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Merchant cash advance companies provide you with an upfront sum of capital that you repay using a percentage of your debit and credit card sales, plus fees — otherwise known as a merchant cash advance, or MCA.
Generally, you’ll want to consider all other types of small-business loans before turning to an MCA because this product is expensive and can lead to a harmful cycle of debt. If you’re thinking about a merchant cash advance, however, it’s important to understand your options and know what to look for in a provider.
Here are our picks for merchant cash advance companies as well as tips to help you choose the best provider for your needs.
How Much Do You Need?
Best for: Low factor rates.
Credibly offers merchant cash advances up to $400,000, and you can apply with a simple online application and receive approval in as little as four hours. Once you’ve been approved, Credibly can transfer the funds into your business bank account as fast as 24 hours.
Credibly automatically deducts a percentage of your daily credit and debit card sales for repayment, and factor rates start at 1.11. The factor rate you receive will vary based on your credit and financial history — the stronger your credentials, the better factor rate you can get.
Credibly charges a one-time underwriting fee of 2.5% of your total advance amount and adds it to your balance when you fund. The company also charges a $50 monthly administration fee for managing payments.
On average, business owners repay their Credibly advances within three to 15 months.
To qualify, you’ll need a personal credit score of 500 or higher, at least six months in business and $15,000 or more in average monthly business bank deposits.
2. Reliant Funding
Best for: Fast funding.
With Reliant Funding, you can get a merchant cash advance in as little as 24 hours. Reliant offers funding up to $400,000 and you repay your advance with daily or weekly installments depending on the MCA agreement.
To apply, you submit an online request by providing basic information about your business. Then, a personal account manager will reach out to help you through the funding process. Reliant can approve applications in hours and send funds to your business bank account as quickly as the next day.
You’ll need at least six months in business, $60,000 in annual revenue and a personal credit score of 525 or higher to qualify for a merchant cash advance from Reliant. This MCA company does not disclose factor rates on its website, so you’ll want to confirm with your account manager before accepting an offer.
3. Expansion Capital Group
Best for: Borrowers with bad credit.
Expansion Capital Group offers merchant cash advances from $5,000 to $300,000. These MCAs are repaid daily or weekly, and payments can be automatically withdrawn from your business bank account.
Typical repayment terms on a merchant cash advance from Expansion Capital Group vary from three to 12 months. Factor rates range from 1.26 to 1.50.
To apply, you'll fill out a simple form with information about your business. Typically, the only documentation Expansion Capital Group requires is your last three months of bank or credit card statements.
After you submit an application, a dedicated funding manager will reach out within 24 hours by email with a quote. If you move forward with the advance, Expansion Capital Group can provide funds just hours after you complete your MCA agreement.
To qualify, you’ll need a personal credit score of 500 or higher — making this merchant cash advance company, along with Credibly, a good option for businesses with bad credit. You’ll also need at least six months in business and annual sales or revenue of at least $100,000.
4. Fora Financial
Best for: Large advance amounts.
If you’re looking for more than $400,000 in funding, Fora Financial offers merchant cash advances from $5,000 to $1.5 million. These MCAs can be used for a variety of purposes and don't have set terms.
Fora Financial doesn't provide factor rate information on its website, although the company does state that it offers discounts if you’re able to repay your advance early. You’ll have to reach out to a capital specialist or get a free quote for more information.
You can apply for an MCA from Fora Financial by completing a one-page application and providing three months of bank and credit card statements. In some cases, you may also be asked to provide tax returns, a balance sheet or a profit and loss statement.
Once you’ve submitted your application, you can receive approval within 24 hours and access your funds in 72 hours.
To qualify for a merchant cash advance, Fora Financial requires at least six months in business, a minimum personal credit score of 500 and a minimum of $15,000 in monthly credit card sales. You also cannot have open bankruptcies.
5. Libertas Funding
Best for: More established businesses.
If your business can meet slightly higher qualification requirements, you may be able to access larger amounts of capital from Libertas Funding. To qualify for a merchant cash advance, you’ll need at least 12 months in business, $150,000 in monthly revenue and a personal credit score of 650 or higher.
