American Express Merchant Financing Review

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Phone Number
1-855-298-1209
Date Established
2011
Location
New York City, NY

Pros

  • Suited for small businesses
  • Competitive terms and fees
  • No additional fees
  • Prepayment discounts

Cons

  • Unsuited for startups

Overview

Founded in 2011, American Express Merchant Financing is Amex’s contribution to the world of online lending. The company offers business loans with term lengths of six months, 12 months, and 24 months.

Although they are technically business loans, in some ways, Merchant Financing resembles a merchant cash advance. Instead of interest, the company charges a one-time fixed fee. To repay, Amex normally collects a percentage of your daily sales.

However, Amex loans tend to be less expensive than MCAs. While cash advances notoriously have fees that range from about $0.10 – $0.60 per dollar borrowed, Amex fees will land somewhere between $0.0175 and $0.28 per dollar. Borrower fees are determined by the strength of the business, the loan term length, and other factors.

Amex Merchant Financing is available for most businesses that process Amex cards, as long as they’ve been in business at least two years, make at least $50,000 in annual revenue, and process at least $12,000 in debit and credit card sales. These loans can be used for many business purposes such as “boosting cash flow, upgrading equipment, adding staff, or funding large projects” (according to Amex).

Are these the right loans for you? Keep reading to find out!

Services Offered

American Express offers short-term small business loans with term lengths of 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months.

Borrower Qualifications

To qualify for a loan from AMEX, you must meet these requirements:

Time in business:2 years
Credit score:Not specified
Business revenue:$50,000 per year
At least $12,000 per year in debit and credit card sales

To be eligible for this service, you must accept Amex cards. If you’re interested in two-year financing, you must have a minimum 24-month history processing this company’s cards.

Terms & Fees

AMEX Merchant Financing offers loans with repayment lengths of 6 months, 12 months, or 24 months. Here are the details:

Borrowing Amount:$5,000 – $2,000,000
Term length:6 months, 12 months, or 24 months
Fixed fee:For 6-month loans: 1.75% – 7% of the borrowing amount
For 12-month loans: 3.5% – 14% of the borrowing amount
For 24-month loans: 7% – 28% of the borrowing amount
Origination fee:None
Effective APR:Learn more
Collateral:Business assets, excluding real estate and motor vehicles
Possible personal guarantee on 12-month loans under $35,000

AMEX loans differ from traditional installment loans in a few ways.

First, these loans do not carry interest. Instead, borrowers will have a fixed fee, which is repaid along with the principal. For example, if you have a 12-month loan of $100,000 and your fixed fee is 3.5% of the borrowing amount, you will have to repay a total of $103,500—the principal amount of $100,000, plus a fixed fee of $3,500.

Because the fee is pre-determined, technically you cannot save money on fixed fees by repaying your loan early. (For comparison, because interest charges are accrued over time, you can halt the charges by repaying early.) However, Amex offers a rebate of a percentage of the fee depending on how early you repay your loan. Here is how early you have to repay your loan to qualify for the 10% and 25% rebates:

25% rebate10% rebate
6-month loan:Within 90 daysWithin 135 days
12-month loanWithin 180 daysWithin 270 days
24-month loan:Within 360 daysWithin 540 days

Amex loans also differ from traditional loans in how they’re repaid. You will have to make daily repayments on your loan, and, in most cases, your payments will not be fixed. Amex has quite a few different ways to repay your loan:

  • Deducting a daily percentage of your Amex receivables.
  • Working with your credit card processor to deduct a percentage of all your credit and debit card sales.
  • Setting up a business “transfer account,” in which Amex can deduct a percentage of your daily sales before sending the bulk to your regular business bank account.
  • Deducting a fixed fee from your bank account each day via ACH.

Head over to the Amex Merchant Financing FAQ for a more thorough explanation of each of these options. As you can see, in most cases, Amex will be deducting a percentage of your daily sales. Because your sales fluctuate, you will pay more when you make a lot of money, and less when you don’t make as much.

If you fall behind on payments, Amex might increase the percentage they withdraw or debit your bank account. Late payments might incur a late fee (the greater of $39 or 2.99% of the past-due amount). However, aside from the fixed fee and potential late fees, Amex does not charge other fees, such as origination fees, application fees, or maintenance fees.

