hard to gauge a specific business’s likelihood of success, even with a promising business plan or a history of strong revenue. The government guarantee gives lenders an incentive to loan money to more small businesses.

In addition to making business loans more accessible, and as we’ve discussed, the SBA regulates some of the loan terms on these guaranteed business loans. Because the SBA sets maximum interest rates and minimum loan term lengths on many of the loans—and because the lender has a greater incentive to lend—business owners have access to one of the most affordable financing products on the market.



SBA Loan Rates: The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the SBA loan program offers a variety of low-rate, long-term business loans.

Although the SBA loan rates you’ll receive will depend on the loan program, loan terms, loan amount, lender, among other factors related to your qualifications, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the SBA has some control over what your interest rate will look like.

Additionally, compared to many other business financing products, you’ll find that SBA loans have the most reasonable rates and terms.

This being said, however, since these loans are so competitive, they’re not the easiest to qualify for. You’ll need strong credit, impressive business financials, as well as the ability to meet a handful of additional SBA loan requirements to qualify. Plus, you’ll need the patience and dedication to go through the often tedious application process.

On the other hand, if you don’t think you can qualify for an SBA loan right now, you still have plenty of alternative loan options to explore to find the right financing for your business.

Check Your Business Loan Options