Business Loan Interest Rates: What You Need to Know

19 Apr 2024

When it comes to business loans, the interest rate is perhaps the most critical factor determining the cost of the loan. In India, interest rates on business loans can vary significantly, influenced by a range of factors including the lending institution, the type of loan, and the applicant’s creditworthiness. Here, we’ll break down the essentials of business loan interest rates, how they are calculated, and their impact on loan repayment.

What are Business Loan Interest Rates?

Business loan interest rates are essentially the cost you pay for borrowing money. They are usually expressed as a percentage of the principal amount that is to be repaid annually. These rates can either be fixed, remaining the same throughout the term of the loan, or variable, fluctuating with market conditions.

How are Interest Rates Determined?

The interest rates on business loans in India are influenced by several key factors:

  • Base Rate: This is the minimum rate set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) below which banks are not allowed to lend. The base rate is adjusted periodically and sets the benchmark for interest rates on loans.
  • Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR): Introduced in 2016, MCLR is a method to set the lending rate which considers the marginal cost or the additional or incremental cost of arranging one more rupee to the prospective borrower.
  • Repo Rate: The rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks. Changes in the repo rate can influence the interest rates on loans, including business loans.

Impact on Loan Repayment

The interest rate on your loan determines the amount of your monthly repayments and the total amount you will end up paying back to the lender, including both the principal and the interest. Lower interest rates mean lower monthly payments and a lower total cost of the loan, making the loan more affordable in the long run.

Understanding these elements is crucial for any business owner considering a loan, as it directly affects financial planning and management.

Types of Business Loans Available and Their Interest Rates

Business loans in India are diversified, each tailored to meet different business needs. From loans offering low interest to those structured for quick approval, understanding the various types of loans and their corresponding interest rates can help business owners make informed decisions.

Term Loans

Term loans are a common form of financing for Indian businesses, providing a lump sum of cash upfront, which is then paid back with interest over a predetermined period. These loans are generally divided into short-term, medium-term, and long-term loans, depending on the repayment schedule.

  • Interest Rates: Interest rates for these loans can vary based on the loan duration and the borrower’s credit profile, typically ranging from 11% to 18%.

Government-Backed Loans

The Indian government offers several schemes to support businesses, especially SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), providing loans that often feature lower interest rates compared to commercial loans.

  • Interest Rates: These can vary, but are generally designed to be lower to encourage business growth and entrepreneurship.

Business Lines of Credit

A business line of credit provides flexible borrowing options, allowing businesses to draw and repay funds as needed, making it a practical solution for managing cash flow and unexpected expenses.

  • Interest Rates: Rates for lines of credit are usually variable and can range from 10% to 22%, depending on the financial health of the business and market conditions.

Equipment Financing

This type of loan is used to purchase business-related equipment. Borrowers pay back the principal and interest over time, typically aligned with the lifespan of the equipment.

  • Interest Rates: These loans typically have interest rates ranging from 8% to 30%, heavily dependent on the type of equipment and the borrower’s credit standing.

Factors Influencing Business Loan Interest Rates

Several key factors can influence the interest rates on business loans, essential for securing a low-interest business loan.

Credit Score

A high credit score can significantly reduce interest rates, indicating lower risk to lenders.

Business Financials

Strong business financials can lead to better interest rates, as they reassure lenders of your ability to repay the loan.


Providing collateral can often secure lower interest rates by reducing the lender’s risk.

Market Conditions

Current economic factors and market conditions also play a crucial role in determining interest rates.

How to Secure the Best Interest Rates

Achieving the best possible interest rates can lead to substantial financial savings and contribute to business growth.

Improve Your Credit Score

Maintaining a good credit score is crucial. This includes managing your debts responsibly and ensuring timely payments.

Shop Around and Compare Offers

It is vital to compare rates from various lenders, including banks, NBFCs, and online lenders, to find the best terms.

Negotiate with Lenders

If you have a strong credit or financial standing, negotiating with lenders could result in more favorable loan terms.


Commercial loan interest rates and securing a low-interest business loan are paramount for any entrepreneur in India. By understanding the types of loans available, the factors influencing interest rates, and strategies to secure favorable terms, businesses can effectively manage their financial health and support long-term growth.

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