PSA: For COVID-19 Disaster Loan applications, use Chrome not Safari

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The SBA's new online COVID-19 loan form doesn't work properly in Safari.
The SBA's new online COVID-19 loan form doesn't work properly in Safari.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Here’s a tip for small-business owners trying to fill out the Small Business Administration’s new online COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program application: Use Google’s Chrome browser, not Safari.

Unfortunately, the online form for the SBA’s COVID-19 loans doesn’t function correctly using Apple’s browser.

In Safari, the multipage application won’t advance to the next page for mysterious reasons. The “Next” button at the bottom of the page remains grayed out no matter how many times you fill out the relevant fields on the page. However, the online application works fine in Chrome. (Cult of Mac didn’t test it using other browsers.)

The SBA’s new streamlined COVID-19 disaster loan form is like too many online forms and websites that don’t function correctly in Safari. As a general rule, if you run into trouble filling out information in Safari, switch to Chrome. It often works.

Sadly, web developers often treat Safari like a second-class citizen. Safari garners about a 16% share of web browser usage, according to StatCounter Global Stats. Meanwhile, Chrome — the internet’s most popular browser — commands about a 65% share.

SBA COVID-19 disaster loans

According to reports, the SBA is being besieged with applications for the loans as small businesses scramble to survive during the coronavirus-fueled economic shutdown. While big companies like Apple face daunting challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses face existential threats.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, small-business owners are flocking to the SBA’s COVID-19 loan program. But it’s not always smooth sailing. Wait times for phone help can take three hours or more. Many people complain online about encountering random crashes and freezes during the online application process. Worse yet, the problems often happen after they’ve spent hours filling in numbers and other details about their operations.

The SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance is part of the federal government’s emergency response to the COVID-19 disaster. Congress passed three stimulus bills to make much-needed cash available to America’s 30 million small businesses. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) aren’t new, but this is the first time a pandemic has been classified as a disaster, making businesses across the United States eligible to apply.

The SBA’s loans look pretty favorable:

  • Loans up to $2 million
  • No loan fees or prepayment fees
  • 30-year terms
  • Interest rates of 3.75% for small business and 2.75% for nonprofits
  • First month’s payments deferred for a full year
  • No obligation to take the loan

You can find more info at the SBA’s disaster assistance page.