How it works
$5,000 to $1 million
Time to Fund
3 to 24 months
10% and up per batch
QualiFi helps businesses like yours
with working capital and cash advance solutions that translate your sales volumes into rapid resources your company can use right away to pursue new growth opportunities.
It can be exciting for small business owners to watch customers pay with credit cards, because you know those charges will hit your business bank account quickly. But credit card payments can come with drawbacks.
They tend to incur higher fees than other payment methods, pay smaller amounts, and come with the risk of fraudulent chargebacks that could leave you holding the bag when you least expect it.
If you're selling products, your margins are likely to be constrained by the cost of manufacturing or procuring the product. Credit card fees will eat into those already-thin margins, leaving less of every sale as profit to fuel your business growth.
If your business processes much of its revenue through credit card transactions, and you're finding it hard to implement longer-term strategies with the cash left after expenses, a merchant cash advance, or MCA, could be the right product for you.
MCAs give your business an opportunity to get a lump sum of working capital based on how the value of your daily credit card receipts. Because they're tied to one of the fastest payment options available, the merchant cash advance application process is typically quite fast.
Most small business owners who apply with us for an MCA can get an approval by the business day after sending in the necessary paperwork.
Entrepreneurs with less than stellar personal credit often seek out MCAs because they won't be asked to back their request with a personal credit score or provide a personal guarantee to secure the funds.
Newer businesses with limited business credit history are also good candidates for MCAs, because the working capital amount and its payment amount are calculated primarily on credit card processing volumes.
Merchant cash advance companies will look at your credit card processing volumes, or the total value of the of credit and debit card payments your customers make each every month. A merchant cash advance provider will use these numbers to estimate your future credit card sales in order to create terms that work for both parties.
There are some working capital options that aren't connected directly to your credit card sales as well.
If your business collects most of its payments through checks or bank transfers (wire or ACH), you're likely to be eligible for working capital in the form of a business cash advance based on the volume of transactions paid into your bank account, rather than through your credit card processor. These types of cash advances are sometimes called working capital advances.
Come prepared with recent bank statements in any case, and you're far more likely to be quickly approved.
Merchant cash advances and working capital are not a traditional loans. As the names imply, they are a type of unsecured "advance" of funds, which in the case of an MCA is to be paid back with a percentage of your daily merchant processing volume.
You and your MCA provider will set up a payment mechanism that allows the funder to automatically deduct their agreed-on percentage -- this percentage is typically called the "retrieval rate" -- of your credit card sales every day. As long as your business continues to process credit cards with a reputable payment processor, it's virtually impossible to miss a daily payment.
Some business cash advances are repaid with a fixed daily amount rather than a percentage-based retrieval rate. This is less likely to be offered to businesses with large day-to-day variations in credit card processing volumes, such as restaurants.
Businesses that process most of their customer payments directly into their bank accounts may also be able to pay back a business cash advance with direct daily or weekly withdrawals from their bank accounts.
Fixed daily payments may be better or worse for your business than percentage-based retrieval rates, but an experienced funder will work with you to create an agreement that makes sense for your situation.
The total amount owed on a merchant or business cash advance is called the holdback, or the "factor rate." This is how much you'll pay, on top of the value of the cash advance, to fulfill your payment obligations.
If you're not familiar with business financing, it can be easy to confuse these terms.
The retrieval rate is a day-to-day payment amount, while the factor rate is the overall amount set to be repaid on your advance. The factor rate is not the same as an APR or interest rate, because interest rates are calculated on an annualized basis, while a factor rate is a set amount independent of the length of your payment terms.
Here's one example: let's say your retrieval rate is 15%, and your factor rate is 1.3. A 15% retrieval rate means a funder will withhold 15% of your daily credit card processing volume, regardless of how large or small that volume is on any given day, until you've paid the full factor rate. In this situation, you'll be paying back 1.3 times the amount you received from your cash advance.
Funders will typically structure both rates around an assumed average daily volume that will get you to full payment in a certain amount of time, which might be as little as three months or as long as 24 months.
Longer terms will typically bear lower retrieval rates than those on short-term cash advances, but the length of the term on a merchant cash advance may have little to do with its factor rate. A retrieval rate is more likely to be expressed in dollar terms for businesses obtaining cash advances tied to their bank accounts rather than their credit card payments.
Many small business owners can confuse factor rates for interest rates.
In our example, you might think a factor rate of 1.3 is the same as an interest rate of 30%. However, if your factor rate applies to a $100,000 merchant cash advance, you'll be paying $30,000 in fees on your advance, regardless of the length of the payment term.
