Before committing to a loan for your small business, consider comparing your options across different lenders.
Lenders that provide a SMART Box™ allow you to easily compare pricing and rates using a standardised calculation.
What is SMART Box™?
SMART Box™, which stands for ‘Straightforward Metrics Around Rate and Total Cost’ is a loan comparison tool. It shows you key pricing metrics of business loans from different online lenders so that you can compare apples with apples. It’s only available for term loans.
To find the best deal for finance, you can ask lenders for a SMART Box™ before you sign any loan agreement. Only lenders that comply with the AFIA Code of Lending Practice offer this free service in Australia.
What information will SMART Box™ give you?
SMART Box™ is a one-page disclosure document that gives a transparent cost comparison and loan summary of different products and lenders in a standardised format.
SMART Box™ gives you the following metrics in a clear summary:
|Loan amount||The sum you’re borrowing, before fees and interest.|
|Disbursement amount||The sum you’ll receive from the lender — the loan amount minus any set-up fees.|
|Repayment amount||The total amount you’ll have to repay, including interest and fees.|
|Loan term||How long you’ll be borrowing for, and how frequently you’ll be making repayments.|
|Total cost of credit||How much you’ll pay for your finance, including interest and all unavoidable costs (but not fees such as late payment penalties that you’ll only pay if you don’t meet your obligations).|
|Average monthly payment||This will be the total repayment amount, divided by the number of months in the borrowing term. It’s provided to help you compare your monthly cost, even if you’ll actually be paying daily, weekly or fortnightly (or on a schedule to suit your business needs).|
|Total interest percentage||The amount of interest (excluding fees) as a percentage of the amount you’re borrowing.|
|Annual percentage rate (APR)||The full amount of interest you’ll pay, divided by the number of years in your loan term — assuming that you repay your loan (and reduce your outstanding principal) on the agreed schedule.|
|Cents on the dollar||The amount of interest and fees you’ll pay per dollar you borrow (this excludes any set-up or ‘origination’ fees).|
|Factor rate||The total amount you’ll repay as a multiple of the amount you’re borrowing. For example, if you borrow $100,000 and your repayment amount is $130,000, your factor rate is 1.3.|
|Prepayment||Whether you’ll have to pay fees or penalties if you repay the loan early, and whether early repayment will save you any interest or fees.|
The two most important key metrics to compare are the APR and total cost of credit. The APR displays a single percentage rate that factors in the interest rate, fees and loan term, while the total cost of credit gives a clear picture of the amount paid back over the loan term.
Why is SMART Box™ important for SMEs?
Finance can be a major expense for SMEs, yet there’s often a lack of pricing transparency on loan products. Choosing the wrong loan product could put your small business in financial difficulty, more so than big business.
For example, if you settled for any finance agreement to buy new equipment and manufacture more products, but the cost of your loan erodes the profits of your extra sales, you could quickly end up behind in repayments and default on your debt. On the flip side, a more affordable loan might make the equipment purchase viable and help take your business to the next level.
SMART Box™ breaks down the costs of a business loan and gives SMEs all the information they need to evaluate their options properly, create an accurate business case for their borrowing and make a fully informed decision about whether to borrow, how much, and from whom. This helps give certainty that the benefits of the loan will outweigh the costs.
What is Lend’s connection to SMART Box™?
Lend helps businesses access much-needed funding and supports greater transparency and clarity in small business lending. Several online lenders on our panel are signatories of the AFIA Code of Lending Practice which created SMART Box™.
Which lenders offer SMART Box™?
Several online lenders on Lend’s platform offer SMART Box™ comparison, including:
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