The Future of the MCA Industry
Today’s small businesses don’t need to rely on big banks for financing options. Over the past decade, there has been a rise in alternative lending platforms that make it easier and faster for startups and small businesses to find the cash they need when they need it.
When business owners consider applying for a merchant cash advance (MCA), it is usually because they are in need of cash flow immediately, have poor credit, or haven’t had success with traditional loan applications. MCAs give business owners flexibility as funds can come through to their bank accounts within days and the transaction requires no personal guarantee. This is because MCAs are not considered loans, so there is no need to put up collateral to receive an advance.
Merchant cash providers are strictly offering an immediate cash infusion for a portion of a business’s future earnings through repayment plans or a percentage of upcoming credit card transactions. As credit card use has expanded, this type of lending has become increasingly popular with businesses whose sales often come via card, not cash.
As the MCA industry continues to grow, what will the future of MCA lending look like?
Collaboration with Commercial Banks
The success and growth of the merchant cash advance industry have led commercial banks to reevaluate their lending requirements to become more competitive with MCA providers. While banks must maintain strict lending standards, they may begin to partner or collaborate with MCA industry leaders as investors, advisors, or partners.
Commercial banks are noticing the simplicity and necessity of offering small businesses quick and easy financing but may not be able to provide it themselves. By working with an MCA provider, they can give their clients additional options that have been vetted by the bank.
Changes in Oversight
One of the main differences between merchant cash advances and other more traditional forms of funding is that MCAs are exempt from state and federal oversight. This means MCA providers with poor reputations can go unchecked and there are no set standards in place for interest rates or procedural best practices.
With the recent boom of the MCA industry, it may be necessary for an increase in oversight to help clamp down on lenders who are mistreating clients or to set standards for this growing sector. This would help protect small businesses, as well as lend credibility to those MCA providers that are doing the best work for their clients.
Some MCA providers are beginning to diversify their offerings to compete with new financing options offered by prominent names like PayPal and Square. This means some MCA providers may consider offering more traditional loans, lines of credit, and cheaper rates than their larger competitors.
In addition, since small businesses are beginning to have more and more confidence in the MCA process, the interest of venture capitalists and other investors has grown. This might mean the creation of new technology and credit score models that may disrupt how financing has previously been regulated.