Unlock your online business growth with eCommerce funding

We do business loans without all the hassle. If you're approved, just link your bank account and get going in minutes.

  • Apply in minutes
  • Repay early with no fees
  • From 1 day to 24 months
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Loved by over 90,000+ small businesses since 2012

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With iwoca's reasonable rates and amazing staff, we were able to quickly obtain a loan to purchase equipment before our grand opening

Cecilia Downer

How to get a loan for your ecommerce business

  1. Apply in minutes

    It takes five minutes from start to finish. We're designed with small businesses in mind, so we'll just need the basics about your business to make a decision.

  2. Use your funds

    We'll approve you based on your business performance. You then transfer as much as you need to your bank account, and the funds will typically be in your account in hours.

  3. Repay or top up

    We don't charge early repayment fees: we only charge interest for the days you have the money. If you need more funds, applying for a top up is easy. As your business grows your credit limit will too.

Fund your future with a business loan

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Frequently asked questions

Here are some questions you could ask yourself about how small business loans work. If there’s anything we haven’t covered here, check our FAQ

What are the criteria to apply to a small business loan?

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We're happy to consider a wide range of businesses ranging from new startups to established companies. However you must have a UK-based business and operate as a limited company or a partnership. Startup businesses are limited to a maximum credit limit of £10,000.

How long do I have to repay?

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Our maximum term is for up to 24 months but you can always repay early if you don't need the funding for that long. We only charge interest for each day you have the funding so making early repayments is a great way to reduce the total amount of interest you will pay.

If I apply to a small business loan, are there any commitments to take the funds?

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No. It’s free to get a quote - you only choose whether to go ahead once you have received an offer. Even then you if you want to repay early you can with extra fee, you'll only pay interest for the time you have the funds.

Can I take a new loan once my first loan has finished?

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Of course. We will renew your offer once your loan has ended, assuming your circumstances have not changed. If your business has grown we may even be able to increase your credit limit or reduce your interest rate. Then it’s just a matter of logging in to your account to withdraw the funds.

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What is ecommerce funding? 

Ecommerce is booming but access to capital can be challenging for online businesses, especially when they’re in the start-up phase and face stiff competition. Businesses need money for marketing, staff, inventory and other day-to-day needs. Lack of capital is a not only barrier to growth, it’s also one of the reasons many businesses fail in their first five years. This is where ecommerce funding can make all the difference.

Ecommerce funding provides online retailers with finance to survive in their early stages and then grow. Funds are available from a wide range of sources, not just traditional lenders such as banks. Each funding option will have advantages and disadvantages so businesses should research the marketplace to find what best meets their needs and stage of growth.

What are the different ecommerce funding options in the UK?

Ecommerce businesses in the UK can find a suitable finance option in one of the following funding categories:

  • Business loans: a business loan comprises the amount that you borrow and must pay back, known as the principal, and the interest that you must pay on top of the loan sum. Interest may be fixed or variable. Depending on the lender, additional fees may also apply, and loans can be secured or unsecured. There are many possibilities, so it’s important to compare different offers. If your business has a relatively steady income and has more trading history, you could try applying for a Flexi-Loan. Borrow up to £500,000 and repay over two years. If you want to repay early – we won’t charge you extra fees.
  • Business overdraft: a business overdraft gives you access to additional funds, up to an agreed amount, when your bank balance is no longer in credit. 
  • Business line of credit: a line of credit loan is when a lender provides funds, up to an agreed limit, that the borrower can use when and as needed. Flexibility and pay-as-you-go are the main advantages, as  borrowers can use the funds at their discretion and will owe interest only on the amount they withdraw, not the entire line of credit. This type of funding may suit ecommerce businesses with ongoing expenses such as buying stock.  
  • Business angel investors or venture capitalists who would provide funding to your business in exchange for an equity stake in the company.

If you’re a start-up ecommerce business, you’re likely to have high costs and limited revenue and will need ecommerce funding to get you off the ground. Find out about the many start-up funding options and see what’s best for your needs.

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Ecommerce business financing FAQs

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to business finance. Here are some of the common questions we get asked

How does ecommerce funding work?

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The repayment method will depend on the funding model that you choose – for example, debt or equity. You may have to pay back the borrowed amount over time with interest, or you may provide shares in your business. You may take out revenue based financing, and you may also be eligible for a grant.

What is an example of eCommerce finance?

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So you're wondering about eCommerce finance? It's actually pretty interesting. eCommerce finance refers to financial solutions specifically designed to help online businesses with their unique needs, like managing inventory, marketing, and scaling up operations.

An example of eCommerce finance is inventory financing, which can be a lifesaver for eCommerce businesses. Imagine you have an online store that sells handmade candles, and you've just landed a big wholesale order or expect a spike in sales during the holiday season. To meet the demand, you need to purchase a large amount of raw materials and increase your production. However, you don't have enough cash on hand to cover these upfront costs.

That's where inventory financing comes in. You can get a loan or a line of credit specifically designed to help you purchase the inventory you need. The inventory itself serves as collateral for the loan, which means you can access funds without putting up other assets as collateral or giving away equity in your business.

Once you receive the financing, you can purchase the necessary inventory, fulfill the orders, and then pay back the loan with the revenue generated from the sales. This type of financing can be very helpful for eCommerce businesses that need to manage their cash flow and scale up quickly to meet the demands of a growing customer base.

Keep in mind, though, that inventory financing may come with higher interest rates and fees compared to traditional small business loans, and it's essential to carefully evaluate the costs and benefits before jumping in. But if you find yourself needing a quick, flexible solution to finance inventory for your eCommerce business, it's definitely worth considering!