Application Process

You can kick off the application process online or over the phone. Amex advises having this documentation on hand before you start:

  • Tax ID or American Express Merchant Account Number
  • Total Annual Credit & Debit Card Receivables
  • Credit Card Processor Name and Number
  • Total Annual Business Revenue
  • Total Annual Personal Income
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Percentage of Ownership
  • Type of Business Entity
  • Business Bank Account Details (bank name, routing number, account number)

You might also be asked to provide other documents, depending on your situation. Amex will evaluate these documents and your account to decide if you’re eligible for a loan.

If you are approved for a loan and you agree to the terms, the funds could be available as soon as the next business day. However, availability is dependent upon other arrangements Amex has to make, such as talking to your credit card processor or setting up a bank account for funds transfer. Regardless, funding should not take more than a few business days.

Sales & Advertising Transparency

Amex provides all the important information clearly on their website. You should have a pretty good understanding of how the whole thing works before you decide whether or not to apply for a loan.

Customer Service & Technical Support

American Express is available by phone. Businesses working with Amex are assigned a single representative who remains their contact throughout the life of the loan.

While I’ve found very few reviewers responding specifically to how customer service reps handle financing questions and concerns, Amex’s customer service as a whole has a very positive reputation on the web.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

As a whole, Amex currently has 100 negative reviews and over 2,700 complaints on the Better Business Bureau. However, very few of them are about Merchant Financing. Amex’s loan service also doesn’t have many customer reviews elsewhere on the web.

Regardless, here are some reasons an Amex loan might not be right for your business:

  • Delays & Communication Problems: A few borrowers in our comment section have reported that they experienced funding delays and communication problems.
  • Short Term Lengths: The longest term length Amex offers is two years. Because you are going to have to repay the capital relatively quickly, these loans will probably not work for long-term projects.
  • Daily Withdrawals: Amex will deduct money from your business every day. If you’d prefer less frequent payments, you might want to look at some other options.
  • Changing Withholding Limits: If you fall behind on your payments, Amex might increase the withholding limit until you get back on track. While this may be frustrating, Amex fully discloses this information on the website.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Amex has a few customer testimonials on the funding page of their website. Here is what they like about Amex Merchant Financing:

  • Competitive Fees: Amex’s fees are lower than many others in the short-term lending space. Additionally, this is one the few lenders that does not charge an origination fee.
  • Automatic Repayments: No checks? No problem!
  • Online Tracking: Track how much you’ve paid off, and how much you still have left to go.
  • Reimbursements: With a possible 25% reimbursement if you pay your loan off early enough, Amex’s early repayments deal is certainly one of the best we’ve seen.

If you have any experiences with American Express Merchant Financing, we’d love to hear from you. Good experience or bad, leave a message in the comments.

Final Verdict

As a whole, loans via American Express Merchant Financing carry reasonable fees and easy methods of repayment. If you run a business with daily income, accept Amex cards, and need a short-term loan, Amex is certainly a resource worth considering.

Some businesses might find that they want longer term lengths or fixed monthly repayments. If that describes you, Amex isn’t your only financing option; there are plenty of other lenders that might have what you’re looking for. Otherwise, Amex Merchant Financing is an excellent source for businesses in need of working capital.

Bianca Crouse

Bianca Crouse

Bianca is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. As a product of the digital age, she likes absorbing large amounts of information and figures she might as well pass it on. When not staring at a screen, she is probably foraging for food outside, playing board games, or harassing somebody with theories about that movie she just watched.
Bianca Crouse
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6 Comments

