Why Merchant Cash Advance is an ideal finance option for SMEs

An increasing number of businesses in India, even the smaller ones, are beginning to accept payments for their products and services via credit cards. The acceptance of credit card payments is not only convenient but also a boon for these units, as the same can be used to get short-term funding or advances from funding agencies. A merchant cash advance, as the name suggests, is a cash advance to merchants against their future credit card payment receivables.

Merchant cash advance is a relatively new form of funding in India for small businesses that need fast access to cash and have an established credit card transaction history. Widely used in the US and Canada for several years now, this type of lending is a convenient and easy method of raising funds. It’s not really a loan, rather an advance payment against the future income of a business. Merchant cash advance loans are an ideal solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs who lack adequate organized funding and often resort to borrowing from friends, family or unorganized lenders. They are emerging as an optimum solution for meeting the funding requirements of businesses with a regular income received via credit cards.

SMEs and Funding Options

A majority of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) today operate with cash cycles of 60 days or more, but options for getting working capital finance are severely limited. Although the SME segment plays a key role in India’s economic growth, these enterprises suffer on account of inadequate funding options and thus resort to high interest loans from the informal segment.

Recent years have, however, witnessed the development of innovative products by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and micro lenders to fill the funding gap in the SME segment. Merchant cash advance is one such product that aims to help small businesses garner the necessary working capital by way of advances against the future income of a business.

Merchant Cash Advance: A Simple and Convenient Product

A merchant cash capital provider would give you a lump-sum amount, which is paid off automatically when they take a percentage of your daily credit card receipts. Since the repayment is linked to credit card receipts, this funding option is suitable for businesses that have a significant portion of their income via the credit card receipts. These include restaurant owners, online shopping sites, merchants and service providers.

The rate at which repayments are made or the retrieval rate can vary from 5% to 20% of the credit card receipts of a business. This retrieval rate is decided on the basis of the amount of advance, the quantum of sales via credit cards and the repayment period. Another important feature of this type of funding is that repayment begins immediately after the receipt of the funds with the total duration of the advance ranging between 180 and 360 days.

The amount of advance that a small business can get is determined by its average credit card sales. A merchant advance provider generally reviews your income inflow over the past six months to determine the advance amount that you can get. The funds provider generally ties up with the credit card payment processors with a predetermined percentage of the merchant’s credit card sales being transferred to the lender directly. The time taken to repay this advance is dependent on the percentage of credit card sales being given to the finance provider. The higher the percentage, the shorter is the time it would take to repay the advance.

Why Opt for a Merchant Cash Advance?

There are several reasons that make a merchant cash advance a preferred funding option for small businesses with high credit card transactions. These include:

1. Easy to Apply: It is very easy to apply for a merchant cash advance. All you need to do is to fill an online application form and upload the required supporting documents like your tax returns, bank account statements and credit card processing statements.

2. Quick Processing: Fund providers like Capital Float that rely heavily on cutting-edge technology take a decision within a few hours and deliver the funds within a few days. This is highly beneficial for businesses that require quick cash to cover unexpected business expenses.

3. Perfect Credit Score Not the Criteria: A merchant cash advance is sanctioned solely on the basis of the credit card receipts of a business and their consistency, without assigning too much importance paid to the credit score of an individual or business.

4. Unsecured Loans: A merchant cash advance is an unsecured loan that can be obtained without mortgaging any asset. No collateral is required and the focus is the future income.

5. Flexible Repayment: Since the repayment amount is a specific percentage of your credit card sales during a month, you are not overburdened or under pressure to pay more even during a lean period for your business or when your business is going through a rough patch and the sales are not up to the mark.

6. High Limits: Advance fund providers generally offer a higher borrowing limit than banks since they take their decisions on the basis of your future income.

7. No Impact on Credit Report: Since merchant cash capital is actually a sales transaction, it does not get reflected in the credit record of the business or the business owner.

A word of caution before you decide to take a merchant cash advance for funding your working capital needs. The cost of this type of funding may be higher than the loans taken from banks because the repayment is dependent on the factor rate of your advance. This factor rate is multiplied by the amount of advance to derive the total amount to be repaid. You can reap the benefits of merchant cash advance loans to fund your working capital needs by negotiating a lower holdback percentage. Although this will increase the repayment duration, it will help you minimize the cost.

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Digital Lending and Its Impact on SMEs in India

The growing entrepreneurship and start-up culture in India has increased the demand for flexible business loans to support such new ventures monetarily. However, funds that come through banks, government agencies and other financial institutions are not always easy to procure. The detailed paperwork, the long waiting times to get approval for the required amounts, and the high interest rates to be paid over an extended period deter many new businesses from approaching the conventional sources of working capital.

