10 Different Types of Business Loans in India

In the dynamic business world, financial support is often essential for both startups and established enterprises. Businesses need additional funds to meet operational requirements, expand, or innovate. The nature and stage of a business—whether it is capital-intensive or at inception, growth, or maturity—determine its funding needs, with the most significant requirement typically occurring during initial stages and growth phases.

Business loans in India provide a vital avenue for securing necessary funds, offering benefits like tax advantages. This support is crucial for various business activities, from planning and staffing to daily operations and legal compliance.

This article explores the different types of business loans available in India, each designed to meet specific business needs. Understanding these options helps businesses make informed decisions to achieve their growth and sustainability goals.

Types of Business Loans in India:

1. Term Loans

A term loan is a traditional business financing method with repayment in regular installments over a specified period. These loans are categorized as short-term (up to 12 months), intermediate-term, and long-term (up to 5 years or more).

Term loans involve borrowing a set amount from a bank or financial institution, repaid with interest over the loan term. The repayment schedule, typically monthly, includes both principal and interest. Terms and rates depend on the business’s financial health and lender’s risk assessment.

Ideal for significant capital needs like expansion or large purchases, term loans provide a lump sum upfront and a clear repayment plan. In India, they are a common financing option for startups and established businesses, often requiring collateral but offering affordable interest rates due to their secured nature.

2. Letters of Credit

A Letter of Credit (LC) is a vital financial instrument in international trade, issued by banks to guarantee payment from a buyer to a seller. This guarantee mitigates risks in global transactions, providing assurance to sellers dealing with unknown buyers.

LCs are used for both imports and exports, ensuring smooth trade operations by promoting trust and reliability. They function like a credit line, with interest charged only on the amount used, making them ideal for managing cash flow. As a revolving credit, repaid amounts become available for future use, offering flexibility for businesses facing unpredictable income and expenses.

3. Overdraft 

An overdraft facility allows bank account holders to withdraw funds even when their balance is zero. Interest is charged daily on the utilized amount, and the credit limit depends on the account holder’s relationship with the bank, credit history, cash flows, and repayment history. This limit is reviewed annually and can be used flexibly if interest is paid on time. Overdrafts are often secured by collateral, such as fixed deposits.

Similar to cash credit, an overdraft is a short-term borrowing tool that helps businesses manage cash flow fluctuations. It serves as a safety net for covering short-term financial gaps, unexpected expenses, or delays in receivables, making it particularly beneficial for small to medium-sized enterprises.

4. Equipment Finance

Equipment finance, also known as a machinery loan, is a funding option that allows businesses to purchase new equipment or upgrade existing machinery. It is commonly used by large enterprises and those in the manufacturing sector. Borrowers can benefit from tax advantages, while the interest rate, loan amount, and repayment terms vary by lender.

In this financing arrangement, the lender provides funds for equipment purchase, with the equipment itself typically serving as collateral. This reduces the lender’s risk and can result in more favorable loan terms. Equipment finance is ideal for industries that require expensive equipment essential for operations but find outright purchases cost-prohibitive.

5. Factoring

Factoring is a financing method where businesses sell their accounts receivable (invoices) to a third party, known as a factor, at a discounted rate. Banks and financial institutions often act as factors, providing businesses with immediate funds equivalent to their invoice amounts. The factor then collects the outstanding payments from the customers. This arrangement improves cash flow and manages working capital by reducing the credit period.

Factoring is particularly beneficial for businesses that need to free up working capital tied to unpaid invoices and cannot wait for standard payment terms. It accelerates cash flow and shifts the responsibility of collecting receivables to the factor, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations without the burden of chasing payments.

6. Business Loan Against Property

A Business Loan against Property (BLAP) is a secured financing option where businesses pledge commercial or residential property as collateral to borrow funds. This type of loan typically offers lower interest rates and longer repayment terms due to the security provided.

Business Loans Against Property are well-suited for substantial business expansions, asset acquisitions, or debt consolidation, involving large fund requirements. Additionally, businesses can secure loans against other assets like stocks and bonds.

By leveraging the equity in owned property, businesses can access significant loan amounts at competitive interest rates. This strategic financing option is ideal for businesses seeking capital for major initiatives such as expanding operations, launching new projects, or consolidating debts. 

7. Unsecured Business Loans

An Unsecured Business Loan is a financing option that does not require collateral. Unlike secured loans, which are backed by assets, unsecured loans are granted based on the borrower’s creditworthiness, financial strength, and business profile.

These loans are ideal for businesses with limited assets or those seeking quick funding without risking their assets. They are suitable for various needs, such as expansion, inventory purchases, or emergencies.

Unsecured Business Loans provide a quick and straightforward financing solution, making them accessible to a wide range of businesses, including startups and SMEs, that need flexible funding without the need to pledge collateral.

8. Startup Loans

Startup Loans are tailored financial products designed to support new businesses or entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. Recognizing the unique challenges startups face, such as lack of collateral and limited operating history, these loans are granted based on the entrepreneur’s credit history and the business’s potential for growth.

Startup Loans provide capital for initial investments, equipment purchases, marketing, and other expenses involved in launching a new venture. They often come with flexible terms to accommodate the specific needs of new businesses. By offering crucial early-stage funding, Startup Loans help entrepreneurs turn their visions into reality and scale their businesses quickly.

9. Project Loans

Project Loans are long-term financing options provided by banks and financial institutions to fund large-scale projects. These loans are particularly suitable for infrastructure development, real estate, and manufacturing plants in India. They are designed to meet the specific requirements of a project, including land acquisition, construction, equipment, and working capital.

Project Loans typically have longer repayment periods and are secured against the project’s assets. These loans are essential for businesses undertaking significant initiatives, providing the necessary capital to drive complex and costly ventures to completion.

10. Cash Credit

Cash Credit is a popular short-term working capital loan that allows businesses to meet their daily operational needs. Businesses can withdraw funds up to a predetermined credit limit assigned by the lender, based on the available working capital and future financial projections.

A key benefit of Cash Credit is that interest is charged only on the amount withdrawn, providing flexibility and easy access to capital for day-to-day operations. This facility allows businesses to manage their cash flow effectively, especially those with seasonal sales cycles or irregular income patterns, ensuring they have the funds needed to maintain smooth operations.

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Choosing the right business loan is essential for addressing your specific financial needs and supporting your business’s growth. This requires a thorough understanding of your business requirements, a careful evaluation of the loan costs and flexibility, and a realistic assessment of your financial health. #

Term Loans provide lump sums with fixed repayment schedules, while Letters of Credit offer payment assurance in international trade. Overdraft Facilities and Cash Credit manage cash flow by allowing withdrawals beyond the account balance or up to a credit limit. Equipment Finance and Business Loans Against Property use collateral to secure funds for machinery or substantial expenses. Factoring improves cash flow by selling invoices, and Unsecured Business Loans offer quick financing without collateral. Startup Loans support new ventures with flexible terms, and Project Loans fund large-scale projects with long-term repayment plans. 

Understanding these loan types empowers you to choose the best financing options for your business’s unique needs and goals.

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