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Cybersecurity, Finance & Accounting, Small Business Loans

Are Online Lenders Safe?

In this age of identity theft, cyber criminals, scams and misleading internet ads, it’s only prudent to have concerns about the security of any internet transaction. Because of this, some business owners may avoid online lending because they worry about the legitimacy and safety of these internet finance companies. Certainly, business owners may have even more concerns than average consumers.

It’s fair to say that the best online lenders do focus on the security of their customers and applicants, but some lenders might not be as safe as others. As with any other business decision, it’s only prudent to do some due diligence before selecting an online lending company. As a business owner, how can you make certain that your online lender provides a secure service and actually provides the loans that they advertise?

How to Find Safe Online Lenders

Before you apply for an online business loan, you should do some research on potential lenders. The internet gives you the tools to apply for a quick loan, and it also enables some quick research. These are some tips to help you evaluate the security of any online loan application that you might consider.

Look for a physical address: A platform lender might operate online, but a legitimate financing company will display a physical address in a prominent location on their website. For example, you can visit the Kabbage contact page to learn that this online lender has an office in Atlanta. It’s simple enough to verify this address with a quick Google search. Your search should uncover all sorts of press and information about any credible company.

Research third-party verification of the lender: You can also check the lender’s website and other sources for third-party verification. For example, you might check the Better Business Bureau for a listing and rating. Some online certification organizations, like TRUSTe, review sites and award seals if the company meets security and privacy standards. You can learn more about TRUSTe here. Online loan companies that go out of their way to seek third-party verification have demonstrated the value they place on earning trust.

Look for reviews from other business owners: The reality is that you can’t use reviews to totally inform your opinion. For one thing, people are more likely to post a complaint when they are dissatisfied and simply move on when the service has met their expectations. Another major problem is that reviews can be faked either by competitors or supporters of a particular organization. Still, you can review comments that others have made about an online lender to help guide your further research into the company.

Check the website’s ownership: You can perform a WHOIS check within seconds. This will tell you who owns the site and how long the site has been around. This can give you insight into the actual nature of the organization that runs the site and if they are truly an online business lender. If you have any questions about this registration information, go ahead and contact the lender to ask about it.

Be wary of lead gatherers with no real loans: One of the biggest threats to privacy may not come from actual cyber criminals but simply from aggressive lead gatherers. Very often, these lead sites disguise themselves as business lenders; however, the actual intention is simply to gather information to sell to any number of lenders around the country. In order to safely and privately access the funds you need, you’ll probably want to start at the actual lender and not a lead gatherer.

Why Consider Safe, Online Business Lending?

Legitimate online lenders know that their business success hinges upon their own reputation for keeping their customer’s information secure and private. These companies take steps to protect their own business and that of their customers and applicants. Obviously, this is the type of finance company that you would want to do business with either online or offline.

Online lenders may provide the right solution for your business. Some benefits could include fast or even instant online decisions and very quick funding. For many business owners, an internet lending platform can be a much quicker and more accessible solution than traditional banks, small business credit cards and other funding sources. If you do your own due diligence and choose a secure lending platform, you’re likely to be satisfied with your decision to borrow from an internet lender.

 

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.