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Is A Merchant Cash Advance A Good Source Of Financing For You?
Business loans are what business owners will turn to when they need financing to grow their business, but they aren’t the only financing option out there. Usually they’ree the most trusted financial option because they’re well regulated and usually can come with flexible repayment terms depending on what kind business owners qualify for. Unfortunately, some businesses simply don’t qualify for loans because they haven’t been around long enough or they just can’t find a bank whose loans offered match what they’re qualified for. But that’s where business owners may want to look into alternative options like merchant cash advances which can be easier to get than loans.
The Basics Of A Merchant Cash Advance
A merchant cash advance does have one similarity to a business loan in that there is a lender who will offer you a certain amount of funds that will usually be deposited in your business checking account, and you can use those funds for any purchase for your business. The funds will be paid back to the lender, but this is where merchant cash advances and loans differ considerably. A merchant cash advance is not repaid by you by paying a monthly amount till the end of the loan term to repay the loan plus interest. Instead, what the lender has actually done is made a purchase of future credit card sales, so what happens is each time your business makes a sale by credit card transaction, the merchant cash advance provider will collect a percentage of that sale to apply to the amount due on the advance. There are usually no due dates on when the advance has to be repaid; you just finish whenever your credit card sales have paid it off.
Merchant Cash Advances Are Not Factored Invoices
Another form of financing that although somewhat similar to a merchant cash advance but still quite different is invoice factoring. What invoice factoring does is purchase accounts receivable invoices similar to how a merchant cash advance does future credit card sales, except the purchase amount with invoice factoring is final and businesses do not repay the lump sum purchase to the factoring company. Basically, invoice factoring is purchasing existing customer bills that just haven’t been paid yet. Merchant cash advances are based on projections and are assuming that credit card sales will be high enough to pay back the advanced amount in a fairly timely manner.
Risks Involved With Merchant Cash Advances
Merchant cash advances are generally very easy to qualify for and you can get your funds quickly, but there are some risks. One risk is that the final amount you pay back is calculated by a factor rate instead of an interest rate, which while different advances will have different factor rates, the problem is they do not amortize like loans. Sometimes you will end up paying more back to the merchant cash advance provider than you would a bank. Another thing you should be aware of is that the percentage rates of credit card sales that get collected by the provider could be high and you may find your future cash flow decreasing because of it. Generally, contracts that come with merchant cash advances forbid borrowers from trying to encourage customers to pay with cash or alternatives to credit or debit cards, and doing so could trigger a default. Also, paying off merchant cash advances will not improve either your business credit or personal credit because it will not be reported to any credit bureaus.
The bottom line is merchant cash advances certainly can be reliable for some businesses who have constant credit card sales and who may find them easier to work with than bank loans. On the other hand, other businesses are not too well suited to handle the risks that could come if their credit card sales were to slow down. It’s important if you go with a merchant cash advance that you know all the small print and read it thoroughly before submitting any signatures on the contract.