What is a Merchant Cash Advance : Understanding the Fundamentals
February 8, 2023
A merchant cash advance (MCA) is a type of funding option for small businesses that provides access to working capital in exchange for a percentage of future credit card sales. In essence, a merchant cash advance is a cash loan that is repaid through a percentage of your daily credit card sales. It’s a popular alternative to traditional loans, especially for businesses that may have trouble qualifying for traditional financing options.
How Does a Merchant Cash Advance Work?
A merchant cash advance provider will purchase a portion of your future credit card sales at a discounted rate. In return, they’ll provide you with a lump sum of cash that you can use to cover operating expenses, invest in new equipment, or grow your business in other ways. The provider will then receive a percentage of your daily credit card sales until the advance is fully repaid.
The repayment amount is typically determined by a factor rate, which is a percentage of the advance amount. The factor rate, along with the length of the repayment period, will determine the total cost of the advance. The factor rate is typically higher than the interest rate charged on traditional loans, which reflects the higher risk associated with merchant cash advances.
Advantages of a Merchant Cash Advance
One of the biggest advantages of a merchant cash advance is that it’s easy to qualify for. Unlike traditional loans, merchant cash advances don’t require a personal guarantee, collateral, or a lengthy application process. In most cases, a merchant cash advance provider will only need to verify that you have a stable credit card sales history.
Another advantage is that repayment is flexible and tied to your daily sales. This means that you’ll only repay the advance when you’re making sales, which can be beneficial during slow periods. Additionally, because the repayment amount is a percentage of your sales, you won’t have to worry about making fixed payments that could be difficult to meet if your sales are down.
Finally, merchant cash advances are a fast and convenient way to access working capital. In most cases, you can receive funding within a few days, which can be a lifesaver for businesses that need cash quickly.
Disadvantages of a Merchant Cash Advance
One of the biggest disadvantages of a merchant cash advance is that it can be expensive. The factor rates charged by merchant cash advance providers are typically much higher than the interest rates charged on traditional loans. This means that you’ll pay more in fees and interest over the life of the advance.
Another disadvantage is that merchant cash advances are typically short-term, which means that you’ll need to find other sources of financing if you need more working capital in the future. Additionally, because the repayment is tied to your daily sales, you could end up paying more than you initially borrowed if your sales are higher than expected.
Finally, merchant cash advances can impact your credit score. Because merchant cash advances are considered a type of cash loan, they’re typically reported to the credit bureaus. If you don’t repay the advance on time, it could have a negative impact on your credit score.
In conclusion, a merchant cash advance is a fast and convenient way for small businesses to access working capital. It’s a good option for businesses that may have trouble qualifying for traditional financing options, but it’s important to consider the costs and potential drawbacks before deciding if a merchant cash advance is right for your business.