If your cash advance terms want you to pay it all back in a year, you'll be expected to make an average monthly payment of $10,833.33 ($130,000 divided by 12). A typical loan that asked for $30,000 in fees on $100,000 in principal actually bears an interest rate of 51%.
However, if your payment term is set at 24 months instead of 12, the equivalent interest rate would be closer to 27%, because your average monthly payment would be roughly $5,416.67. You'll still be paying back 1.3 times the value of your cash advance, only in this scenario you'll be paying it back over twice as many months.
At QualiFi, we want to make sure you understand the terms of any financing agreement you're offered. Our goal is to create agreements that work for your situation, to cover financed capital that will ultimately be well worth its cost.
Ask us today if working capital is right for you. We'll get right to work to help you select the best funding options. Just click the button below to get started.
Working capital often works well for these types of businesses:
Restaurants, particularly dine-in or fast casual restaurants with ample seating, will process the bulk of diners' payments through credit or debit cards -- about three in four diners prefer to pay for their checks with plastic.
A steady stream of card-using customers can easily give even modestly successful restaurants the payments volume needed to secure a sizable merchant cash advance.
Restaurants in the best position to properly utilize merchant cash advances will be those that expect to build a lot of new business through initiatives they can only pay for with a cash advance.
This might involve hosting a catered event at a higher profit margin, expanding to a new location, or running a promotional campaign to capitalize on tourism or seasonal travel. However, the restaurant industry's notoriously thin profit margins can make the terms on a merchant cash advance unpalatable to small business owners simply looking for resources to keep their restaurant dream alive.
Please discuss your business situation with your funding advisor to decide if this is your best option.
Retail is another industry which, like restaurants, depends on a high volume of customer transactions to keep going and growing.
Many retail customers particularly prefer paying with plastic. For example, only 8% of department store shoppers prefer paying with cash over other methods, while more than 80% of supermarket shoppers prefer using debit or credit cards to paying with cash. Ecommerce storefronts couldn't exist without card payments at all.
Some retailers have business models that support higher profit margins than others.
These retailers tend to be better-suited to merchant cash advances, particularly if they're growing rapidly, or expect to utilize the cash advance to produce a lot of near-term sales growth.
Ask your QualiFi funding advisor if a merchant cash advance is the right choice.
MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE
Doctors, dentists, and other specialized medical offices such as chiropractors or even veterinary offices often have a range of patients with a variety of needs and costs.
The bulk of many medical office visits are for basic services and check-ups, but dental patients urgently in need of a bridge, or patients referred for other specialized interventions, may require thousands of dollars of treatment in a day.
Co-pays and bills for basic services to the uninsured are often paid with credit or debit cards. Insured patients who have reasonable coinsurance rates may also pay their portion of your bill with their cards.
A practice with good patient volume and significant credit card volume may be able to take advantage of large merchant cash advances. Pharmacies and other product-focused retail medical businesses are likely to be in similar positions as many other retailers, with high customer volumes and lots of credit card sales.
If you're a service provider with a few high-ticket sales a month and little repeat business, a merchant cash advance is probably not your best business financing option.
On the other hand, a wider base of recurring payments, whether it's for simple services such as graphic editing or basic accounting work, or for access to cloud-based software, often rewards service businesses with merchant cash advances at good rates.
Most other funding options are designed for businesses with at least a full year of operating history. However, service businesses with at least $10,000 in monthly revenue, much of it coming from credit card payments, can tap into merchant cash advances with as little as three months of business history in the books.
This makes cash advances one of the only options for funding a revenue-generating startup that won't involve giving up part of the company in the process.
An established construction company with larger customers is likely to seek out other small business loans or funding options such as a term loan, but newer construction companies and smaller specialty contractors may be good candidates for business cash advances tied to their bank statements.
While some contractors that focus on maintenance and minor repairs may process the bulk of their invoices through credit card payments, it's more common for a construction company seeking a cash advance to take on fixed-amount withdrawal payments rather than percentage-based retrieval rates.
No matter what stage you are in your growth or what kind of clients you serve, your construction company is likely to find the business funding it needs at the rates it deserves with QualiFi.
Advantages of a cash advance
- Rapid approval process
- Works for business owners with bad credit
- Can be used by startups with revenue
- Can be used for any business purpose
- No risk to assets (a cash advance is unsecured)
Drawbacks of a cash advance
- Comparable interest rates can be quite high
- Your cash flow will be hindered for a certain length of time
- Can be less flexible than other funding types
If you have...
Time in business
$10,000+ per month (annual revenue of $120,000+)