A Business Line of Credit (BLOC) is a revolving sum of money lent to a business owner at the cost of interest fees. BLOCs are a form of debt financing, in which the owner pays back the borrowed amount over time. A line of credit is different from other types of debt financing. In Canada, these are usually provided by traditional financial institutions – like banks and credit unions. Depending on the institution, business lines of credit either have a fixed rate or a variable rate.
In BLOCs the small business owner is granted a pre-approved amount – a credit limit, but the borrower may choose only to use portions of it. The borrower is charged interest rates only on the borrowed amount, not their entire approved amount. It’s like a business credit card but with a much higher credit limit and may not be accessible using a card.
BLOCs are one of the cheapest funding sources your business can receive and if your business qualifies for one, it’s worth considering because you’ll have access to business cash flow when you need it at a lower cost. A business line of credit can be used to help you solve cash flow problems and hire the right supplier for your business.
A business line of credit (BLOC) is a revolving loan that allows access to a fixed amount of capital, which can be used when needed to meet short-term business, needs. A BLOC is one of the tools a business can use to finance short-term working capital requirements, such as:
Secured Business Line of Credit—This type of LOC requires the business to pledge specific assets as collateral to secure the line. Since a line of credit is a short-term liability, lenders typically ask for short-term assets, such as accounts receivable and inventory. Lenders don’t often require capital assets, such as real property or equipment, to secure a LOC. If the borrower is unable to repay the line, the lender will assume the ownership of any collateral and liquidate it to pay off the balance.
Unsecured Business Line of Credit— This type of BLOC does not require specified assets as collateral—however a general lien and personal guarantee will likely be required. Because there is no specified collateral associated with this type of credit line, the business will likely need a stronger credit profile along with a positive business track record to qualify. Additionally, interest rates may be slightly higher; and unsecured credit lines are often smaller.
Credit lines start at $10,000
Automatic Fund Transfers
Your business deposit balance is automatically checked every business day and funds transferred from your Business Line Of Credit to your account.
Apply using our fast & easy Canadian online application
Borrow funds when you need them, up to your approved credit limit. Pay down your balance and access the same line of credit, so you can cover business expenses today or tomorrow.
Only pay interest on the funds you use — not on your entire credit limit. Pay back the amount you borrow with minimum monthly payments, or pay off your whole balance to save on interest.
Ongoing access to funds gives you the flexibility to get trade or inventory discounts and more.
|Line of credit amount||Starting from $10,000|
|Currency||CAD or USD|
|Flexible options||Secured or unsecured|
Meet these requirements and improve your chances of getting approved:
Use funds whenever you need them, without reapplying — you don’t have to contact us every time.
Pay off all or part of the balance at any time.
Access your line of credit by writing a cheque against your CIBC business account, through CIBC online, mobile or telephone banking, ATM withdrawals or at a CIBC Banking Centre.
Get a combination of borrowing products, such as a loan or overdraft protection, for more flexibility.
Apply using our fast & easy Canadian online application
Get a decision
We’ll verify your information and review your credit profile. If your application meets our borrowing criteria, you’ll get approved for a specific amount with a specific interest rate and repayment term.
After you accept your offer and sign a few documents, you can start using your money directly from your business bank account. Get funds in as little as 24 hours — for most applications.
We Can Design A Funding Program For Your Small Or Medium Size Business.
A business line of credit gives you on-going access to funds for your day-to-day operations.
If you prefer a one-time lump sum of money, a loan may be right for you. Or, if you want to protect your business from unexpected cash shortfalls, choose overdraft protection instead.
You may qualify for a lower interest rate if you secure your business line of credit with a valuable asset, like a piece of equipment. Your credit score may also affect the amount of interest you pay. If you have a higher credit score, you may get a lower the interest rate.
When you open a business line of credit, the business receives access to a stated amount of funds to use as needed. A monthly statement reflecting the amount of credit used will also include any interest charges (unlike a term loan, you only pay interest for the funds you use as you use them).
As mentioned above, your payment, and the interest is based upon the funds you use. Once repaid, the credit limit is available to be accessed again as needed. The periodic payment schedule to repay a line of credit will vary depending upon the lender. Either a weekly, or monthly, periodic payment schedule is common.
In addition to the interest charges, an annual fee for a LOC is not uncommon. If your business frequently accesses the LOC, transaction fees may also apply.
Small LOCs (under $100,000) can operate like a credit card account, with advances made by using a credit card tied to the line of credit or by writing checks issued for the account. Some lenders also offer the option of depositing funds directly into the business bank account via an ACH deposit.
If your business regularly requires access to funds to meet short-term capital needs to manage the business’ day-to-day capital requirements, then applying for a LOC might make sense. Here are a few examples of situations where a LOC could be a good idea:
Example #1: A seasonal business that generates most of its sales in the summer could use a LOC in the offseason (provided they had the cash flow to make the periodic payments) to help cover overhead as they bridged from one season to the next. The LOC could allow them to maintain normal business operations even though their income fluctuates.
Example #2: A small business could use a LOC to finance a marketing campaign, which would attract new customers and expand sales. The borrowed funds could be paid off quickly because the campaign would potentially generate additional revenue.
Example #3: If a business needed to cover expenses while waiting for a client to make payments on an invoice, a LOC could be useful for cash management.
