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Merchant Cash Advance: The 2020 Guide

EXCELCAP_ MERCHANT CASH ADVANCE

What is a merchant cash advance?

As opposed to a traditional loan where a lender provides funds in exchange for an interest-based repayment plan, a merchant cash advance (or MCA), sometimes called split funding, is a purchase of future credit and/or debit card sales in exchange for a fee.

In addition to this, a MCA is generally much faster than a traditional loan, with the ability to be approved and have your account funded in as little as 24 hours in some cases.

And you can use split funding for virtually anything, including:

  • Inventory purchases
  • Equipment upgrades
  • Hiring and training
  • Payroll
  • Taxes

For those who need capital fast, who don’t have great credit, or don’t have any applicable collateral that could be placed down to secure a traditional loan, an MCA may be the perfect funding solution.

As small business financing alternatives go, split funding is one of the most convenient when it comes to repayment.

MERCHANT CASH ADVANCE

How a merchant cash advance works

An MCA is an advance on future credit card sales. Therefore, it’s best for businesses who function mostly off credit and debit card sales.

What is convenient about split funding is the advance is repaid, typically via an ACH or automatic withdrawal, based on a percentage of those daily sales. The amount which is automatically paid towards the loan is typically called the “holdback” amount.

That means if you have a dip in regular sales, the amount taken out for those days will also be reduced, making it easier to pay back the advance when business is down.

The most unique aspect of an MCA is that it doesn’t use a typical APR interest fee but rather what is typically called a factor rate.

Click here to apply for a merchant cash advance and find out what your options are: Apply Now


What is a factor rate?

The factor rate, which takes the place of interest as the primary fee associated with MCA’s, typically ranges from anywhere between 1.14 and 1.48.

By multiplying your loan amount by the factor rate, you’ll have a rough estimate of the total amount you’re expected to pay once you’re done repaying your MCA.

For example, if you get an advance of $25,000, and your factor rate is 1.3, you’ll pay $32,500 before paying off the advance.

The factor rate associated with split funding is generally considered to be steep compared to the interest on something such as an unsecured business loan.

However, it trades increased fees (in some but not all cases, and depending on the lender) for hyper-convenience, speed, and reduced credit requirements.


Example of a Merchant Cash Advance

Let’s take a closer look at how an MCA works with an example:

MERCHANT CASH ADVANCE EXAMPLE

Jerrett, the owner of a local cafe, needs $20,000 for the purchase of new high-grade barista equipment and a few additional hires to meet a recent increase to traffic at his location.

Jerrett doesn’t have much business credit history, only having been in business at his location for about a year. So, he can’t depend on a bank loan to get him out of his pinch.

Instead, he decides to apply for a merchant cash advance. Because he has the necessary credit card sales, so he’s approved for the $20,000 advance and is off to the races. He gets all the equipment he needs and gets some help around the cafe. Business is booming.

Now that the advance has been issued, he can begin paying it back with a percentage of his regular credit card sales.

If his factor rate is 1.25, on $20,000 he’ll be paying back a total of $25,000. The repayment period on an MCA is typically between 3 and 12 months, all depending on how high your regular credit card sales are.

However, because the repayment period is based on the volume of credit card sales, it doesn’t affect how much you pay. Instead, your regular holdback amount is based on a set percentage decided by the lender.

Let’s say your holdback percentage is 10%. If you average $20,000 in monthly credit card sales, you’d pay about $65 a day ($2,000 total over a month) on average based on that day’s sales towards the advance and have it paid back in full within about 10 months.

The exact method which is used to repay an MCA varies, so in the next section, we’ll quickly cover each of them.


Ways to set up a merchant cash advance

There are 3 ways that repayment on a merchant cash advance can be set up. Here’s a rundown on the 3 methods:

1. Direct split

With this method, the lender uses one of several trusted credit card processors to place a “split” on your credit card sales (hence why it’s sometimes referred to as split funding), directing the percentage notated in your agreement from your credit card sales.

Each time you batch out, that percentage is automatically removed behind the scenes and you receive your deposit in exactly the same way as you usually would with zero delays.

2. Lockbox

If you’d prefer to not change your payment processor, or your merchant processor has early termination fees you’d prefer to avoid, this may be a more preferable method.

With lockbox funding, instead of switching merchant accounts a lockbox account, also known as a bridge account, is set up to split your credit and debit batches.

A lockbox account is a typical bank account which you’re given credentials to, however, with your lockbox account, each time a batch is settled the account automatically “splits” the amount by sending the designated repayment percentage via ACH to the corresponding account and deposits the rest of your amount into the account for your use.

