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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.
Oct 24, 2018
Lack of adequate funds is one of the main reasons why enterprising individuals with innovative business ideas often struggle in materialising their projects. Even after a venture takes off and begins to grow, it will need extra funds at some point in its growth journey to enhance its operations and pay its suppliers. A business loan in India has been typically procured from banks, but over the past decade, though the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has risen sharply, most of the SMEs who had applied for business loans remain unfinanced at large.
The gap between this demand and supply for loans is gradually being closed by new age FinTech lenders. By providing quick loans without collateral, FinTech companies are helping entrepreneurs in harnessing the full potential of their business ideas. However, the competition in this field continues to be huge, and applications for business finance are still approved based on creditworthiness.
If you are grooming your entrepreneurial venture for more success and plan to apply for business loans online, here are some tips to improve your chances of approval:
1) Create a neat business plan – You must have chalked out a business plan before foraying into a field of your interest, but if there are no formal documents in its support, it is important to prepare them. A formal business plan must include the objective of the project, the way it plans to earn revenue, the development strategy and the marketing methodology. It should also have copies of financial statements and the data on cash flow projections.
If you do not have an official business plan, you may be asked to demonstrate a solid record of revenue generation with at least one year in business. To get the application for an unsecured loan approved, it is important to prove that you are capable of repaying the loan amount without default.
2) Include a documented plan on the intended use of the loan – When you need a loan for business, you must also be able to tell the lender about its exact purpose. Be it a bank or a FinTech company, the lending institution will determine the credibility of your application on the basis of the reason for which you need the loan. While all organisations have their own unique requirements, the most common grounds for loans are business expansion, raw material or inventory purchase, administrative expenses and capital investments. You can also borrow from a digital lender to refinance or pay off old debts.
3) Know what kind of loan will suit your needs – Even after you describe the purpose of your loan, you may be faced with multiple loan categories that you can apply for. It is good to know the details of each – in terms of interest, tenure, payback plans and documents necessary to procure them. Banks and digital lenders often categorise their loan products for the ease of disbursement and management. While some credit products help in quick invoice financing, others may be more beneficial to buy inventory. Consult the lender to borrow profitably.
4) Double-check your cash flow projections – When a business does not have a high credit rating or a strong history of generating revenue, it typically gets saddled with a high interest rate on unsecured loan. It is therefore important to assess your cash flow projections. You must have a good knowledge of your ability to pay back and ensure that you will soon have adequate funds to clear off your debt.
5) Be aware of the risks that lenders assess – Lending institutions in both public and private sector evaluate loan applicants on a scale of risk. If a business is considered a ‘risky borrower’, there is a high chance that its loan may not be approved. The traits that make a business look risky are as follows:
– Very small owner’s equity
– Poor credit history or defaults in payment of previous loans
– Poor revenue earnings
– Very short period in the industry
– Weak accounting system
– Questionable management
6) Leverage your personal creditworthiness – Usually a business is a different entity from its owners. Even a sole proprietorship is a separate legal entity for accounting purposes. However, when it comes to getting a business loan without collateral, even a clean personal credit history can help you in obtaining the amount you seek. The strategy is to make payments on any outstanding personal debt and credit card bills as much as you can afford. This will give your lender more faith in your business and assure them that you are not burdening yourself with unpaid debts. You can personally guarantee for your business loans by proving your ability to repay them.
7) Research extensively for lenders – If you were denied a loan for business by a bank or a traditional lending agency, do not consider it the end of your search for funds. A FinTech company offering unsecured business loans evaluates your creditworthiness using parameters different from those used by banks. If you can successfully prove your expertise in business, FinTech lenders will provide adequate financing for your immediate working capital needs. So, think beyond the conventional platforms and apply for finance online using those documents that demonstrate your ability to pay back in time. Digital lenders also grant short-term loans, the amount being disbursed in a few minutes post the approval of the loan application.
The online lending industry has shown that getting a business loan need not be a frustrating process for SMEs anymore. FinTech companies are willing to grant loans and the application process can be effortless. All you need to do is start preparing early (in lieu of the competition from other similar applicants) and collate the minimum essential documents in support of your application.