Propelled by technological developments, an alternative source of loans for small business has emerged in the form of new FinTech (financial technology) lending. In India, the FinTech market has witnessed a period of rapid growth in the last two years. As per reports by KPMG India and NASSCOM, it is expected to cross the $2.4 billion mark by 2020. Its lending model is driven by digital technology and is inherently different from the conventional approach that has been used by banks for years.

Most FinTech lenders specialise in micro financing and SME lending. The loan is granted promptly based on financial statements, bank transaction history and e-commerce transaction behaviour where applicable. As a leading player in the digital lending industry, Capital Float has already carved out its niche and is trusted by entrepreneurs who need quick loans to materialise the innovations in their business plans.

Why are SMEs shifting from conventional sources of finance to FinTech lenders? 

Credit underwriting has been a major challenge with regards to the SME sector. The loan officers in Indian banks still use outdated methods to determine the creditworthiness of a small business. Furthermore, the loans offered by banks are secured in nature, those that require the borrower to offer some collateral – such as real estate, gold, investment portfolio, machinery or stocks – as security. This prevents several enterprising ventures from availing finance even if they have good prospects to grow and the ability to pay back their small business loan on time.

A digital SME loan is comparatively easier to obtain. The FinTech lending structure is backed by the assessment of digitally uploaded documents. The creditworthiness is evaluated using big data, psychometric questionnaires and social media behaviour, in addition to the trading position of the concerned business. If the SME does not maintain a formal balance sheet, alternate documents throwing light on its prospects in the industry can be used to determine the creditworthiness.

The experience of procuring loans before the advent of FinTech revolution was not very customer-friendly. Borrowers had to fill in long paper-based forms, gather many documents in support of their applications and pledge an asset to the lender. Subsequently, there was a waiting period running into weeks before the small business loan amount was approved.

Digital lending companies have improved the user experience by leveraging technology to tone down the paper work and processing time. Just like retail shopping and online travel bookings, the capital market for SMEs also needed to evolve and move online.

Was there a need for this new source of small business loans? 

The emergence of FinTech sector for lending to small and micro enterprises is not only limited to India, but is a global phenomenon. An article published by Forbes has comprehensively analysed the case for this new source of business loans. The financial crisis of 2008 had left the banking sector with almost no scope for innovation. They were heavily regulated by new rules for lending and were urged to limit their risk by demanding for liquid collateral and Tier 1 capital. They also had to be more attentive than before to their back offices and compliance management.

Such changes encouraged finance-savvy and customer-focused talent pools to devise new ways, whereby technology could be leveraged to make borrowing easier. Digital lending services build a bridge between lenders and borrowers. There is a difference in the time taken to process the application, the underwriting process, the actual disbursal of the amount and the period for which the SME loan is granted. While adequate care is taken in evaluating the eligibility of a business for the grant, a FinTech company also ensures that there are no superfluous delays.

In line with the standards established by banks, an online lender must also ensure a high degree of transparency in the process of granting loans. At Capital Float, before a transaction becomes active, borrowers receive complete information on the rate of interest, the tenure of loan and any condition attached to the deal. There are no unpleasant surprises at the time of loan repayment.

Another advantage of procuring unsecured loans from a digital lender is that this new industry can adjust to changes more actively than conventional banks. With lower costs of underwriting using technology, lower rates of interest also become feasible.

Digital lending is helping a new class of business borrowers who have not been able to obtain funding from traditional sources. With an automated underwriting process and risk management, it has a lower operational cost and smoother loan processing. A major  of FinTech-based lending is the assessment of client’s credit worthiness. Unlike banks that use only income statements and formal credit history, a FinTech company gathers substantial data through social media and big data. What’s more, with a strong use of technology in lending, the focus on safety is also uncompromising. There are adequate measures to keep the customer details encrypted and secure. Moreover, they also facilitate tailored finance products keeping in mind the varying needs of different industry segments.

The underlying objective is to support promising entrepreneurs in getting quick funds and realise their new business ideas. Capital Float believes that SMEs can grow consistently if they have secure and quick access to funds. As the government continues to promote digital transactions through e-wallets, mobile-driven point of sale (POS) and Internet banking, the financial structure must also be modernised to give a further impetus to entrepreneurship and the ‘Make in India’ vision.

