How To Invest In Merchant Cash Advance

How To Invest In Merchant Cash Advance

Merchant cash advance (MCA) financing allows businesses to sell a portion of their future credit card sales for an upfront lump sum. The merchant cash advance provider then collects a fixed percentage from the daily credit card sales until the agreed amount is fully repaid.

Applying for and receiving funds from a merchant cash advance company is a breeze compared to traditional bank loans. While bank loans can take months, a business can apply for and receive funds from a merchant cash advance company within a few days. The application process is also much less burdensome compared to bank loans.

Unlike other funding options like purchase order financing or invoice factoring, merchant cash advance companies primarily assess a business’s cash flow. They consider recent bank statements, sales volume, and credit card statements. On the other hand, bank loans heavily rely on credit history and hard collateral.

How a merchant cash advance is repaid differs from a traditional loan. Instead of monthly or scheduled interest or principal payments, a predetermined percentage of the company’s daily sales is paid back to the merchant cash advance company daily until the total amount is repaid.

The percentage that the merchant cash advance needs to be repaid daily is called the holdback percentage. The interest a business pays is calculated differently from a traditional loan, and rates tend to be higher due to the short-term nature of the advance and the added risk the company assumes.

For example, suppose a business is seeking a $10,000 advance. The merchant cash advance company may use a factor rate of 1.20x and require a final purchase of $12,000 to be repaid. The rate is always presented as a factor rate, not a percentage. 

Case Study Example:

Located by Lake Michigan in New Buffalo, Michigan, Lekker Hardware is the sole hardware store in town. One day, Kruger, the store’s owner, learns about an upcoming snowstorm with estimates of 4 to 5 feet of snow. Anticipating a surge in sales, Kruger plans to stock up on inventory like shovels, salt, and snow blowers. However, he needs more funds to purchase from his distributor. Instead of turning to a bank, which could take months to approve a loan, Kruger approaches Thabu Capital, a merchant cash advance company, for immediate funds.

Thabu Capital thoroughly evaluates Lekker Hardware’s financial information and Kruger’s details before approving an advance of $10,000. With a factor rate 1.20x, the final amount Lekker Hardware must repay Thabu Capital is $12,000.

Upon approval, Thabu Capital promptly transfers the $10,000 to Lekker Hardware’s bank account, giving Kruger immediate access to the funds for inventory purchase. To repay the advance, Kruger agrees to a holdback percentage of 30%, meaning 30% of Lekker Hardware’s daily sales will be allocated to Thabu Capital until the entire $12,000 is settled.

Why Invest In Merchant Cash Advance?

This non-conventional financing offers several compelling aspects that make it stand out as an investment option.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of merchant cash advances is their potential for high returns. The significant factor rates applied in merchant cash advances often lead to high-interest rates on the cash advances, promising lucrative returns for investors. These high returns can be an enticing prospect in an environment where low-yield investments are prevalent.

The investment period for merchant cash advances is another appealing characteristic. With daily repayments, the cycle of investment can be expedited. This allows for the quick reinvestment of capital into new deals, offering the potential to generate more returns within a shorter timeframe.

Merchant cash advances are also appealing due to the lack of a mandatory collateral requirement. Merchant Cash Advance providers tend to focus more on businesses’ daily credit card sales rather than hard assets. This approach simplifies the process for companies seeking financing and gives investors a more comprehensive range of investment options.

Investing in merchant cash advances provides an opportunity for diversification beyond traditional investment vehicles. By incorporating merchant cash advances into their portfolios, investors can spread their risk and benefit from different market conditions and economic cycles. 

Lastly, the merchant cash advance market has seen rapid growth, particularly since the 2008 financial crisis, when traditional lending institutions tightened their lending criteria. This growth has led many businesses to turn to alternative financing options like merchant cash advances for quick access to capital. The expanding merchant cash advance market presents an excellent opportunity for investors to participate in a thriving sector.

The Merchant Cash Advance Ecosystem

The merchant cash advance landscape is a diverse ecosystem with various key players. The merchants or businesses are at its heart, typically small to medium-sized enterprises urgently needing capital. These businesses often find themselves sidelined by traditional banks due to poor credit, insufficient collateral, or a relatively short operating history.

Merchant cash advance provider companies that offer these much-needed cash advances. They evaluate the risk, decide upon the advance amount, and set the factor rate, which determines the total payback amount and the holdback percentage that dictates the daily or weekly repayment amount.

Then, we have the brokers and intermediaries, who act as the bridges connecting merchants with merchant cash advance providers. They earn their keep through commissions for their services. Payment processors also play a crucial role in managing credit card transactions and facilitating the retrieval process of the advance by diverting a portion of the credit card sales directly to the merchant cash advance provider.

Collections companies come into the picture when a merchant struggles to make the agreed-upon payments. Meanwhile, the legal and regulatory bodies, including government and industry regulators, oversee lending practices and safeguard against predatory lending. Last but not least, there are the investors, individuals, or groups who fund these cash advances to earn a return on the fees paid by the merchants.

How To Generate Income

As an investor, generating income in the merchant cash advance industry starts with providing businesses with upfront capital. In exchange, you receive a portion of the business’s future sales, fees, and interest. Let’s delve into the mechanics of this process and how it generates income.

When you invest in a merchant cash advance, you’re not giving a loan traditionally. Instead, you provide a business with a lump sum payment that counts as an advance against future sales. This is where your investment begins.

The merchant cash advance provider and the business agree on a percentage of daily or weekly sales to repay the advance. This is known as the “holdback” amount, typically facilitated through the business’s credit card processing system.