    Jim

    I am an attorney. My client sold his business. He had a AMEX Merchants Loan. Because there were other creditors and AMEX had a lien on the personal property of the business, I held in my trust escrow account proceeds of the sale – the money needed to pay the outstanding loan. I wanted to make sure the loan was paid and the lien released. After two calls with AMEX I was told I had to get approval to pay the loan from my trust account. I sent in such a request (an e-mail to the address given me) putting in my letter everything I was told to do. I signed it and had my client sign it. About three weeks having gone by, and not having heard anything, I called AMEX. I ask why I was not called. I was told the address of AMEX I sent the e-mail to only received calls, they did not call back. The lady told me AMEX had received my request. She then gave me the amount needed to pay and the wiring information. I promptly wired the money. The next day my client got a call form AMEX saying they could not take third party funds. Since then wee have been going around and around. A lady of AMEX’s Risk department called me looking for the money. I told them they had it. She said she would check. She never got bak to me. A week later I am again on the phone with the AMEX Risk department. The lady I then spoke with told me my client had to give me a power of attorney. I told her my client had signed the e-mails sent. She told me it had to be notarized. That was the first time I was told notarization was needed. I asked her for the power of attorney form. She told me there was no specific form, that I could write my own, that it just needed to be acknowledged. She also said they were going to send back the money I had wired. Told her not to do that – that I would get his signature notarized. Today my client was in – and we resigned the prior e-mails and I had his signature notarized. Out it went. I then called the Risk department to let them know it was being sent. I was told by Jeremy of that department that the money had already been returned. I do not know if he is accurate on that – but I will check with my bank. He then referred me to customer service so they could tell me what is needed. I spoke with customer service – but by that time I had sent my client home – as he had already verified his identity with the Risk department. That apparently is not enough. Customer service – if I understood Ray accurately – does not have access to the Risk department recordings. Regarding recording phone calls, AMEX records everything. However I was told that if I record they immediately hang up. In other words, only they can record. So . . . for what it is worth, AMEX is impossible to work with. At closing mortgages are routinely paid by Tellers checks and Bank checks and attorney escrow checks or wired funds – all third-party funds. What is wrong with AMEX?

    1

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

      Jason Estes

      I was approved for a $60,000.00 loan which went fairly smooth. The loan officer told me over the phone it would be a 2 day delay in credit card deposits, well needless to say it has been 16 days and still no deposits. They are sitting on over $50,000.00 of my deposits and I keep getting the run around. Stay away from this legal loan shark and horribly run company.

      1

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

        Wade Bell

        I had a loan approved with documents and while I was in the process of providing this company with other documents, they cancelled my approved loan. After doing what a representative ask me to do the results was termination. This company needs to train their representatives to take responsibility for the information they suggest to those seeking to be financed by there company. After speaking to a supervisor, the bottom line was no compromise or suggestions to resolve my approved loan being declined which in the process of getting them what they ask for. Be careful!

        1

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

          Chad Pisaneschi

          Have had my last two loans handled through AMEX MF and have been extremely happy. The first time I had $35k the next day with no paperwork required. The second was $40k which I had to provide tax returns and 6 months of bank statements. It took a few extra days but was quick.They ACH my normal bank account a fixed amount each bank working day (i.e. Monday – Friday except bank holidays)Have never had an issue and recommend it highly.

          5

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

            Linda

            American Express merchant financing is similar and almost better than a hard money loan for real estate. No negotiation and haggling and no points. Money in your bank the very next day. I have used it twice and it was very helpful during our recovery from the 2008 economic challenge. Thankful it was available and wouldn’t hesitate to use it again should the need arise. I wish it was a true amortization loan though.

            5

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

              karen mahoney

              While always polite, and “helpful” these folks are quick to get you set up in a loan.BUT… they will not negotiate the payments for each month and base them on some strange algorithm that is nonsense. No, your payments will not be the same each month, they will be all over the board from silly low to eye-bulging high. If you don’t have enough charges to satisfy the payment, then they will jump to 100% of your charges until satisfied…. just when you are cash poor and need the money most. Bet on it.THEN when you have paid the loan off, no one will call you to terminate the loan and set up the paperwork to return your payments to their regular routing. I had to call them, repeatedly. In fact, the “letter” they sent to verify that my loan was paid off was NOT on letterhead, and had NO signature. Worthless. Escalated to a “supervisor” without satisfaction. A catch-22.Eventually (1 month later) I have a statement that shows my balance paid in full. That means for over 1 month, my card charges continued to be funneled through their pass-through account and take 5 days to reach my account. So they got to have my money for free to make money at the over-night rates.Think through any loan you might want with these folks. They are not flexible, not negotiable, and not professional in how they handle your needs. They work at their convenience, not yours.

              2

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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