Although loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) can be difficult to get, they are also some of the cheapest loans available to small business owners. If your startup is strapped for cash and you’d rather not pay interest rates of 20 percent or more, you might want to consider applying for a small business loan from the SBA. The application can be time-consuming and the rewards are only doled out to a lucky few, but if you have a good credit score and a solid game plan, you might reap the rewards.

There are three main categories of loans provided by the SBA. These are the SBA 7(A) loan for startups, the SBA 504 loan, and SBA microloans. As the owner of a startup, the most relevant may very well be the first of the three. The amount of the loan can total as much as $5 million, although the average company awarded an SBA 7(A) will receive a little over $300,000. There are three subcategories that pertain to the what exactly you apply the funds to. You can choose to use this money for real estate with a term of up to 25 years, equipment with a maximum term of 10 years, and working capital for at most 7 years. You’ll be asked to provide a down payment of 10 percent, as well as collateral to secure the loan.

The best thing about SBA 7(A) loans is the extremely low interest rates. You’ll most likely be paying base rate with the addition of a markup of around 2.5 percent. That’s not bad, and it’s something worth putting in some serious effort for. The main downside of this small business loan option is the sheer amount of effort that startup owners must expend, sometimes to no avail. Nonetheless, whether or not you are actually awarded an SBA 7(A) loan, you’ll learn from the process of applying and you might have better luck the next time you try.

Another way in which your startup could get a small business loan is by going through Smarter Finance USA. You can choose between a term of five years or an open line of credit with features rates that vary between 7 and 10 percent. As with the SBA 7(A) loans, it’s of the utmost importance to have a good credit score.

As you can see, a small business loan is within reach as long as you pay attention to your credit rating and be willing to spend a lot of energy applying. With patience and persistence, you may be able to secure a loan for several years at gloriously low interest rates.