We’ve all heard of personal cash advances where people get money ahead of a paycheck, and in exchange they pay interest on the advanced cash. A Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) serves a similar purpose, but instead of a person getting cash for individual reasons, it’s a business owner that gets cash on future sales of their credit/debit card transactions. Businesses who do a lot of credit/debit sales will find that a Merchant Cash Advance is an often ideal loan IF they have poor credit, no collateral to secure a more traditional loan, or need money in a hurry. These types of advances are often processed within 24 hours, giving businesses the quick cash they need to continue operating.
One thing to be aware of is that a MCA is usually going to have higher interest than traditional types of business loans. And the merchants themselves are getting something that isn’t really considered a “loan” but a financing arrangement that allows them to get the money they would have earned anyway early.
Calculating A Merchant Cash Advance
Lenders will calculate a merchant cash advance via the receipts a business can show them documenting their daily intake via credit or debit receipts. From daily credit and/or debit receipts, a lender can determine how much the business typically takes in from this type of sale and whether or not it’s worth it to lend money. Once a business gets their MCA, they will have to deal with something called a “holdback.” This is the percentage of daily sales that will go straight to the MCA lender. It ranges from 10 to 20%, and it cuts into bottom line daily sales, so it’s important to weigh whether or not you can afford to lose that percentage of sales a day to repaying the MCA. The great news is that the more sales you get, and the higher the percentage you pay daily, the sooner you will be able to repay the MCA.
Should You Take Out A Merchant Cash Advance
Just like individuals get into bad financial situations, businesses can also face dire times. Business owners who have bad credit and limited or no collateral will often have very few options if they are strapped for cash. So an MCA can be appealing to this type of business owner who needs a quick influx of cash but doesn’t qualify for more traditional business loans. A MCA isn’t going to impact your credit, either, because it’s not seen as a loan, but as an advance on what is YOUR cash anyway. It’s essentially your sales history that will help lenders determine how much you can borrow, so in the end, you’re borrowing your own cash.
NOTE: Because a merchant cash advance is not a loan and providers do not report your payment history to the business credit bureaus, it does not help build or strengthen a business credit profile. Additionally, because rates vary from provider to provider, and can be much higher than other types of financing, it’s important to understand all the terms before signing on the dotted line.
If you have a strong credit rating, you can qualify for lower interest rates on short-term loans instead of MCAs. If you don’t, then it’s obvious that the merchant cash advance is going to be an appealing option if you don’t have another way out. Sometimes things go wrong in business just like in someone’s personal life, so if you’re in dire need of cash, a merchant cash advance may be the answer. If you have a choice, though, OnDeck offers a short-term loan that’s going to give you a very appealing interest rate that far beats that of a merchant cash advance. Not only does OnDeck’s loan have a lower interest rate than that of merchant cash advances, but you’ll also benefit from repaying this type of loan from OnDeck, as good credit history will be reflected through a short-term loan. In the end, an OnDeck short-term loan can really bolster your business credit.