As a FinTech company, Capital Float has created a business model that is not limited by structural formalities surrounding banks and traditional lending agencies. Our aim is to serve client needs efficiently and help promising businesses flourish progressively.

Oct 24, 2018

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All You Need to Know about Business Loans for Manufacturers: Must-Read for SMEs and MSMEs

The health of any business, including a manufacturing organisation, is determined by its cash flow.

It is not uncommon for the expenses of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to exceed their income in the initial years. At times, they may have to price their products/services low to attract new buyers. The purchase of new equipment and quality raw materials can also increase the expenses for businesses.

Temporarily holding the operations is not a solution to cash flow problems because, with this recourse, the enterprise will not only suffer a revenue loss but also bear the burden of its fixed costs. These include amortisation, depreciation of assets, insurance premiums, property rent, taxes and utility bills.

A business that has planned to grow in its industry can keep fuelling its production processes and also invest in new manufacturing technologies by using an unsecured business loan for manufacturer.

As the name suggests, an unsecured SME loan does not require the borrowing entity to pledge any collateral. With a secure digital process, it is also easy to request for this funding.

How to apply for manufacturer/machinery loan

A FinTech company is one of the most favourable sources of an unsecured business loan for manufacturer. FinTech lenders often are non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) that use digital techniques to receive applications and disburse loan amounts in minimum time.

The advent of these organisations has made the credit industry more competitive. The start-ups that cannot afford to borrow from established banks due to high collateral requirements and other eligibility constraints find it easier to get an MSME loan from a FinTech firm.

All kinds of manufacturing concerns in India, including companies registered as a sole prop, partnership, LLP and Pvt Ltd can apply for these collateral-free loans.

Typically, a digital loan application available on the FinTech’s official website can be filled in less than 10 minutes from any secure Internet connection. To substantiate their credentials, the borrowers also need to upload the digital copies of ID proofs, PAN cards and the documents validating their business earnings. Such documents may be a balance sheet, recent profit and loss statement, the copies of processed income tax and GST returns and the papers comprising information on the ownership of the business.

Within minutes of the application submission, the FinTech sends its decision on the MSME/SME loan applied for, and if this is an approval, the approved loan amount is transferred to the bank account of the borrower in 2-3 business days.

Types of Business Loans for Manufacturers

An unsecured business loan for manufacturer could be a loan to buy machinery or working capital loan. The latter brings funds to finance day-to-day operations and for maintaining the current assets of the company at a higher level than the current liabilities.

An organisation can also borrow any amount – from a few lakhs to over a crore – to start a factory at a new location or to add more product lines to the business. In addition to these, FinTech companies can be approached for a loan to buy raw materials used in the production processes.

It is good to mention the exact purpose of the loan while filling the application because that helps to choose a customised loan product at the right rate of interest.

Understanding the Fee for Loan

While looking for loans online and making comparisons among the available options, prospective borrowers often check only the interest rates. Lured by a low interest rate, they also end up signing up for loans that later prove more expensive.

Some lenders do not mention the total fee of their loans clearly on websites and in brochures. It is talked about only in the Terms and Conditions in tiny letters, which is why it gets overlooked by borrowers. In applying for a raw materials/machinery loan, therefore, a manufacturer must also ask upfront about the loan processing fee, loan insurance premium if any, the involved legal cost, documentation fee and any other charge that would eventually drive up the repayment instalments of the loan.

Although the interest rate quoted by a FinTech company appears higher than the heavily advertised ‘low interest rates’, it makes for a better option. This is because in addition to their interest, FinTechs have a low processing fee of no more than 2% of the borrowed amount, and they do not levy additional charges such as insurance and documentation fee. A FinTech company can afford to do away with such amounts because most of its processes from application to loan disbursal are conducted online.

Ease of Repayment

Bank loans and funds lent by other conventional sources are usually paid in equated monthly instalments (EMIs). However, at times business borrowers including manufacturers can afford to pay back their borrowed sum sooner than the predetermined schedule. The flexible repayment options for an unsecured loan provided by a FinTech company make them suitable sources of such funding.

Conclusively, though making the final choice on a loan source is the prerogative of the borrower, the multiple benefits of unsecured loans put them in a more favourable position than secured loans. Why indeed would anyone want to bring in additional documentation and hypothecate their business assets when credit on easier terms is available from an alternative lender?

In the business of manufacturing, and particularly in the production of perishable items such as eatables that are usually undertaken by SMEs, time is money. Buying of machinery and required raw materials cannot be delayed even if the general cash flow is reduced at any point in time. The gap in cash reserves can be filled by an instant, unsecured loan.

