Forward Financing Reviews - Financial Lender Pros & Cons

liara-cohen writer
By Liara Cohen
Updated February 14, 2018
Editor's Rating
Highly Rated Lender
Customer Rating 257 Reviews
Types of loans
Small business short-term loans and merchant cash advances (MCAs)
Loan amounts
$300,000 maximum; $5,000 minimum
Interest rates
1.32 to 1.39
Origination fees
$300 for loans up to $10,000; $495 for loans up to $25,000; $795 for loans up to $50,000; $995 for loans up to $100,000; No document fees
Loan term
Fixed rate, self-amortizing loans with terms of between 4 months and 12 months
Loan availability
All 50 states
Funding time
10 minutes to apply; one hour approval; same day funding
Customer services
Contact by phone or email, Monday through Friday during regular business hours
  • Will accept as little as one year in business - most small business lenders require a minimum of two years in business.
  • Loan amounts to $300,000, compared with the industry average of about $150,000.
  • No collateral is required, other than future cash flow on merchant cash advances.
  • The low minimum FICO score requirement of 500 can accommodate owners with fair or even poor credit.
  • Very low upfront fees, with no document or application fees, and origination fees below $1,000.
  • Fast turnaround times - apply in minutes, approval in about an hour, and funding possible on the same day. This gives merchants the ability to move quickly as opportunities develop.
  • Forward Financing receives high ratings from third-party rating sources, including the Better Business Bureau. This is remarkable in an industry that has more than a few questionable competitors.
  • There's virtually no restriction on the use of loan proceeds.
  • No interest forgiveness on renewals.
  • Minimum loan buy rate of 1.32 is higher than industry standards.
  • The minimum monthly deposit level of $10,000 will exclude smaller businesses.
  • Maximum loan term of 12 months is shorter than the more typical 18 to 24 months available with most small business lenders.

About Forward Financing

Forward Financing is a fintech company focused on helping and empowering small business clients. Founded in 2012, and based in Boston, Massachusetts, Forward Financing has more than 50 employees, providing more than $150 million in funding for over 3,000 small business customers.

The company offers short-term business loans and merchant cash advances to small businesses, with funding occurring often on the same business day. Merchants can get funding of up to $300,000, with minimal documentation, and the entire application process taking place online.

Each merchant gets a dedicated advisor to help them navigate the process. Custom financing packages are available, and there is virtually unlimited use of loan proceeds. The company provides financing for most types of businesses, as long as they meet Forward Financing's income and credit guidelines.

Forward Financing was started by cofounders Justin Bakes and John Cain. Justin serves as chief executive officer. Before starting the company, he spent many years advising multibillion-dollar corporations on mergers and acquisitions and capital raises. But he saw the greatest opportunity and serving small businesses. His background includes stints with Salomon Smith Barney, UBS Investment Bank, and Watsco, Inc.

John Cain's previous experience includes many years in investment banking, corporate financing and consulting. He held previous positions with Rothschild, XRoads Solutions Group and Burger King Corporation. He serves at Forward Financing in the role of Chief Operating Officer, overseeing underwriting, customer service, technology and strategic partnerships.

Forward Financing is well regarded among the third-party rating services, including the Better Business Bureau and Trust Pilot.

Forward Financing Drill Down

Company Reputation

Forward Financing has the following ratings from third-party business rating services:

Licenses and Accreditations

The company is based in Massachusetts, but it is not registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State.

For 2017 ranked Forward Financing #15 on its Inc. 5000 list for 2017.

Forward Financing Borrower Requirements

To qualify for a short-term loan or merchant cash advance through Forward Financing you must meet the following requirements:

No application fee is required, and Forward Financing does not charge a document fee. Origination fees are determined on a sliding scale based on the loan amount, and are detailed below.

Forward Financing Application Process

You'll need to have the following information available to make application:

Forward Financing applications for both short-term loans and merchant cash advances happen mostly online. It's a four step process as follows:

  1. "Let's Get Started" - in which you indicate the requested loan amount, your business start date, and confirmation that you are the business owner.
  2. "Business Information" - This page will ask you to supply the legal business name, any DBA that applies, type of business and federal tax ID, monthly revenue, business address and contact phone number, your industry and your company website.
  3. "Your Details" - Personal information for each owner of the business - name, date of birth, Social Security number, email address, phone number, and home address.
  4. "Financial Need" - in this screen you indicate what the funds will be used for, and upload copies of the four most recent bank statements.

Once you complete that information, you hit the APPLY NOW button, and your application will be in process.

If you have all of your information ready, the application can be completed in as few as 10 minutes. Approval will then take about one hour. If your loan is approved, and you accept the offer, you can get funding as early as the same day.

Once your loan is approved, you can review the amount and terms offered, and evaluate your options. You can select the best option for you, and if you approve the offer, you can receive the funds on the very same day.