Which ecommerce business funding solution is right for you?

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The right choice really depends on your unique situation and what you need the funds for. Here's a quick overview of some popular funding solutions and when they might make sense for your business:

  1. Business loans: whether it's a small or a large business loan, if you need a lump sum of cash for a specific purpose, like expanding your product line or investing in new equipment, a business loan could be a good choice. It offers a fixed repayment schedule and interest rate, which can make budgeting easier. However, you'll need a solid credit history and financials to qualify for the best rates.
  2. Line of credit: If you want a flexible source of funds to manage cash flow or handle unexpected expenses, a line of credit might be your best bet. You can borrow as needed, up to a certain limit, and only pay interest on the amount you actually use. Keep in mind that you'll need a decent credit score and financial history to qualify.
  3. Inventory financing: If you need funds specifically to purchase inventory, inventory financing can be a great option, as I mentioned earlier. This can help you scale up your operations quickly and manage seasonal fluctuations in sales without putting too much strain on your cash flow.
  4. Revenue-based financing (RBF): If you have a strong revenue track record and are looking for a flexible, non-dilutive financing option, RBF could be a good fit. You'll pay back a percentage of your revenue until you hit a predetermined repayment cap, making it a more adaptable option as your business grows.
  5. Crowdfunding: If you have a loyal customer base or an innovative product idea, crowdfunding could be a way to raise funds by pre-selling your products or offering rewards to backers. This can be a great way to test market demand, build brand awareness, and raise capital without taking on debt or giving away equity.
  6. Venture capital or angel investors: If you're aiming for rapid growth and scale and are willing to give up some equity and control, you might consider raising funds from venture capitalists or angel investors. This type of funding is typically more suited to high-growth businesses with a compelling value proposition.

To decide which option is right for your eCommerce business, consider factors like your creditworthiness, financial history, growth potential, the specific purpose for the funds, and how much control you're willing to give up. You might even find that a combination of funding solutions works best for you

Ecommerce financing options

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Revenue-based finance: a revenue-based loan reflects your turnover. It provides capital in exchange for a percentage of your business’s future revenue and is an alternative to debt and equity-based funding, which makes it a popular choice for ecommerce start-ups. You can decide what percentage of your revenue you want to repay each month, so when sales dip or you’re feeling your way as a start-up, you can adjust the repayments and stay in control. 

Merchant cash advance: a merchant cash advance is a form of short-term funding to help businesses such as retailers and restaurants that take a high volume of card payments. You must pay the cash advance, as well as any fees, via a percentage of sales from your card payments. Merchant cash advances, like revenue based loans, can help to alleviate cash flow and support seasonal demands. 

Platform funding: an ecommerce platform enables a business to manage its online store end-to-end, providing a unified shopping experience. The business can access money directly from within the platform. Here are three financing options:

  • Shopify Capital enables Shopify sellers to gain access to business loans and merchant cash advances. Funding is by invitation only to sellers with an established record of sales through Shopify.
  • PayPal Working Capital loans are like merchant cash advances against PayPal sales. Capital is provided based on your business’s future revenue, which is determined by your PayPal sales history. Repayments are calculated as a percentage of your PayPal sales.
  • Amazon Lending is a short-term business loans programme for established Amazon sellers and brands to help them buy more inventory to sell through the Amazon marketplace. Similar to a merchant cash advance, Amazon Lending provides lump sums that are repaid through a percentages of Amazon sales.

Ecommerce business costs

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Here's a rundown of some common expenses you might come across:

  1. Website setup & maintenance: you'll need to set up and maintain your online store, which includes costs like domain registration, web hosting, and ecommerce platform fees. You might also need to pay for website design, development, and regular updates.
  2. Inventory & warehousing: if you're selling physical products, you'll have to buy and store inventory. This includes costs for raw materials or wholesale products, storage space, and warehouse management (if you're not using a dropshipping model).
  3. Shipping & fulfillment: you'll need to ship products to your customers, which means covering shipping fees, packaging materials, and possibly third-party fulfillment services if you decide to outsource this part of your business.
  4. Payment processing: to accept payments from customers, you'll need a payment gateway and a merchant account. These services usually charge transaction fees and sometimes monthly fees as well.
  5. Marketing & advertising: to drive traffic to your online store and grow your customer base, you'll need to invest in marketing and advertising. This can include costs for social media ads, search engine marketing, email marketing tools, and content creation.
  6. Software & tools: running an ecommerce business often requires using various software and tools for tasks like customer relationship management, email marketing, inventory management, and accounting. These tools often come with subscription fees.
  7. Taxes & licenses: depending on your location and business structure, you might have to pay taxes on your sales and income, as well as any required business licenses or permits.
  8. Customer support: providing excellent customer support is crucial for any ecommerce business. You might need to invest in customer support software, hire support staff, or outsource this function to a third-party service.
  9. Insurance: depending on the nature of your business, you may need insurance to protect against potential risks, like product liability, cyberattacks, or property damage.

The iwoca story

Over the past eleven years iwoca has grown from an ambitious fintech start-up to one of the fastest-growing and biggest business lenders in Europe. Now we're a team of around 400 in London, Leeds and Frankfurt working towards the goal of funding one million small businesses.

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Questions? We're here to help

Call us at 020 3397 3375 from Monday to Friday (9am - 6pm). We can take your business loan application over the phone, or answer your questions about applying online.

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