Instead of traditional interest rates, merchant cash advances apply a factor rate to determine the total payback amount. This factor rate is usually a decimal figure that ranges from 1.1 to 1.5. For instance, if a business receives a $10,000 advance with a factor rate 1.2, they would owe back $12,000.

The collection period for the advance can vary, but it generally falls between 3 to 18 months, depending on the business’s sales volume.

Your profit comes from the fees and the factor rate applied to the advance. Since repayment is based on a factor rather than a standard interest rate, your return on investment could be significantly higher than with traditional lending models, assuming the business performs as expected.

One of the appealing aspects of merchant cash advances is the potential for quick returns. Unlike traditional loans or other long-term investments, merchant cash advances are short-term, meaning you could see a return on your investment sooner.

However, it’s crucial to remember that merchant cash advances carry a higher risk since businesses may not require a credit check. This is why the factor rates are higher, which can result in substantial yields for investors.

How To Lose Money

Investing in merchant cash advances can have perks, but it has its fair share of risks. 

Firstly, let’s consider the scenario where the borrowing business fails or doesn’t generate enough sales to repay the advance. And unlike traditional secured loans, merchant cash advances are generally unsecured. So if a company can’t repay, there’s often no physical asset for the merchant cash advance provider to seize and sell to recoup their investment.

Suppose an investor has most of their investments in merchant cash advances within a specific industry – think restaurants, for example – and that industry faces a downturn. In that case, there’s a higher risk of several businesses defaulting. And sometimes, businesses bite off more than they can chew and simultaneously take on multiple merchant cash advances. This overextension can strain their finances, making it difficult for them to repay each merchant cash advance provider.

The merchant cash advance industry hasn’t been immune to criticism, especially for high fees and predatory practices. Legal action or regulatory crackdowns can result in financial losses and damage a merchant cash advance provider’s reputation. With the growth of the merchant cash advance industry, competition has increased, which can lead to lower fees and rates, potentially making deals less profitable.

There’s also the risk of inaccurate underwriting, where a merchant cash advance provider may advance more money than they should or offer too favorable terms, thereby increasing the risk. And during a broad economic downturn, many businesses may experience decreased sales, making it harder for them to repay their merchant cash advances.

The regulatory environment for this industry is still evolving, so changes in regulations or new laws can affect the profitability or legality of certain merchant cash advance practices. Disputes can sometimes arise between the merchant cash advance provider and the borrowing business regarding the merchant cash advance terms or the method of collecting repayments.

And, of course, there’s always the risk of fraud – fraudulent businesses seeking merchant cash advances or brokers misrepresenting the terms to get a deal through.

Positives & Negatives Of Merchant Cash Advance


High Returns: Merchant cash advances come with higher risks, which means lenders can charge significant fees or interest rates. This can result in attractive returns for investors.

Short Duration: Merchant cash advances are usually short-term, allowing for quick capital rotation and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions.

Diversification: Investing in merchant cash advances can diversify an investor’s portfolio, especially if most of their investments are in traditional asset classes.

Direct Impact: By providing cash advances to businesses, investors can directly support local businesses and entrepreneurs, potentially fostering economic growth.

Secured by Future Sales: Merchant cash advances are theoretically secured by a business’s future sales, a form of collateral.

Flexible Amounts: Depending on the platform or approach, investors can often choose the amount they wish to invest, allowing for smaller and more significant investments.


High Risk: Many businesses that seek merchant cash advances might do so because they need better credit or other financial issues to qualify for traditional loans. This inherently increases the risk of default.

Regulatory Scrutiny: The merchant cash advances industry is under increased scrutiny for some of its practices, including high factor rates and aggressive collection tactics. Changes in regulations could impact profitability or the way merchant cash advances operate.

Reputation Risk: The merchant cash advance industry has faced criticism for charging high fees and sometimes using aggressive collection practices. This could pose a reputational risk for investors.

Economic Sensitivity: During economic downturns, businesses may experience reduced sales, affecting their ability to repay the merchant cash advance. If an investor has a large portion of their investments in merchant cash advances, they could be heavily affected during recessions.

Lack of Standardization: Unlike traditional financial products, merchant cash advances vary widely in structure, terms, and costs. This lack of standardization can make it harder for investors to compare opportunities or understand the details of their investments.

Potential for Overconcentration: An investor must be more careful to avoid losing a significant portion of their portfolio in high-risk merchant cash advances, leading to a lack of diversification.

Competitive Market: As more investors and institutions recognize the potential returns in the Merchant cash advance space, the market could become saturated, resulting in reduced returns as competition increases.

Investment Opportunity Filter™

The Investment Opportunity Filter™ evaluates an investment opportunity based on cashflow, tax benefits, appreciation, and the leverage it provides.

Merchant Cash Advance Investments scores a 3/4 with The Investment Opportunity Filter™.

Merchant Cash Advance Investments can produce significant cash flow and have limited tax benefits. You can significantly grow your capital, and it also allows for leveraging the skill sets, capabilities, networks, and capital of others.


Download all the Niches Trilogy Books:

The 21 Best Cashflow Niches

Digital: ⁠⁠⁠⁠

Audio: ⁠⁠

The 21 Most Unique Cashflow Niches

Digital: ⁠⁠⁠⁠

Audio: ⁠⁠

The 21 Best Cash Growth Niches

Digital: ⁠⁠⁠

Audio: ⁠

Listen To Cashflow Ninja Podcasts:

Cashflow Ninja


Cashflow Investing Secrets


Cashflow Ninja Banking


Share This

Posted in


Leave a Comment