Forward Financing Underwriting Considerations

Forward Financing uses revenue-based models in making loan determinations. They're more concerned with cash flow, particularly the average balance in your business account, or your average daily credit and debit card sales. Traditional underwriting criteria, particularly credit scores, are less of a factor.

For that reason, Forward Financing is more accommodating on credit issues than most other small business lenders. For example, they will accept a minimum FICO score of 500 for owner/applicants. Most other small business lenders require a minimum score of 600, or even 650. Forward Financing will even consider merchants who currently have a negative balance in their business bank account. Most small business lenders will reject such an applicant immediately.

Forward Financing Small Business Term Loans and Merchant Cash Advances

Loan purpose. Loans must be business related, but they can be used for just about any purpose.

Typical Forward Financing loan proceeds may be used for any of the following purposes:

Industries funded. Most industries are eligible for financing, but Forward Financing specifically targets restaurants, manufacturing companies, and retail operations.

Cautionary Industries. Forward Financing prefers not to lend to financial services companies, real estate related businesses, janitorial services and cell phone companies.

Buy rates. 1.32 to 1.39 - If you borrow $100,000, and the buy rate is 1.35, you'll be required to repay $135,000 ($100,000 X 1.35). That does not include the origination fee.

Origination and document fees. There is no document fee, and origination fees are based on loan size, and are as follows:

Loan term. Four to 12 months on short-term loans. Merchant cash advances are repaid by a percentage of daily business deposits, and do not have a specified long-term.

Collateral required. No collateral is required for short-term loans, but personal guarantees from each owner on the application are required. Merchant cash advances require the sale of future revenue to satisfy the loan.

Repayment frequency. On short-term loans, payments are made automatically each weekday. The predetermined amount is debited from the business bank account. Repayment uses simple automated ACH deductions from the business checking account.

On merchant cash advances, repayment is determined by a percentage of daily deposits collected until the advance is fully repaid. Repayment also takes place by use of automated ACH deductions from the business checking account.

Stacking. Forward Financing can be as low as the fourth position.

Loan Renewal Policy. Forward Financing will consider a renewal as soon as at least 50% of the original loan balance has been paid.

Interest forgiveness. Not available.

Exceptions. Forward Financing will consider the following exceptions:

Short-term Loans vs. Merchant Cash Advances

Which loan type is best for a merchant, a short-term loan or a merchant cash advance?

A short-term loan may work better for a business with a predictable cash flow, and a better ability to meet a fixed daily payment. It's also best for a business with a short-term need, such as launching a marketing campaign. Since the time of the loan will be one year or less, it will be repaid quickly.

Merchant Cash Advances will work better for merchants who may have difficulty with fixed daily payments. Merchant cash advantages are based on a fixed percentage of gross sales, then collected daily. That means that the actual amount of the payment will change each day, based on that day's cash flow. On slower days, the payment will be lower; on higher revenue days, the payment will be higher. That means the payment will fit nicely within whatever the cash flow is for each day.

Like term loans, merchant cash advances can be used for any purpose. But they might work better for longer-term purchases, since the advances have no set term.

Who Forward Financing Short-Term Loans and Merchant Cash Advances Work Best For

We've identified five types of merchants for whom Forward Financing can be a preferred loan source:

  1. Relatively young businesses. Forward Financing requires merchants to be in business for at least one year. In the small business space, a more typical requirement is a minimum of two years.
  2. Businesses where the owners have fair or poor credit. Because Forward Financing lends primarily on the cash flow of a business, individual credit strength is much less of a factor than it is with other lenders. The minimum FICO score requirement of 500 will accommodate most credit levels. Forward Financing will even accept businesses that have current negative bank account balances, as long as the cash flow supports the loan amount requested.
  3. Merchants who need larger loan amounts. Most small business lenders will go no higher than $150,000 or $200,000. Forward Financing will go as high as $300,000, giving merchants many more options to manage and grow their businesses.
  4. Merchants with nonstandard loan proceeds requirements. Some small business lenders restrict the purpose of loan funds. For example, they may not permit the funds to be used for payment of taxes or payroll. Forward Financing has no hard limits on the use of loan proceeds, as long as they are used for business purposes.
  5. Merchants who are looking for maximum net loan proceeds. More typical with small business lenders are origination fees that can run anywhere from 2% of the loan amount, up to 5%. Forward Financing has very low origination fees, ranging from a low of $300 to a maximum of $995. This is considerably lower than a typical small business lender, who might charge 3% - $3,000 - on a $100,000 loan. As well, Forward Financing doesn't charge application or document fees. Lower fees mean more money in your pocket.

16 User Reviews

Mohammed Crist DDS

Sep 6, 2018 6:48 AM

I had a great experience with Forward Financing! They delivered exactly what they promised. Kept me informed throughout the whole process and answered every query with patience and made sure I was clear on every aspect of the loan that I would receive so that there are no surprises later! I would recommend these people a 100%!!


