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Looking for business debt relief services? Visit Delancey Street.

Merchant Cash Advance Debt Relief: A Comprehensive Guide

What is a Merchant Cash Advance?

A merchant cash advance (MCA) is a type of financing that provides upfront capital to businesses; in exchange for a percentage of their future credit card sales and revenues. It’s not technically a loan, but more like a lump sum payment that’s repaid through your daily batches of credit card transactions.MCAs are marketed as an easy way for businesses to get cash fast, without dealing with lengthy applications or strict approval requirements of traditional bank loans. The problem is, they often come with extremely high interest rates and fees that can quickly spiral into unmanageable debt.

The Dangers of Merchant Cash Advances

While an MCA might seem like a lifeline when your business is strapped for cash, they’re often referred to as a “wildly unregulated industry” by legal experts. Here are some of the biggest pitfalls:

  • Confusing terms and lack of transparency
  • Interest rates that can exceed 100% APR
  • Stacking multiple MCAs on top of each other
  • Aggressive collections tactics like confessions of judgment

It’s easy for businesses to get in over their heads quickly. What might start as a $50K advance to cover expenses can balloon into $100K+ of debt through compounding fees and interest charges.

Signs You Need MCA Debt Relief

If any of these apply to your situation, it may be time to explore debt relief options:

  • You’re struggling to make the daily/weekly payments
  • Your effective interest rate is over 40% APR
  • You’ve taken out multiple cash advances
  • The MCA company has a confession of judgment against you
  • You’re facing aggressive collections calls/threats

The sooner you address an unmanageable MCA situation, the better. Ignoring it will only allow interest and fees to keep piling up.

MCA Debt Relief Options

So what can you do if you’re drowning in merchant cash advance debt? Here are some potential solutions to explore:

Debt Settlement

In a debt settlement, you negotiate with the MCA company to pay a discounted, lump-sum amount to settle the full debt. This can potentially save you thousands compared to paying the total balance.The catch? MCA providers are under no obligation to accept a settlement. And if they do, it will likely require a large upfront payment that may be difficult to afford. You’ll also take a major credit score hit in the process.

See also  Colorado Merchant Cash Advance Debt Relief Lawyers

Debt Consolidation

Another option is consolidating your MCA debts into a new loan product with better terms. This could mean refinancing with a bank loan, getting a lower-interest cash advance, or using a balance transfer credit card.The key is finding a product with reasonable interest rates and payments you can actually afford long-term. Otherwise, you’re just kicking the can down the road.

Bankruptcy

For some businesses, bankruptcy may be the only way out from under crushing MCA debt. Both Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 13 reorganization can discharge merchant cash advances in certain circumstances.Of course, bankruptcy is an absolute last resort with major credit implications. But it does offer a legal path to start over with a clean slate if your situation is dire enough.

Debt Relief Services

There are also companies that specialize in MCA debt negotiation and settlement on your behalf. While legit firms can potentially reduce what you owe, be wary of upfront fees and potential scams.Do your homework and read reviews before signing up. Some of the top-rated MCA debt relief companies include New Start Capital, PayPurchase Debt Solutions, and Advance Relief Solutions.

How to Avoid MCA Debt Traps

The best way to deal with merchant cash advance debt? Try to avoid it in the first place! MCAs should always be an absolute last resort for emergency funding.If you do decide to get an MCA, read the fine print carefully. Understand the true costs, have a realistic payback plan, and avoid stacking multiple advances on top of each other.It’s also wise to explore other financing options first, like:

  • SBA loans or other government small business funding
  • Bank loans or lines of credit
  • Invoice financing
  • Crowdfunding or investors
  • Merchant cash advance alternatives like the Kapitus Revenue Loan

The bottom line? Merchant cash advances can be extremely predatory and risky. If you’re already trapped in unmanageable MCA debt, explore all possible relief options – but be very cautious about taking on any new advances in the future.