At Capital Float, the basic premise is that all applications for getting a business loan will be evaluated with speed, efficiency and favour. The products for business loan in India are custom-fit for SMEs and include Term Finance, Online Seller Finance, Pay Later Finance, Merchant Cash Finance, Supply Chain Finance and Taxi Finance.
Oct 24, 2018
During the lifecycle of a business, there are times when the inadequacy of working capital threatens the flow of operations and hinders growth. Traditional lending institutions in India such as banks rarely provide assistance in such situations, as they generally demand collateral, which small business and young entrepreneurs may not possess. An unsecured business loan can take care of routine business expenditure such as maintenance of machinery, making payments to suppliers and purchasing raw material. It can also be useful for business expansion activities such as purchasing new machinery or expanding premises.
Moreover, all small and medium enterprises need funds to seize new opportunities for growth, and the window for such opportunities is usually small. In such a scenario, there is a need for quick access to funds. The loan repayment schedule also needs to be synchronous with the expected revenue flow from a business venture. Hence, an unsecured business loan taken from a FinTech company works best for them, as it is disbursed much faster than a loan from a bank. Further, these FinTech companies ensure that an SME is always at ease while paying the loan instalments.
Unsecured loans are turning extremely popular amongst small businesses communities. These are a few reasons why.
They help strengthen the business finances
A suitable business growth opportunity can present itself at any time, and therefore a small business needs to have access to adequate resources at all times. In case the cash flow situation is imperfect or there is a working capital requirement to meet routine business expenses, it helps to take an unsecured loan for a short period until the situation improves. This ensures that a small business will never find itself at a disadvantage when a new opportunity presents itself. Such loans from FinTech companies do not come with any prepayment penalty, and their tenure can vary from a few months to a couple of years.
Faster approval and quick access to funds
The digital revolution and the subsequent development of IT systems and processes have led to the rise of new age FinTech companies over the past five years. FinTech companies in India follow a completely different approach to the unsecured business loan market, as they use innovative technologies to profile, design and disburse loan products for small businesses. Even the application for an unsecured loan can be made online or through the mobile app, and all supporting documents such as bank statements, tax statements, previous loan statements, KYC documents, business receivables and other relevant documents can be uploaded in digital format. The use of advanced analytic techniques allows these companies to process a loan application within minutes. Upon approval, the loan amount is transferred to the borrower’s bank account within a few working days.
An unsecured loan product for every business
Extensive use of technology enables FinTech companies such as Capital Float to design new loan products that are meant to fulfil varying business needs. The loan product, Term Finance, is meant for small businesses that have been in operation for more than two years and have been doing good during that period. Such businesses can take business loans from ₹1 lakh to ₹1 crore for a duration of a few months to three years.
Supply chain finance is meant for small businesses that have blue-chip companies as customers. Such businesses can take up to 80% of the pending invoice value as an unsecured loan. The loan can be repaid either as monthly instalments or at one go upon receiving payments from the customer.
Unsecured loan products designed to support digital economy
Online Seller Finance is another loan product from Capital Float that is designed for businesses that generate revenue through e-commerce marketplaces. It provides up to 200% of the monthly sales volume as advance to such businesses. This money can be used to accelerate business growth online.
Similarly, merchants that receive the bulk of their payments through PoS terminals can avail up to 200% of their monthly card settlement value as advance through a customized finance product called Merchant Cash Advance. The loan amount can be repaid through the deduction of a fixed percentage from card settlements in the subsequent months.
Get loans on the most favourable terms
Capital Float offers loans at the most competitive rates. These unsecured loan costs can be brought further down by choosing the right loan product. Capital Float charges a flat 2% processing fee for all their loan products, and there are no other hidden charges. Another great benefit is the flexibility offered in loan repayment, which is linked to the business receivables.
Indeed, new age technology driven FinTech companies have eased the pain in procuring funds from the unsecured loans market in India, and small businesses can look up to them as a partner in their business growth.
At Capital Float, we fully understand the business challenges faced by small businesses and have therefore designed the unsecured loan products in such a way that businesses can focus more on business growth rather than on worrying about getting business finance. Our customised plans ascertain that you get just the right product that suits your unique need.
To find out the product that best suits your business, click here.
Oct 24, 2018