Libertas Funding offers advances from $50,000 to $5 million with repayment terms that range from three to 12 months. The company automatically manages your repayments — with options for a daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly payment schedule.
Factor rates vary from 1.27 to 1.39. If you can repay your advance early, Libertas offers prepayment discounts from 10% to 25%.
To apply, you can submit a brief form through the company’s website and work with a Libertas funding specialist to complete the process. In general, Libertas can provide funding within 24 to 48 hours after you’ve submitted your application.
How to choose a merchant cash advance company
If you’re looking for a merchant cash advance, you’ll want to research and vet several companies before deciding which one is right for your business.
Some merchant cash advance companies have been criticized for confusing contracts and misleading sales tactics — leading businesses to fall victim to predatory lenders and cycles of expensive debt that are difficult to break.
Although some states have taken legal action to require transparency from MCA companies in recent years, bad actors still try to take advantage of business owners, promising things like “guaranteed approval” or “business loans with no credit check.”
Not all merchant cash advance companies are predatory, but it’s still important to watch for red flags — and look elsewhere if an offer doesn’t seem right.
As you compare MCA providers, consider these factors:
Funding availability. Merchant cash advance companies will have different maximum funding amounts. You should confirm that the provider’s requirements are in line with what you’re looking for. Some MCA companies also offer other types of financing — if you think you might be able to qualify for other options, you might explore those as well.
Costs of borrowing. MCA companies will charge fees as factor rates instead of annual percentage rates or simple interest rates. Factor rates can make it more difficult to understand borrowing costs, so you'll need to calculate these rates into an APR, which can be done using an MCA calculator. Ask the merchant cash advance company if it charges additional fees and include those in your APR calculations as well.
Repayment options. Some providers will automatically take a percentage from your debit and credit card sales for repayment, while others will make automatic withdrawals from your business bank account. In addition, some companies may require daily or weekly repayments, while others will let you choose what works best for your business.
Qualification requirements. Compared with more traditional small-business lenders, merchant cash advance companies typically have flexible eligibility requirements. These companies will consider your personal credit score, time in business and annual revenue — but they’ll often be willing to work with startups and businesses facing credit challenges. Many companies will also prioritize your debit and credit card sales or monthly bank activity when underwriting your application because you’ll be using your sales to repay your advance. The stronger your credentials, the lower the factor rate you’ll receive on funding.
Speed and application process. Most MCA companies offer simple applications with minimal documentation. You can usually apply and receive funding within a few business days. Some providers offer dedicated account managers to walk you through the process, which might be noteworthy if you prefer a more personalized experience.
Transparency and lender reputation. You’ll want to look for a merchant cash advance company that is upfront about its products and the way they work. Ideally, the company offers multiple ways for you to contact customer service — and you receive straightforward answers to your questions. If you receive an MCA agreement from a provider, it should clearly lay out terms and conditions, fees and repayment information. In addition to talking to the company, reading reviews and reaching out to other business owners can help you verify the reputation and reliability of a merchant cash advance company.
Confession of judgment. Many MCA companies request or require you to sign a confession of judgment at closing, which is an agreement that allows an MCA company to file a judgment against you in court without letting you know. If you can, find out if your MCA company requires this document before you move forward with an application. If it is a requirement, that alone may be a reason to look elsewhere.
Alternatives to merchant cash advance companies
It’s worth exploring other options besides merchant cash advances, which can include:
Online lenders: If you need fast financing, or are struggling to qualify for a loan because of credit challenges, online lenders like OnDeck and Fora Financial offer term loans that may be better options than an MCA. OnDeck can have you funded within the same day as your approval, and Fora Financial’s minimum credit score requirement is 500.
Small-business grants: If your business is growing and you have time to plan ahead for funding, consider finding a small-business grant program. Grants can come from the federal or local government, large corporations or local initiatives. They can be used to start a business, in the event of an economic hardship or to fund businesses in underserved markets, like women- or minority-owned businesses.
Find the right business loan
The best business loan is generally the one with the lowest rates and most ideal terms. But other factors — like time to fund and your business’s qualifications — can help determine which option you should choose. NerdWallet recommends comparing small-business loans to find the right fit for your business.