The only drawback with this method vs. a direct split through a credit card processor is that there is typically a 24-48-hour delay in the typical amount of time it takes for you to receive your deposit after batching.

To set up a lockbox account, you’ll be asked to sign the lockbox form given by your MCA provider. Once your bank letter arrives in the mail for the lockbox account, the only thing left to do is call your card provider to have your deposits redirected to the lockbox account (which typically takes up to 48 hours).

3. Variable ACH

The final way to set up an MCA is as a variable ACH.

This is ideal when your merchant processor isn’t already one of the provider’s friendly accounts (i.e. a direct split won’t work) and you as the business owner don’t want to deal with the 24-48-hour delay between when your batches are settled and when the MCA holdback percentage is removed (as in a lockbox account).

A variable ACH requires your MCA provider’s collections department to have access to your merchant processor’s login portal. Your provider will log in to your processor’s portal each to check your batch amount and then issue an ACH transfer for the holdback amount.

This method of repayment requires that your provider always has access to your merchant processor portal, otherwise the account is considered to be in default.

It’s generally harder to be approved for a variable ACH as, unlike when using split funding or a lockbox account, variable ACH approval is dependent largely upon your average ledger balance.

In other words, while you can be approved for both split funding and the lockbox method with a high number of non-sufficient funds (NSF’s) or overdrafts, with a variable ACH your average balance must be high to ensure that the full holdback amount can be collected regularly.

Click here to apply for a merchant cash advance and find out what your options are: Apply Now


Pros and cons of business merchant cash advances

Here are the primary benefits, and drawbacks, of a split funding:

As a merchant cash advance is a unique small business financing solution, it has a unique collection of pros and cons which are important to review before deciding if it’s the ideal solution for your needs.

Pros

  • Get funds fast: An MCA is a good idea if you need cash fast as you can have the funds within your account within 1-2 business days. As opposed to a traditional loan, this makes an MCA lightning fast.
  • No collateral: They don’t require traditional collateral, instead using your future credit card sales as a kind of “soft” collateral. That means you don’t have to risk losing something valuable such as your property or important equipment in the case of defaulting on the loan.
  • Good credit not required: Depending on the lender, fair or even bad credit is acceptable for an MCA. This makes it an invaluable funding solution for business owners who don’t have the credit to be approved for any kind of business loan.
  • Repayment terms fluctuate with business: If business is down, your payment goes down with it. This makes split funding one of the most flexible and convenient small business funding solutions available.

Con: The factor rate can be high

An MCA offers several significant benefits. However, every funding solution has both pros and cons, and a merchant cash advance is no exception.

However, while many funding solutions have several different drawbacks, an MCA really only has one, though it can be a big one.

The factor rate on split funding can be very high, as low as an equivalent 15% interest in some cases, but as high as triple digits in others depending on various factors.

For that reason, it’s important to know what the terms are of your advance going in, how much you’re paying and are able to pay, and whether it’s worth it for you.

It may be the perfect vehicle to get you out of a tough spot, help you buy new equipment that can drive sales, or help you hire the seasonal assistance you need to make full use of a busy season. Whatever the case, weigh the cost and benefits to decide if an MCA or another funding vehicle is the ideal fit for you.


Who is a merchant cash advance best for?

Still wondering if a merchant cash advance is the right funding solution for you and your business.

Consider these factors when deciding whether an MCA is a good fit. It’s ideal for those who:

  • Accept credit card sales: If you accept credit and/or debit card sales, split funding may offer a more convenient repayment plan than a traditional loan.
  • Need a fast funding solution: If your funding needs are an emergency, an MCA is one of the best.
  • Don’t have great credit or enough credit history: Split funding doesn’t require great or even good credit, making it accessible to many who otherwise wouldn’t be able to qualify for a traditional business loan.
  • Don’t have available collateral to offer: Similarly, if you don’t have collateral to offer for a traditional bank loan, you won’t be able to qualify for a typical bank loan. However, an MCA doesn’t require typical hard collateral such as property or liquid cash.

How to apply for a merchant cash advance

Because a merchant cash advance doesn’t require good credit or a hard form of collateral, it’s generally easier to be approved for one vs. a typical loan which requires sufficient proof that you’ll be able to repay the debt.

However, there are still qualification requirements and an application process you should be aware of. The more you know, the more likely you’ll be to get approved and the better terms you’ll be able to get.


How to qualify

The first and most basic eligibility requirement of an MCA is which has been mentioned already: a large portion of your revenue must come from credit card sales.

