Oklahoma City Merchant Cash Advance Attorney
Oklahoma City Merchant Cash Advance Attorney
Merchant cash advances have become a popular alternative financing option for small businesses in Oklahoma City. Unlike traditional bank loans, merchant cash advances provide quick access to capital by purchasing a portion of a business’s future credit card sales. However, merchant cash advances also come with some major drawbacks that business owners should understand before signing any agreements. This article provides an overview of merchant cash advances in Oklahoma City, discusses the pros and cons, and explains why working with an experienced attorney is so important when dealing with these complex financial products.
What is a Merchant Cash Advance?
A merchant cash advance (MCA) works differently than a standard small business loan. With an MCA, a financing company provides a lump sum of capital to a business in exchange for a fixed percentage of future credit card and debit card sales until the advance is repaid
.For example, an MCA company may give a business $50,000 upfront in return for 15% of daily credit card receipts until $75,000 is collected. The business would then make daily payments based on 15% of each day’s credit card transactions. There is no set repayment schedule – the business simply pays a portion of sales as they come in.MCAs are sometimes marketed as purchases of future receivables rather than loans in order to avoid being categorized as loans and falling under state lending laws. However, in practice they function very similarly to loans and carry extremely high equivalent interest rates.
Pros and Cons of Merchant Cash Advances
Merchant cash advances have some benefits but also major drawbacks compared to conventional small business loans
- Fast funding – Businesses can receive funds in as little as 24-48 hours which appeals to those with immediate capital needs
- Flexible qualifications – Approval is based more on credit card sales volume than credit scores or financial history
- Predictable payments – Daily payments are fixed percentages of credit card sales so they scale up and down with revenue
- Very high costs – MCAs can carry annualized rates over 100% when all fees are calculated
- Risk of overpayment – Businesses may pay back far more than anticipated if credit card sales are low
- Locked into daily payments – Repayments are taken directly from credit card receipts so the business loses control
- Vague contract terms – Agreements often lack transparency about total costs and repayment details
- Personal liability – Business owners are often required to personally guarantee repayment
- Damage to credit – Missed or late payments can hurt the owner’s personal credit score
Why Work with a Merchant Cash Advance Attorney?
Given the complex nature of MCA agreements, it is highly advisable for any Oklahoma City business considering an MCA to retain legal counsel to review the contract. An experienced attorney can help in several important ways:
- Review contract terms – They will identify areas of the agreement that are unfair or deceptive to the business owner. This includes looking for hidden fees, unreasonable default clauses, and other predatory terms.
- Explain legal rights – The attorney will advise you on your rights under Oklahoma law regarding MCA contracts and disclosures. Knowledge of your rights is critical.
- Negotiate better terms – An attorney may be able to negotiate the removal or alteration of unfavorable clauses in the MCA contract before signing.
- Avoid scams – Unfortunately, some MCA providers engage in outright fraud. A lawyer can help vet companies and steer clear of scammers.
- Debt relief assistance – If the business struggles to repay the MCA, the attorney can help negotiate a settlement or restructuring of the debt.
- Defense in litigation – If legal action is initiated over non-payment, the attorney can defend the business owner in court.
Having an experienced lawyer thoroughly review any proposed MCA agreement and represent your interests during the process provides invaluable protection. Do not sign a merchant cash advance contract without proper legal guidance.
Oklahoma Merchant Cash Advance Regulations
While Oklahoma has not enacted statutes specifically regulating MCAs, some consumer protection laws may still apply:
- Usury laws – Interest rates and fees above certain thresholds may violate state laws against predatory lending. Usury challenges have succeeded in some cases.
- Deceptive trade practices – Misleading statements or omissions by MCA providers could fall under Oklahoma’s prohibition on deceptive business practices.
- Disclosure requirements – A 2021 state law requires enhanced disclosures from MCA companies about repayment terms, costs, eligibility, and other details.
- Recent federal scrutiny – Regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have started cracking down on abuses in the MCA industry across the U.S.
While oversight remains limited, working with an attorney can help Oklahoma City business owners assert their rights under existing consumer protections. Be sure to seek legal advice before entering into any MCA agreement.
Alternatives to Merchant Cash Advances
Because merchant cash advances come with such high costs and risks, business owners should explore alternatives before resorting to an MCA:
- Traditional bank loans – Banks offer term loans and lines of credit with lower rates, predictable payments, and often better protections. Government-backed SBA loans are also an option.
- Invoice factoring – Rather than credit card receipts, companies can sell outstanding invoices to quickly access capital tied up in unpaid customer bills.
- Equipment financing – Leasing or financing options allow businesses to acquire equipment without large upfront cash purchases.
- Friends/family loans – Borrowing from people you know often comes with more flexible terms and lower costs.
- Business credit cards – Cards with 0% intro APR offers essentially provide interest-free short-term financing.
- Crowdfunding – Platforms like Kickstarter allow you to raise funds from customers and supporters.
While easy to obtain, a merchant cash advance should not be the first choice for financing due to the potential for abuse. Seek guidance from a qualified attorney and accountant to explore safer, lower-cost funding options before resorting to an MCA.
Merchant cash advances allow Oklahoma City businesses to quickly access capital by leveraging future credit card sales. However, the extremely high costs and risky repayment terms mean MCAs should be approached with extreme caution. Be sure to have an experienced attorney review any proposed MCA contract to help avoid unfavorable terms and potential scams. With proper legal guidance, you can make the most informed decision on whether a merchant cash advance makes sense for your business situation.