See also  Massachusetts Business Debt Settlement Lawyers

Specific Laws and Legal Precedents Around MCAs

There’s been a lot of legal debate and varying court rulings around whether merchant cash advances should be treated as loans or purchases of future income. This distinction is crucial, as it determines if bankruptcy can discharge the debt.In New York, the usury laws have been applied to some MCA agreements, capping interest rates. But in other states, the “purchase of future receivables” argument has allowed MCAs to skirt lending laws.There have also been major lawsuits accusing cash advance companies of predatory lending practices, like failing to disclose annual interest rates over 100%.So while the laws are still evolving, it’s clear that merchant cash advances exist in a legal gray area ripe for abuse. Businesses need to be extremely cautious before signing any MCA contracts.

Potential Defenses Against MCA Debt Collection

If you’re facing aggressive collections from an MCA company, there may be some potential legal defenses depending on your situation:

  • Usury laws – In some states, the interest rates charged could violate usury statutes for legal lending
  • TILA violations – The MCA may have failed to properly disclose fees/APRs under Truth in Lending Act rules
  • FDCPA violations – Debt collectors could be using illegal harassment or misrepresentation tactics
  • Improper licensing – Some MCA providers may not have proper lending licenses in your state
  • Unconscionability – The terms of the agreement were so unfair/deceptive as to be unenforceable

Of course, these are complex legal arguments that would require consulting with an experienced attorney in your area. But it shows there may be recourse if the MCA company acted unethically or illegally.

An Empathetic Perspective on MCA Debt

Look, I get it – dealing with out-of-control merchant cash advance debt is an incredibly stressful situation that can feel hopeless. You took the funding hoping to grow your business, and now you’re drowning in fees and interest that are crippling your cash flow.The MCA companies don’t make it easy either. Their contracts are purposefully confusing, they pile on junk fees at every turn, and some will resort to extremely aggressive collection tactics like confessions of judgment.It’s a predatory system designed to trap small business owners in cycles of debt. And it’s unfortunately quite common, with estimates of over $15 billion in outstanding MCA debt.But you have options to fight back and get relief. Whether it’s negotiating settlements, consolidating into better loan products, or even bankruptcy – don’t just resign yourself to endless payments you can’t afford.Educate yourself on the laws around MCAs in your state. Consult with attorneys and reputable debt relief firms about potential defenses. And if an MCA company is harassing you illegally, file complaints and don’t be afraid to fight back.Running a small business is hard enough without shady lenders compounding your financial stress. You have rights as a borrower, even with merchant cash advances. So explore all possible solutions to get out from under that debt trap and move your business forward.

See also  Fort Worth Business Debt Settlement Lawyers

A Quick Recap

To summarize the key points about merchant cash advance debt relief:

  • MCAs are not loans, but lump sum purchases of future revenues; often with sky-high fees
  • Signs you need relief: missed payments, stacking advances, high interest rates, aggressive collections
  • Potential solutions: debt settlement, consolidation loans, bankruptcy, debt relief services
  • Avoid MCAs if possible – explore other funding like SBA loans, bank financing, invoice factoring
  • Know your rights – some MCA practices may violate usury, disclosure, and debt collection laws
  • Don’t lose hope – get educated on your options to escape the debt trap responsibly

Dealing with unmanageable merchant cash advance debt is an incredibly difficult situation. But through negotiation, consolidation, bankruptcy or other tactics, it is possible to get relief and move your business forward again.The key is taking action quickly before interest and fees spiral further out of control. Explore all your options, stand up to shady MCA practices, and don’t be afraid to fight for a reasonable resolution.I hope this guide has provided some helpful perspective on the realities of MCA debt and potential paths to a fresh start. Wishing you the best of luck!

Delancey Street is here for you

Our team is available always to help you. Regardless of whether you need advice, or just want to run a scenario by us. We take pride in the fact our team loves working with our clients - and truly cares about their financial and mental wellbeing.

"Super fast, and super courteous, Delancey Street is amazing"
Leo
$500,000 MCA Restructured Over 3 Years
"Thanks for helping me in literally 24 hours"
Jason
$250,000 SBA Loan Offer in Compromise
"Great choice for business owners who need a trustworthy partner"
Mary
$350,000 MCA Restructured Over 2 Years

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