How Fintechs Help Small Businesses Access PPP Funds

Gusto Editors

Applications for PPP round 2 loans are now open.

See this list of PPP round 2 lenders to find one that’s right for your business.

When the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) launched under the CARES Act last spring, small business owners had high hopes. However, a few months in, it became apparent that many smaller businesses—particularly those owned by BIPOC business owners and businesses that operate in low-income areas—were denied loans. 

Smaller businesses face certain obstacles that may sometimes hinder loan approvals. For example, several big banks only work with existing customers or prioritize their bigger clients.

Fortunately, fintech companies have become a lifeline for many of these smaller businesses. Online lenders like Kabbage and Lendio are authorized to provide PPP loans and have been able to get millions of dollars to otherwise underbanked businesses. Fintech companies have proved significantly more effective in getting loans to businesses that have been denied by big banks. 

If you’ve struggled with accessing capital, it may be time to look into fintechs to get a PPP loan this time around. 

What is a fintech company?

Financial technology (fintech) describes technology or companies that automate and facilitate financial services. ​​​These entities help businesses and consumers manage their finances via software, devices, and algorithms. 

Fintech spans industries such as education, retail banking, investment management, and more. It can also refer to tools that digitize business finances, like small business lending, point-of-sale, or even payroll.

Role of fintechs during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 had an outsized impact on small firms and local businesses that were shuttered around the country by closure mandates. These are also the businesses that are often underserved by big banks due to their size and revenue—but they’re exactly the ones fintech lenders aim to support.

“Truly small businesses—those with 10 or fewer employees who represent 80% of all SMBs—are our specialty,” Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia tells Forbes. “During the PPP we were one of the few lenders accepting applications for the self-employed.” 

Kabbage was the second largest PPP lender during the program’s first run.

What’s more, these lenders served a higher portion of minority business owners. A Kabbage and New York University report found the following:

“Small and medium banks accounted for roughly half of all loans with median loan values of $27,500 and $35,390, respectively. The larger banks made the majority of the remaining loans. Fintechs made 757,137 loans with a median value of $15,000. CDFIs, MDIs, and nonprofits jointly made 232,110 loans, with median values of around $21,000 each. Therefore, fintech lenders originated much smaller loans than other lenders, suggesting they served smaller firms on average.”

Report by Kabbage and NYU Stern: Which lenders had the highest minority share among
their Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans?

Many micro-businesses, BIPOC-owned businesses (meaning black, indigenous, and people of color), and self-employed individuals that were unable to secure PPP funds in the first round may consider applying through a participating fintech lender.

Fintech PPP lenders

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, revives the PPP with $284 billion in unused and new funds. Previous and first-time PPP applicants may be eligible for loans up to $2 million. 

Here, we’ll keep a running list of popular fintechs that participated in the first round of the PPP. While not all of these lenders are participating in the second round, here’s what we know so far (we’ll keep this list updated as more information comes in):

Lender Participating in PPP?
Biz2credit  Yes
BlueVine  Yes
Brex + Womply Yes
Credibly  Not sure yet
Cross River Bank  Yes
Divvy  Yes
Fundbox Not participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Fundera  Yes
Funding Circle  Yes
Intuit(Quickbooks) Not participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Kabbage  Not sure yet
Lendio  Yes
NAV  Not sure yet
OnDeck  Not participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Paypal  Not sure yet
Ready Capital Yes
SOFI lantern Yes
Square  Not participating in PPP (but you have other lending options through this fintech) 
Veem  Not sure yet

For a more complete list of PPP round 2 lenders (that includes non-fintech lenders) see this list

More borrowing options for small business owners

If a PPP loan simply isn’t right for your business, keep in mind that the PPP is not the only loan program that was funded by the new bill, so if this program isn’t right for you, be sure to check out these other COVID-19 small business loan options. You can try other SBA loans, the EIDL, or community lenders like CDFIs and MDIs

We’ll continue to keep you updated as more information about COVID-19 relief programs comes in. 

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
Back to top