A new business without an established business credit profile or a business owner with a low personal credit score will likely have a difficult time qualifying for a LOC. Most lenders prefer to offer a LOC to more established businesses with a track record and revenues to support the more flexible financing provided by a line of credit.
A business line of credit can be a valuable tool for small businesses that take a strategic approach to making sure they have access to the resources they require to meet day-to-day working capital needs and fill other short-term financial necessities. It allows them to apply and qualify today for borrowed capital they may need down the road. Many businesses use a line of credit as part of a larger capital access approach including short-term and longer-term financing to fuel growth and fund other revenue-generating projects.
From a lender’s perspective (both traditional lenders like banks and online lenders offer business credit lines) a line of credit and a term loan are very different. For example, when a lender evaluates your creditworthiness for a term loan, they are looking at a business’ credit profile to make a decision about a loan today. For a line of credit, they are looking at a business’ credit performance today, to make decisions about the creditworthiness of the business at some time in the future when it accesses the credit line. To a lender, these are two very different situations and could explain why the qualification process for a line of credit might be a bit more thorough.
That’s not the only difference between a term loan and a line of credit. A term loan involves a fixed amount of funds, which the business receives in a lump sum once the loan is approved. Periodic payments are typically repaid over a defined period of time, or term, in a prearranged schedule of payments until the balance is paid in full.
A business line of credit also includes some additional flexibility that is not part of a small business loan. A LOC is fundamentally a credit limit a business can borrow against whenever they need it, repay, and use again—often for a specified term. Most lenders require the LOC balance be brought to zero at some time during the term of the credit line.
LOCs are often used for short-term operating purposes and for more immediate revenue-generating activities because the business can access the funds as needed.
Before opening a LOC, make sure you understand your chosen lender’s qualification criteria, loan conditions, interest rates, and fees.
A business line of credit can be a valuable tool to fuel growth and fund other profit-generating initiatives. They offer the financial flexibility to cover gaps in normal cash cycles, can be used to harness resources to maintain year-round business operations for seasonal businesses, and can fund expenses that build value and amplify success in concert with other financial tools.
Revolving credit and a line of credit are financing arrangements made between a lending institution and a business or an individual. The lender provides access to funds that the borrower can use at his discretion, like a flexible, open-ended loan. In fact, a revolving credit line is a type of credit line. A line of credit is a one-time arrangement, and when the credit line is paid off, the account is closed.
There are two features of both kinds of lines of credit that make them particularly attractive: purchase flexibility and payment flexibility. Like a credit card, these can be used on an as-needed basis and paid off when it is convenient, depending on terms of the line of credit.
Revolving credit is very similar to a credit card; in fact, some institutions refer to a revolving credit agreement as a revolving line of credit. The lending institution grants you a maximum credit limit, which you can use to make purchases at any time and (usually) on any goods.
Many small business owners and corporations use revolving credit to finance capital expansion or as a safeguard in the event of cash flow problems. Individuals might use it for overdraft protection on demand deposit or checking accounts or to cover large, ongoing expenses, like house renovations or medical bills.
If you make regular, consistent payments on a revolving credit account, the lender may agree to increase your maximum credit limit—again, like a credit card. There is no set monthly payment with revolving credit accounts, but interest accrues and is capitalized like any other credit. When payments are made on the revolving credit account, those funds become available for borrowing again. The credit limit may be used repeatedly as long as you do not exceed the maximum.
A home equity line of credit, also called a HELOC, is an example of a revolving credit line. A pre-approved amount of credit is given based on the value of the borrower’s home, making it a secure type of credit. The funds in the account can be accessed in various ways, via check, a credit card connected to the account, or transfer. You only pay interest on the money you use, and the account offers flexibility to draw on the line of credit when needed.
Non-revolving lines of credit have the same features as revolving credit (or a revolving line of credit). A credit limit is established, funds can be used for a variety of purposes, interest is charged normally, and payments may be made at any time.
There is one major exception: The pool of available credit does not replenish after payments are made. Once you pay off the line of credit in full, the account is closed and cannot be used again.
An example: Personal lines of credit are sometimes offered by banks in the form of an overdraft protection plan. A banking customer can sign up to have an overdraft plan linked to his or her checking account. If the customer goes over the amount available in checking, the overdraft keeps them from bouncing a check or having a purchase denied. Like any line of credit, an overdraft must be paid back, with interest.
Revolving lines of credit and a line of credit are both different from other traditional loans. Most installment loans, such as mortgages, auto loans, or student loans, have specific purchasing purposes in mind. You must tell the lender what you are going to use the money for ahead of time and you may not deviate from that, unlike a line of credit or revolving credit.
Traditional loans also come with set monthly payments, while most lines of credit do not.
The payments on lines of credit tend to be more irregular, because (unlike a loan) you are not being lent a lump sum of money and charged interest right away. A line of credit is more the ability to borrow funds in the future up to a certain amount; you are not charged interest until you actually start tapping into the line for funds.
Like loans, both revolving credit and non-revolving lines of credit come in secured and unsecured versions. A secured credit is borrowed against a tangible asset, like a house or car, which serves as collateral. As a result, interest rates on secured credit accounts tend to be much lower than those on unsecured credit accounts.
Unsecured lines of credit are usually not your best option if you need to borrow a lot of money. If you plan to make a one-time purchase, consider a personal loan instead of a line of credit. Loans tailored to a specific purchase, such as a home or a car, are often good alternatives to opening a line of credit.