If you're still considering taking out a bounce back loan, it's not too late.
Far more affordable and flexible than any loan you normally get from a private sector lender, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is a great option for many SMEs who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
To help you make up your mind once and for all, here's everything you need to know about the scheme.
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) provides financial support for small and medium-sized businesses who have lost revenue or had their cash flow disrupted because of Covid-19.
Businesses can borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.
The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there are no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months, the interest rate is 2.5% a year. The loans are repayable after six years, but you can repay early without penalty at any time.
You can apply for the loan if your business:
- is based in the UK
- was established before 1 March 2020
- has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus
If your business was classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019, you’ll need to confirm that you’re complying with additional state aid restrictions.
- banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- public-sector bodies
- state-funded primary and secondary schools
You can read the full government guidance here.
Should you get the loan?
Taking on any kind of loan is a big decision. On the plus side, the bounce back loan is relatively low-cost compared to any other loan you would get privately.
Some businesses have chosen to take out the loan ‘just in case’ - simply because of how affordable it is. They may even use it to pay off existing finance to give themselves a year-long payment and interest holiday, as well as reduced cost in the longer term. Others are seeing it as an opportunity to invest in improving their business.
However, as with any loan, it does need to be paid back in full and you need to be sure you can afford the repayments.
Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons:
- Fast access to funds to help your business
- No repayments, interest or fees for the first 12 months
- Low interest rate of 2.5%
- Interest rates are fixed for the duration of the loan - repayments will stay the same for the whole term to help you budget
- Ability to overpay and pay back early without incurring charges
- Simple application process with minimum checks
- The money still has to be repaid
- Borrowing is capped at £50,000
- Cannot access other coronavirus funding
“The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is a welcome step toward getting cash to the smallest firms more quickly.” BCC
How to apply
If you do decide to apply for a bounce back loan, here are the steps you will need to take.
First, you need to find a lender. It’s a good idea to approach your own bank to start with. But you may also consider approaching others if you are unable the finance you require. You can view a full list of BBLS accredited lenders here.
When you approach your chosen lender, you will need to fill in a short application form online which will certify that your business is eligible for the loan. You will then be subject to standard customer fraud, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. The lender will then decide whether to offer you finance.
If the lender turns you down, you can still approach other lenders within the scheme. However, the lender may decide to offer you another type of finance.
Need more support?
If you're still unsure of what the best option is for you, we recommend using our Chamber Finance Finder, where you can explore the loans, equities and grants that are available for your business within minutes, including the BBLS.
By registering with the service, you will also have access to exclusive benefits, including a finance hotline and a free financial health check.
Chamber members can also access our free member-to-member directory to connect with financial experts who can offer confidential advice.