Additional qualification requirements include:

  • In business at least two months
  • $7,500 or more in monthly credit card sales
  • $10,000 or more in gross monthly sales
  • No open bankruptcies

Merchant cash advance: Good or bad credit vs. credit card sales volume: Which is more important?

We touched on an MCA’s credit card sales volume requirements in this and previous sections as well as its credit requirements.

However, if you’re already convinced an MCA is the ideal financing option for your business and you skipped to this section to see how to qualify, keep this in mind:


Credit is not the most important factor, your credit card sales volume is.

With a merchant cash advance, your credit card sales volume triples as:

  1. The primary qualification factor
  2. The main factor which decides how much you can be approved for, and
  3. Your estimated future credit card sales volume serves as a kind of soft collateral that guarantees to a lender that they’ll be able to collect on the advance

All of this taken together makes your credit card sales volume by far the most important factor for approval.


How to apply

If you’ve been operating in business for more than two months and meet the monthly sales requirements, acquiring a merchant cash advance is a simple matter of being approved.

To be approved for split funding, you’ll simply need to submit an application along with four months of bank and credit card processing statements.

However, in addition to this, you’ll want to gather several documents that may be requested after applying for approval.

A lender will review your credit card processing and bank statements to see that you fulfill the minimum monthly sales numbers. If you qualify, they’ll typically request additional documentation to finalize the approval.

Documents you’ll want to have in order to streamline approval include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Voided business check
  • Credit score
  • Business tax returns

Merchant cash advance alternatives

As we’ve reviewed throughout this guide, a merchant cash advance has several notable benefits.

However, if the tradeoff isn’t to your liking, it’s worth considering an alternative funding method. No matter what it is you need to pay for, the options below are fast and allow approval without perfect credit.


Term loan

Short-term and medium-term loans are closest to a traditional bank loan in that you receive a lump sum in exchange for repayment with interest. The repayment term on short-term loans is typically between 3 months and 2 years and medium-term loans up 5 years.


Business line of credit

With a business line of credit, you get access to a pool of funds which you can tap into whenever the need arises. And, provided you pay back what you borrow, you can then tap into that line of credit again.

Learn more about business lines of credit here.


Get the funds your business needs– fast– with a merchant cash advance

A merchant cash advance is both a fast and convenient funding solution.

In addition to this, it’s an ideal source of extra capital for business owners who either don’t have stellar credit or any form of hard collateral to offer and therefore wouldn’t be approved for a bank loan.

Traditional bank financing takes months for approval. So, whether you need funding fast or need access to capital and don’t qualify for a traditional bank loan, an MCA is an effective source of additional capital worth considering.

Click here to apply for a merchant cash advance and find out what your options are: Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a merchant cash advance a safe option?


Before signing a contract with an MCA provider, it’s important to first make sure that an MCA is the right funding method for you and your situation.

An MCA is based on your business’s regular flow of income, so if your business income is in a volatile period, a loan would likely be a better option for you. 

However, if your business income is consistent, even growing, then an MCA may be a good option for you and your business. 

What happens if you default on a merchant cash advance? 


If you find yourself in a position where you can’t pay back your MCA, start by looking at your contract to see what options are available to you in default as it all depends on the advance, provider, and your particular situation.

MCAs are considered a purchase agreement, not a loan, so they’re not subject to the same usury laws as typical business loans. Depending on your provider, they’ll have various options and actions they may take if you breach your contract and go into default. 

For example, your provider may sue for breach of contract, though defaulting doesn’t necessarily mean you breached your contract. For example, if you defaulted because your business closed down, that isn’t a breach of contract and there would be no recourse whatsoever.

If you’re having trouble paying your MCA, give your provider a call to ask what your options are for setting up a revised repayment plan and getting back to current.

Split Funding: What are the Benefits for Your Business?

Split Funding: What are the Benefits for Your Business? | Excel Capital Management

No matter what the industry type, almost all small business run into a point over time where they need additional working capital. Whether you need the working capital to cover basic business expenses during a slow season, a little extra cash to take care of payroll, money to purchase bulk inventory, or anything else pertaining to the business – access to funding is crucial for any business owner. Today, let’s discuss on probably, the most popular, alternative funding option out there, the cash advance business loan.

 

What is Split Funding and How Does it Work?

wealth | excel capital managementSplit Funding is more commonly know as a Merchant Cash Advance. This type of business funding solutions is a flexible and cash-flow friendly way to access additional working capital for inventory purchases, equipment upgrades, hiring, employee training, payroll, taxes, and anything else your business could use the money for. Split Funding is especially great for businesses whose owners value having the amount they remit fluctuate with their daily payment card receivables.  In simpler terms, a flat percentage of your business’ credit and debit sales are automatically remitted daily. If your business does a large amount of sales one day, a larger payment is taken out to pay back the advance. If a small amount of sales is done that particular day, you pay less. There is no fixed payment amount or maturity date. A larger repayment amount is sent on busy sales days than on slow days, and the process stops as soon as the advance is paid back in full.

