A merchant cash advance (MCA) is not synonymous with a loan. As the name implies, it is a cash advance that is dependent upon a business’ credit card sales. The proceeds from those sales are deposited into a merchant account. A benefit of an MCA is the fast delivery of funds. Typically, after applying and receiving approval for an MCA, a business owner can expect delivery of the funds into the business’ checking account within 24 hours.
Merchant cash advance providers are different from bankers and other lenders regarding their evaluation of credit and risk factors. They determine a business’ ability to repay an advance in a timely manner by evaluating their daily credit card receipts. Such a practice could lead to higher rates compared to those provided by other financial lenders. That is why you should give careful consideration to the terms of an MCA. Having a more thorough understanding of it should give you an idea as to whether an MCA will meet your business’ needs.
A Holdback Explained
Not everyone is familiar with the word “holdback” as it relates to an MCA. A holdback is an amount that is applied toward your MCA. Calculated as a percentage, a holdback represents a portion of your daily credit card sales. Generally, it has a range of 10 to 20 percent. And, it usually remains the same during the life of the MCA.
Since repayment of the MCA is dependent upon a percentage of the funds in the merchant account on any given day, it makes sense that the greater the credit card transactions, then the quicker the MCA will be repaid. In other words, as credit card transactions increase, then so will the withdrawal. And, the same holds true for the opposite.
Holdback vs Interest Rate
Interest rates and holdbacks should not be considered as the same. The interest rate on an MCA that is charged to a business owner differs from the holdback rate. The amount charged by the typical MCA provider is known as the factor rate. What is unique about this rate is that its repayment does not occur over the life of the MCA. Generally, the factor rate of an MCA could range into the triple digits. This rate is determined by your MCA provider.
The Need for a Merchant Cash Advance Examined
If your business needs cash fast in order to seize an opportunity, then an MCA probably is your most logical choice. However, you should also make certain that an MCA is your most logical financial choice. Although the qualifications are more relaxed for a merchant cash advance, you should realize that a merchant cash advance can be costly. With that being said, an MCA has proven to be a viable choice for quite a few business owners. They are able to gain access to the funds necessary for the operation of their businesses.
It should be noted that since a merchant cash advance is not a loan, it is not reported to the business credit bureaus. As such, a merchant cash advance will not build or strengthen your business credit file. Also, since the varied rates can be so much greater than other financial options, all of the terms should be understood prior to placing your signature on a merchant cash advance.
An Alternative to a Merchant Cash Advance
A short-term loan could be another viable option for many small business owners. Those owners who have unblemished credit, should be able to attain a business line-of-credit. By doing so, they are able to address their short-term needs for extra cash.
OnDeck is the ideal source for a short-term loan. Their short-term loans can have a range of just a few months. And, their terms are more in-sync with what a small business owner is more accustomed to. Depending upon the loan itself, either daily or weekly payments could be made. This is especially beneficial to the business owner because it allows the debt to be distributed over the course of the month, as opposed to making one large payment toward the end of the month. And, the payments are reported to the business credit bureaus by OnDeck. Such reporting could help you to create a healthy business credit file.