Who Needs Banks? PayPal and Lending Club Want to Make Small Business Loans

Photograph by Jake Rowland/Gallery Stock

Lots of companies have tried to use technology to improve small business lending with data, collecting information about merchants from their social media profiles, online accounting software, and reviews to help lenders decide whether to make loans. Alternative companies such as OnDeck and Kabbage have succeeded at increasing loan volumes and speeding approval times. But their loans usually cost more than bank loans or credit cards—sometimes much more.

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