American Express Merchant Financing Review

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

Highlights

  • Short-term loans
  • Settlement advances
  • Working capital loans
  • Fast application process
  • Low rates and fees
  • No origination fee
  • Excellent customer service

Overview

Founded in 2011, American Express Merchant Financing is Amex’s contribution to the world of online lending. The company offers term loans with lengths of one- or two-years and settlement advances that are dispersed and repaid on a monthly basis.

Although technically Amex offers loans, these loans are structured similarly to merchant cash advances (MCA). Instead of charging interest, Amex charges a “flax, fixed fee,” which means that your total payback amount will be determined before you borrow the funds. To repay, Amex normally collects the principal and the fee by taking a percentage of your credit and debit card sales.

Of course, the biggest difference between Amex and an MCA is that the former tends to be much less expensive. While cash advances notoriously have fees that range from $0.10 – $0.60 per dollar borrowed, Amex’s fees normally land somewhere between $0.06 and $0.26 per dollar. Although technically you can’t calculate an APR on this product, the APR on an equivalent loan would be somewhere between 11% and 27%.

Amex Merchant Financing is available for most businesses that have been in operation for at least two years, make at least $50K in annual revenue and, of course, accept Amex cards. Due to the necessity of daily repayments it’s doubtful that this lender will accept businesses that don’t have a steady cash flow. Seasonal businesses, or those with cash flows that fluctuate greatly, might want to look elsewhere.

For everybody else, however, Amex Merchant Financing is certainly a source of working capital worth considering. Read on for the details!

Services Offered

American Express offers settlement advances and short-term loans.

Borrower Qualifications

These are the minimum requirements to get a loan from Amex:

Time in business:2 years
Credit score:Unknown
Business revenue:$50K/year (with at least $12K/year in debit/credit card sales)

To be eligible for this service, you must accept Amex cards, and your business cannot be on the company’s list of restricted businesses. Additionally, if you’re interested in two-year financing, you must have a minimum 24-month history processing this company’s cards.

Terms and Fees

Settlement Advance

Borrowing amount:$10K – $1M
Term length:1 year
Factor rate: x1.005 – x1.0067 per month
Origination fee:None
APR range: Approx. 11% – 16%
Learn more
Collateral:None

Amex’s settlement advance is intended to help businesses manage cash flow on a monthly basis. Each month, Amex will disperse a certain amount of money, and you’ll have to repay the principal plus a fee over the course of the month.

Amex’s fees are calculated by multiplying the factor rate by the principal. For example, if you received $5,000 and your rate was x1.005 per month, you would have to repay $5,025 ($5,000 x 1.005 = $5,025). On an annual basis, you’re looking at a rate between x1.06 and x1.08, or an effective APR of between about 11% and 16%.

The agreement is for a year in length. It will be automatically renewed at the end of the year, but can be canceled by either party at any time without penalty.

Repayment for settlement advances can happen one of two ways:

  • Amex can deduct a percentage of your Amex card transactions until the capital is repaid. For example, the company can deduct 25% of each transaction until they’ve collected the principal and the fee.
  • The company can create a bank account for your business that Amex has access to. This way, they can deduct a percentage of all your debit and credit card sales, before sending the rest of the money to your regular business bank account. This type of repayment is called lock box withholding.

One- or Two-Year Financing

Borrowing amount:$5K – $2M
Term length:1 or 2 years
Factor rate:x1.06 – x1.28
Origination fee:None
APR range:Approx. 11% – 27%
Learn more
Collateral:Personal guarantee for loans under $50K

These are term loans with a repayment length of either one or two years. The one-year loans carry a factor rate between x1.06 and x1.14 of your loan amount, and the two-year loans carry a rate between x1.12 and x1.28. The effective APR for both loans will be somewhere between 11% and 27%.

Because the fee is only calculated once, normally you wouldn’t be able to save money by repaying early. However, Amex offers prepayment discounts depending upon how early you repay the loan:

  • If you repay within 180 days (for the one-year loan) or 360 days (for the two-year loan), you will get a 25% rebate of the remaining balance.
  • If you repay within 270 days (for the one-year loan) or 540 days (for the two-year loan), you will get a 10% rebate of the remaining balance.

Much like the settlement advances, there are many different ways to repay Amex’s term loans:

  • Amex can set up a lock box. All of your credit card transactions will be deposited into a bank account controlled by Amex; every day, they’ll deduct a certain percentage of your profits, and send the remainder to your business’s bank account.
  • Amex can partner with your payments processor. When your processor receives a credit card transaction, they’ll deduct a percentage to send to Amex, along with all the usual transaction fees, before routing the rest on to you.
  • Amex can deduct a percentage of all your Amex card transactions. This option is only available for loans above $35K. 
  • Amex can withdraw a fixed about of money from your business bank account each day via ACH. This option is only available to businesses with one-year loans below $150K.

Application Process

The application process begins online. Amex will request information such as financial statements, business tax ID, and personal information. Once they’ve made sure your business is eligible, a representative will contact you to discuss your financing options and gather more information about your financial situation and what sort of loan you’re looking for.

If you’re approved for a loan, 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 and Advertising Transparency

Amex provides all the important information up-front 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 and 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 and Complaints

Between the rather vague name and the 2,600+ complaints on Amex’s BBB page, I was unable to find a whole lot of poor reviews on the company’s funding service. However, here are the reasons this service may not work for your business.

  • 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.
  • Financial history requirements: Amex requires a much more extensive financial history than other alternate lenders. For a one-year loan, you need to provide a year’s worth of financial statements. For a two-year loan, you need two years worth. While tracking down the documentation might be annoying, be aware that the more detailed the documentation you have to provide, the less the loan normally costs.
  • Changing withholding limits: If you fall behind on your payments, Amex will up the withholding limit, even all the way up to 100%, until you get back on track. While this may be frustrating, Amex fully discloses this information on the website.

Positive Reviews and 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 some of the lowest 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 the best that I’ve seen.

I was unable to find other positive reviews of this service on the web. 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, Amex’s Merchant Financing carries reasonable fees and easy repayments. With effective APRs between 11% and 27%, their rates are comparable to (or better than) most of their peers.

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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