At Capital Float, we have designed an array of unsecured loan products to suit the needs of manufacturers and other businesses. If you have felt the need to inject more funds into your operations, feel free to contact us for the financing that will serve your interests.

Our customer service reps will also answer any of your queries pertaining to your loan application.

[maxbutton id=”5″ url=”https://safe.capitalfloat.com/cf/default/register?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=web” text=”Apply for Unsecured Manufacturer loan” ]

Oct 24, 2018

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Features of Pay Later: A collateral free loan with multiple drawdowns

Pay Later is a unique loan product that was conceptualized and created by Capital Float, keeping in mind specific needs of Indian SMEs. This product is exclusively available at Capital Float. With Pay Later, a borrower is given a predefined credit limit, post which the borrower can make multiple draw-downs from the approved limit. The limit is reinstated upon repayment by the borrower. Interest is charged only on the amount utilized and not on the entire limit. These amounts can be used to make payments to suppliers. Click here to read more about this innovative product.

Pay Later: Features

1) Flexible draw-downs

You’re never obligated to utilize the entire credit limit in one go. In fact, you can always utilize a portion of the total amount sanctioned at any given point in time. To help you monitor your transactions, we recommend that you use our mobile app and manage your repayments accordingly. The mobile app keeps you updated about the draw-downs created and the limit currently available to you. More importantly, this loan amount is not consumed at once, but is a repetitive credit facility which can be used multiple times. The cycle of draw-downs, replenish and reset continues as often as you want it to.

For instance, if you have been assigned 1 lakh rupees with Pay Later, you can make up to 4 draw-downs of 25,000 rupees each and use these funds to make payments as and when necessary. By repaying the amount used, you immediately reset the credit balance, enabling the usage of funds once again. This leads to a rolling balance of funds that can be used and replenished as per requirement, giving the businessman the agility to do business unlike ever before.

2) Interest applicable only upon draw-down

Traditional loans levy a fixed interest on the entire amount sanctioned. With Pay Later, you’re required to pay interest only for the amount utilized. This means that the pre-defined interest rate is applicable only on the portion consumed and not the entire limit.

For example, if you’ve used only 25% of your credit limit, then you will be charged interest on the 25% used and not the entire credit limit.

3) Payments to distributors/suppliers at the click of a button

You can make payments with just a few taps on your smartphone via Capital Float’s convenient mobile app. You can download this app from the Play Store and the App Store for free. Upon downloading the app, you can login using your username and password. These details are provided to you at the time of your loan application. Following the login, the home screen would show you the credit limit assigned to you. Then on, you can create tranches based on the payments you need to make. Whenever you make a payment request, all you need to do, is take a photograph of the invoice with your mobile phone and upload it onto the app to avail funding.  Within 24 hours, the vendor receives the payment that you requested.

4) Convenient repayment at the end of 30/60/90-day loan term

Instead of a conventional EMI plan that may burden you at the end of every month, Pay Later allows you to choose the repayment duration as per your business cash flows. Our easy, flexible plans work in accordance with your bullet repayments at the end of 30/60/90 days, so that you’re never bogged down by hefty monthly installments.

5) Zero collateral

Pay Later is a collateral-free credit product, meaning you don’t need to mortgage your property, business or personal assets, etc. to apply for the loan. All you need to do is submit the necessary documentation and choose repayment terms that are most suitable to your business. Click here to know more about the documentation required and the eligibility criteria.

Related: How to Get Collateral Free SME Loans for Your Business in India

6) Quick, hassle-free online application procedure

Traditional financial institutions take up to 8-12 weeks to disburse a loan. Additionally, the tedious procedures involved can burden the SME and slow down business responsiveness to opportunities. This is where Pay Later comes to your rescue. A mere 10 minutes is all it takes to fill out the online application form and to submit the necessary documentation. Through our data-driven competencies, we assess your eligibility and offer you a customized line of credit within 72 hours.

7) Get credit of up to Rs. 25 Lacs

With Pay Later, you are eligible for credit of up to Rs. 25 lakhs, which ensures that you’re never short on funds when you have to respond to a lucrative business opportunity. The exclusive facility of multiple drawdowns provides you with a higher access to working capital. By replenishing your credit limit, you can access the funds in real-time. This boosts your ability to do business leading to higher revenue.

Take your business to the next level by choosing Pay Later! Click here to get started.

Watch this video to experience the success story of Mohammad Ali Zeeshan, a travel agent who expanded his business by using Capital Float’s ‘Pay Later’.

Oct 24, 2018