 

What are the Perks of Split Funding for Small Business Owners?

scale | excel capital managementThe primary purpose of Split Funding is to service the financial needs of small to medium sized business owners. However, there are unique advantages included in the service that tailors to a specific business owners need. Here are some of those advantages:

  • Unlike traditional business loans, funds from split funding disburse in as little as three to four business days.
  • Split Funding does not require a minimum credit score to qualify. Therefore, any company struggling with a weak credit profile qualifies for the funds they need.
  • Traditional business loans typically require some form of collateral to secure a loan. The collateral requirement causes many business owners to face the fact they may lose precious assets in case they cannot make their payment. However, split funding does not require any personal collateral to qualify. Business owners who have limited assets never need to worry about losing their collateral.
  • Since there is no fixed payment with split funding, business owners who run into financial trouble or weakening sales do not carry the burden of a fixed remittance.
  • Since payments come from a small percentage of credit and debit sales, a business owner will actually see their payment decrease during lean times. There is no advantage quite like this with traditional business loans.

 

 

 

What Can Working Capital Acquired Through Split Funding Be Used For?

As mentioned in our opening paragraph, many business owners obtain funding at some point in their business’ lifecycle to help out with various needs. The great thing about split funding is that it can be used for virtually anything as long as it pertains to the business. Here are some common uses:

Business Expenses

By acquiring working capital for your business, you will be able to pay for things that may have not been affordable in the past. You may need office supplies, new computer software, or you may have a few bills to pay. These payments can all be made possible with working capital.

New Hires and Employee Training

Once you business starts to boom, you may need some extra help. Maybe you want to hire additional cashiers for your store. Maybe your restaurant needs additional wait staff or hosts. Maybe your medical office needs another receptionist. Maybe you even need to hire a few accountants to help take care of your finances. Additionally, many of these employees will need adequate training. Working capital can be used for all of these things!

Inventory and Equipment Purchases

Many business owners choose to use working capital to take advantage of bulk pricing on inventory and equipment. Similarly, equipment such as machines, computers, vehicles, and more can reach well into the thousands of dollars. Because many vendors require a large upfront payment for this type of pricing on inventory and equipment, working capital gives business owners the funds they need to purchase the items they need before it’s too late.

Unforeseen Problems

Unfortunately, with every business, problems do arise. Equipment fails, vehicles breakdown, natural disasters occur, employees leave. The headaches are unforeseeable and can be expensive, but working capital can help to cover the costs in a matter of a few days.  

Marketing & Advertising

One of the most important things you can do is market and advertise your business to the world. Website development, paid ads, and social media marketing is a big job, and hiring a team of professionals can be pricey. Having enough working capital in order to cover these expenses can help tremendously.  

Research & Development

Constantly developing your products, goods, and services is essential for staying ahead of the competition in your industry. Additionally, doing the proper market research and analyzing your target audience and consumers is key to knowing what your customers want. Working capital can certainly be used to help fund this process.  

Product Manufacturing

Similar to research and development, product manufacturing may be a constant need depending on your industry and business capital may be needed during slow periods or when business is so great, that you must quickly meet the demand.  

Office Space & Business Locations

Maybe you need an office space or facility in order to properly operate. Working capital can be used to acquire the appropriate space during the startup face or shortly thereafter.

 

What’s Needed To Qualify and Apply?

office | excel capital management

Split Funding is fairly easy to qualify for! Most lenders generally only require that the business have at least two months of operating history, documented gross monthly sales of $10,000 or more, $7,500 or more in monthly credit card sales, and no open bankruptcies. As you can see, if you business is out of the startup phase, qualifying for this business funding options is simple. After this criteria is met, the documentation you must provide is simply a one-page application, four months of business bank statements, and four months of business credit card statements. Most business owners receive a call with an approval within 24 hours and are funded in as little as 3 business days!

 

 Complete our online application and see how much you can be approved for: Apply Now

Truck Overhaul Financing: How It Can Help Your Business

Truck Overhaul Financing: How It Can Help Your Business | Excel Capital Management

The trucking industry can be a highly competitive and taxing. Training drivers to operate new equipment and trucks, the length of your payment terms with various vendors, the price of fuel, and maintenance are all expenses that need to be considered. From driving through hilly terrain to hauling heavy loads, a lot of stress is put on your truck’s engine. Despite staying on top of fixing small problems before they become bigger problems you will eventually have to put money towards a major fix. This is where truck overhaul financing can help.

