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A merchant cash advance acts as financing that lets a company sell some of its future sales in exchange for funding. This financing gives your company funds that allow you to pay operational expenses and to expand as a business. You have a few ways to repay the line of financing, which would depend on your type of business.

At first, merchant cash advances got used to finance future sales with credit cards. For this reason, most of the clients for merchant cash advances were restaurants and retailers. The financial product evolved to the point where lenders can finance any type of future sales.

Merchant Cash Advances: How Do They Work?

Many lenders consider the transactions to be a purchase of any future sales as opposed to a loan. Lenders determine how much funding to give you by looking at your credit card sales, bank statements, commercial sales, and other types of information. These reports give the lender sales information, which will tell them about your business potential.

How Lenders Determine the Funding Amount

Lenders determine the amount of your funding with a combination of sales and the risk of your account. Many lenders advance an amount between 80 and 150 percent of your monthly revenues.

The amount you will need to repay gets determined by multiplying the amount of your financing by what’s known as your return factor. The return factor can be anywhere from 1.09 to 1.50. A $200,000 transaction with a return factor of 1.09 would have you repaying $209,000 over a certain period. You will be given a payback period of anywhere between 3 to 15 months. The funding portion of your transaction is a lot more simple. Once the financing gets approved, the funds will get deposited into your account. The website NerdWallet not only gives you more information on calculating the cost of a merchant cash advance but also has an APR calculator that lets you figure out the real cost of this type of funding.

Paying Back Your Funding

You and your company can repay your funds in a few ways. For example, if you funded your credit card sales, your company repays the lender through a portion of your daily sales. This percentage gets called the retrieval rate. This rate can come out to be anywhere from 8 to 13 percent of your daily sales. You pay back the financing through split processing with the processor of your credit cards.

If you do not finance through credit card sales, you repay the funding by having your lender deduct your payments out of your bank account through direct withdrawal. Some merchant cash advances get called ACH loans. You might make payments on a daily or weekly basis.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Merchant Cash Advances

There are some distinct advantages to taking out merchant cash advances. One of the main disadvantages consists of the financing cost. Anyone considering taking out a merchant cash advance should know that this option is really expensive. Only consider this option if you have run out of other alternatives. Only business owners who can both grow their business and pay back their lender should seriously consider this type of financing.

Another downside to taking out a merchant cash advance is that they come with a fixed value. They act like a term loan. When at all possible, never solve a cash flow problem with a fixed value product. Business owners that have cash flow problems might find that a merchant cash advance solves their problems in the short term. However, they often find that they have to refinance the credit line a few times. Oftentimes, it’s much better to finance your cash flow with an actual business line of credit.

A merchant cash advance also has some advantages. Many business owners find that they can obtain the funds rather quickly. You can also qualify for a merchant cash advance a lot easier than for a traditional business loan. These two upsides can make taking out a merchant cash advance an attractive option if you have an urgent need for funding.

Because of the advantages and disadvantages of merchant cash advances, you should speak with either an accountant or another type of financial expert to make sure that you’re making the best decision for you and your business. Not doing so can put you in an endless cycle of debt that you may find it hard to get yourself out of in a timely manner.

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