Small business owners continue to feel the pinch of the recession as, despite improvements in lending, banks are still restraining their small business lending.

More small business loans were made in May 2014 than in November 2007, according to the PayNet Small Business Lending Index. However, the rising number does not factor in the increase in small businesses operating during the same time period. The real growth is significantly lower than pre-recession levels, despite overall increases in banks’ reported lending (including to large businesses).

Those small business owners that successfully obtain traditional bank loans have reported that the process is more difficult than it was before the recession. The criteria for approval are more stringent than in the past, and credit limits are lower as well. In particular, female small business owners report a higher level of difficulty qualifying for bank loans to cover their costs.

To secure funding, small business owners without “bulletproof” credit will have to look for funding alternatives. Some companies may benefit from personal or angel investments and others may look for crowdfunding sources. If those options aren’t right for your small business, there are three other solutions to consider:

Merchant Cash Advances

When you finance through a merchant cash advance, you will receive a small amount of money and repay that plus a fixed premium. Payments, collected daily, are calculated on your daily credit card sales. Annual interest rates are higher than a business credit card but may still be less than you can expect to pay for a traditional small business loan. Credit card reader company Square will offer merchant cash advances through their new lending arm, Square Capital.

Unsecured Business Loan

An unsecured business loan is granted without pledging collateral and can allow you to borrow up to 90 percent of your gross monthly sales. You can be approved for an unsecured business loan immediately in order to continue operating without interruption, and you have the option to apply for a longer-term loan to reduce your interest rate.

Accounts Receivable Factoring

Accounts receivable factoring for small business is the debt-free way to access working capital on an ongoing basis. You can qualify for funding up to 90% of your open invoices, and because the factoring company collects directly from your customers you will not add debt to your balance sheet. Small business factoring is a great way to finance a start-up or to recover from financial difficulties and repair your credit rating for future financing.

Factor Finders’ accounts receivable factoring programs are an ideal option for small businesses in every industry, and it is easy to get started. Request a free online quote for small business factoring today and get a jump start on financial freedom.