While you should take your truck to a shop for analysis, you can also use your senses (sight, hearing, smell, and touch) to monitor their condition. If your truck is showing any of these signs, it could mean that it’s time for an overhaul:

  • Increased oil consumption: This is caused if the valve guides are worn, or if there’s too much space between the valve stems and guides, or if the valve guide seals are worn, missing, broken or not installed correctly. The engine may still have good compression, but it will use a lot of oil.
  • Excessive Exhaust: Since they positioned in the back of the truck, your tailpipes can go unnoticed. However, knowing if it blows excessive smoke, that’s a good indication that it’s time for an engine rebuild. Thick and dark is another clue. Just keep an eye on the tailpipe and take notice of any unusual smoke or a larger amount of it is coming out of your tailpipe.
  • Black, blue, or white exhaust: See if your truck is emitting exhaust that is blue, black or white in color.
  • Water in the oil: If there’s water in the oil, it will create a foam or gunk on the fill cap or the dipstick. Water that has formed on the dipstick will also cause rust to develop.
  • Engine knocking: Listen for changes in the way your trucks sounds when running. Rough running and pinging are both signs. If you ever hear a sound coming from your engine that sounds bad, it would have to be the knocking sound that gets louder when you rev the engine. This can sound like someone is actually knocking on your engine. This sound is not just annoying, but not a good indicator. It is not normal and sometimes it can lead to other auto problems if not addressed properly.
  • Oil pressure gauge: Even if the gauge isn’t calibrated perfectly,  look out for any noticeable change in its reading.
  • Sludge: If you notice oil sludge on your oil pin when you clean and replace your oil, then you know your engine is not working well. Oil or coolant sludge is not just gross, it’s also a sure sign that you will need an engine overhaul in the immediate future. Sludge is wasted oil or coolant that is not going to be used. Plus it can cause issues that may make your engine not run very well.
  • Overheating oil: Oil that’s overheating smells like burning oil.
  • Reduction in  acceleration: This is a sign of loss of cylinder compression.
  • Low fuel economy: Fuel is be pricey and can be a nuisance if you constant have to refill our tank, especially during long distance hauls. When the engine is slow or not working well, it can uses a lot more gas just to run.
  • Low oil pressure: This happens when the oil pump does not create pressure, and as a result, oil doesn’t all of the components. It’s often due to worn rod bearings or a broken oil pump.

Truck Overhaul Financing Options

Overhauling an engine can be costly and you may need additional working capital to help. The following are some of the trucking overhaul financing options available:

  • Equipment Financing: Used to help business owners purchase any type of equipment needed to run the business. The loan amount is dependent upon the type of equipment needed, as the repayment term is usually as long as the expected life of the piece of equipment and if it is used or new.
  • Merchant Cash Advance (Split Funding): Transactions that are collected through a set percentage of your Visa and MasterCard sales that are accepted at your place of business. Probably the most common term used in the industry. These do not have a set repayment schedule and are based on the volume of your businesses credit card processing sales. These are usually only guaranteed by the future sales of your business.
  • Term Loans: A loan that is backed by a bank for an exact amount that has a specified repayment timetable and interest rate that are adjusted accordingly. Terms mature between 1 and 10 years.
  • ACH Loan: These loans may need personal guarantees, and have a fixed repayment schedule that is paid either daily, weekly or monthly. These products are catered to industries that do not accept credit cards and need a fixed payment.
  • Business Lines of Credit: A rotating loan that gives business owners access to a fixed amount of money, which they can use day-to-day according to their need for cash. Interest is only paid on the amount of the advance actually used.
  • Emergency Business Loans: Loans that are funded quickly to help your business get out of a jam quick. Generally funded within 24 hours.

Application Process

Once a business has been approved, they can be funded in a little as a week. Usually, the documentation that is initially submitted is enough for this to happen in most cases, but there are instances when additional documentation may be requested depending on the lender. The following is the standard business documentation you should have prepared when starting the application process:

  • Business license
  • Voided check for the business account
  • Clear copies of identification for all owners
  • Proof of ownership
  • Trade references
  • Four months of bank statements
  • Four months of credit card statements (if applicable)

If it’s time to get some work done, trucking overhaul financing could be right for your small business. Excel Capital Management’s funding specialists are here to help and guide you every step of the way. Excel Capital Management will work to match your business capital needs. Give us a call at 877-880-8086 or APPLY NOW!