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/images/money.jpgA handful of big technology vendors have announced zero-percent financing programs recently, including HP, Dell and Cisco.

(One Cisco partner who works with small business even recently pointed out to Channel Insider that with the zero-percent financing on a unified communications upgrade that he was able to offer to his customer Wolfgang Puck Coffee, that end customer ended up paying less per month for their new solution than they’d previously been paying for carrier services, making the purchase a no-brainer.)

And if you haven’t finished reading your Wall Street Journal today, check out this story about Dell and its financing programs focused on small businesses.

Among the facts in the story:

    • 22 percent of Dell’s small and medium-sized business customers (those with fewer than 500 employees) rely on Dell financing for purchases, compared with 17 percent two years ago.
    • Dell has $7 billion in credit available for small companies, and extends most of the credit itself rather than through third-party providers.

    The story notes that Dell has been trying to stimulate spending by small business customers during the last year by offering new zero-percent financing for some purchases of $25,000 or more, and has offered free computers to some businesses that buy other products.

    “The strategy of extending more financing may be risky at a time when many small businesses are struggling. And if credit markets don’t improve soon, some Dell customers may have trouble repaying their loans,” says Ray Boggs, an analyst with researcher IDC who studies technology purchases.

    Several vendors and distributors can help with financing to spur business spending again. A handful of such deals include McKesson and IBM on EMR, plus the ones from HP and Cisco, plus existing programs offered by distributors such as Tech Data and Ingram Micro.