How Does the Advance Work?
Unlike business loans that require you to repay a fixed amount each month, a merchant advance involves allocating a percentage of your daily gross credit and debit card receipts to pay off the advance balance. The percentage remains constant, but the amount you pay toward settling the advance changes based on how much revenue you collected that day.
Services use one of two methods to collect that percentage. Some will retain the agreed upon percentage of daily receipts before depositing the remainder in your business bank account. Others will deposit all the receipts then initiate a draft to recover the percentage due. The latter ensures that you have a record in your bank statement identifying each payment made to the service.
Who Can Qualify?
Business owners with little to no collateral can qualify for this type of funding. Since the advance is based on your history with the merchant service, there is no need for it.
If your business or personal credit score is not the best, you are still a candidate for an advance. That’s great for business owners who have credit scores that would prevent them from securing business loans or lines of credit from banks and similar institutions.
You don’t necessarily need to be in business for a long time to qualify. What you do need is an established track record of generating revenue on a daily basis. For example, some merchant services will consider clients for advances if they have been in business for as little as two years and generate card transactions consistently during that time.
Is the Application Process Difficult?
Many business owners find the application process to be simpler than applying for business loans. You will still need documentation like information on revenue generation and collection, proof of identity, and proof that the business is an actual legal entity. You may need to supply copies of your most recent bank statements and the service may or may not secure copies of your credit reports from one or more bureaus.
How Much Can You Receive in Advance?
The amount of card transactions you generate on a regular basis along with your credit score will determine the maximum amount you can receive in advance. The goal is to ensure that the balance plus fees can be repaid within a reasonable amount of time. As your business volume increases, you’ll qualify for larger advances in the future.
Remember that the advances usually have to be repaid in full within two calendar years. It’s not unusual for merchants to request advances and agree to repaying the balance in as little as three months. The team at your service will work with you to determine the amount you can receive, the percentage that will be collected daily, and how long you will have to retire the debt.
What are Some of the Advantages of This Approach to Business Funding?
Speed is a definite benefit to merchant cash advances. The money could be in your bank account in two business days or less. Lower credit scores do not necessarily disqualify you. The application process is less complicated than many other financing options, and you are not locked into making the same fixed payment each month. Since the advance is paid off by allocating a percentage of the day’s receipts, you pay more on days when you do a lot of business volume and less on days when sales are down.
Are There Potential Drawbacks to Consider?
The fees associated with merchant cash advances are somewhat higher when compared to the costs of a standard business loan. The method of repayment also means less cash-flow is left to take care of day to day operating expenses.
Is a Merchant Cash Advance Right For You?
Only you can decide if this funding option is right for you. Talk with your card processor and get an idea of how much you can receive and the terms that come with the agreement. If you find that receiving a lump sum right now will help you take advantage of a lucrative opportunity or you need to pay off existing debt at once, this could be your best approach.