Mr. Regan Cummings

May 23, 2019 9:21 PM

Although the working capital offered by forward financing has a comparatively higher buy rate and the terms are shorter as well, but the way these people are transparent in their dealings is just commendable. And there remains no ambiguity about the terms and conditions. I have worked with other lenders who have smaller buy rates but they definitely demand application fees, documentation fees and this and that. These people just as for an origination fee which seems fair. Other than that, I had a good experience with Forward and I would definitely work with these people again!


Camron Kreiger

Jul 22, 2020 4:09 PM

Too unreasonable and too expensive! But nice to know that they were upfront and honest about it, instead of just ripping you off through hidden fees and high interest rates! Suitable for bigger, established businesses I’d say, not for start ups like mine.


liana Gulgowski

Aug 19, 2020 11:36 AM



Madonna Christiansen

Aug 19, 2020 2:17 PM

Javier Forward financing was there for my business when we needed them the most and no other lender was suitable enough and banks were not willing either. Forward finance came as a savior and helped revive my cash flow with their working capital after the COVID 19 threw people out of business! Cannot be more grateful to these guys! Great company!


Brionna Bode

Aug 27, 2020 3:53 PM

My business had been going great until the pandemic hit and everything was going down from then on. Zero sales, a staff to pay, a place to maintain, inventory to look after and so much. All the revenues that I had set aside were used up after four months of the pandemic. I even cut down my staff but things were not going well. Forward financing came in as a savior. Their working capital loan not only saved my drowning business but also helped it reach newer levels! I was able to pay my staff, do other operations and even hire back the employees I had to let go. Thank you forward financing!


Tiffany Fahey

Nov 5, 2020 4:31 PM

ASTONISHING rates and RIDICULOUS loan term! I was given an offer of $200,000 and was supposed to payback it at 1.32 rate within 12 months!!!! How am I supposed to do that? How is anybody supposed to do that who is looking for a friggin’ loan??!! They literally crushed the point of getting a loan. Unbelieveable!! This is a total rip off! I said goodbye to this woman called Jennifer because I was not going to be ripped off through her sugary talk and niceness! Thank you very much! I have other lenders in mind now like, Marlin or OnDeck, who actually give you something you could payback!!


Marc Klein

Dec 1, 2020 7:57 PM

I got a similar deal but I am quite satisfied.. Look at the plus points, they have got no documentation fee, application fee and site check fee and other shit! Other lenders rob you through these fees and also their interest rates just make things worse for you! At least Forward’s upfront buy rate is more convenient and you know what you have to payback exactly! Also, they offer you a bigger loan whereas other lenders don’t! They usually could give you loan up to $150K compared to the $300K that these people have the capacity to give, which is big money! You definitely cannot turn to other lenders if you are looking for a bigger working capital loan. But forward financing beats them there as well!


Johanna Medhurst

Jan 1, 2021 4:41 AM

Mrs alex was one of the nicest and most honest people you could find in the lending market ! she was true to her word. we needed immediate funding and she made sure our deal was finalized in the shortest time possible. would work with forward again when needed!



Jan 20, 2021 11:33 PM

Excellent customer service! Instant and immediate funding! Definitely the best lender you could come across!


Lisette Halvorson

Feb 9, 2021 5:57 PM

Bobby was a fabulous ambassador and found the best deal for my technology firm. Needed a working capital loan for cash flow and to smooth some business operations and I cannot be grateful enough to Forward Financing for their exellent services! Bobby and I signed the deal within 30 days and I received the cash instantly! Got a 100k loan at 1.34! 1000 dollars in terms of origination fee seemed like a lot but it was definitely worth it! I have gotten the loan and everything is going great. Thanks Bobby and Forward Financing.


Rosemarie Hirthe

Mar 10, 2021 8:49 AM

i worked with alix and she was just great! highly responsive and helpful. I could not be more thankful to alix and forward financing for the working capital they offered to my distribution business. Many thanks!


Lonie Koelpin

Apr 6, 2021 9:33 PM

Highly professional and easy-going staff! Totally recommended!


Abigail Turcotte

May 21, 2021 5:11 PM

worked with nick at forward financing. such a nice and impressive guy. he helped us throughout the procedure, from applying for the loan till the payment was made to us! i’d absolutely work with nick and forward financing again !


Alanna Nitzsche

Jun 1, 2021 3:26 AM

John Costello is the MAN !!!! Truthful , upfront and highly supportive !!


Asha Jacobi

Jun 1, 2021 7:23 AM

Jennifer at forward financing was the best I have every come across and I have dealt with quite some lenders. She was friendly and highly dependable. Stuck with me through out the whole process and made sure I was satisfied with the deal I had gotten. The buying rate for the working capital is a bit too high but compared to the services I have received and how transparent everything was, I am satisfied!