Rapid Advance Reviews - Financial Lender Pros & Cons
- Small business loan
- Merchant cash advance
- Line of credit
- SBA bridge loan
- Multiple funding options
- Three levels: Standard, Select and Preferred
- Fast approval and funding
- Not always clear about application requirements
- Funding process may take longer than expected
- Doesn't lend to all 50 U.S. states
What businesses is RapidAdvance best for?
RapidAdvance serves businesses in need of funding to bridge the gap between profitable seasons or cover expenses while waiting for approval for a Small Business Administration loan.
Established merchants requiring flexible funding options with customized fees and payment structures may be able to find a loan from RapidAdvance that's cheaper than similar products from other fast-cash lenders.
RapidAdvance is a fast-cash loan company offering multiple financing options. Established in 2005, RapidAdvance focuses on working with entrepreneurs across industries and states the company is "committed to success." By considering more than just credit score, this lender may be able to provide funding for merchants considered high risk or off-limits by banks.
RapidAdvance has provided over $1 billion in funding through four types of loans:
- Small business working capital
- Merchant cash advances (MCAs)
- Business lines of credit
- SBA bridge loans
Merchants applying for short-term working capital or MCAs may qualify for different tiers, each granting access to better rates and terms. Small business loans are offered at Standard, Select and Preferred levels; MCAs are available at Starter and Premium levels.
With this range of options, RapidAdvance is able to match businesses to offers with favorable payment structures in ways less flexible lenders can't.
RapidAdvance seeks to understand a merchant's full financial profile during the approval process. In order to get a clear picture, the lender requires applicants for small business loans to show:
- Minimum FICO score of 600
- Minimum of 2 years in business
- At least 5 deposits per month totaling $10,000 or more
- A maximum of 3 negative ending days per month
Merchants seeking MCA loans must:
- Have a minimum FICO score of 500
- Be in business for at least 3 months
Although credit score is a standard requirement, RapidAdvance doesn't base its decisions solely on this number. Merchants with lower scores but showing strong financial profiles overall may still qualify for funding.
Flexibility and personalization are emphasized at RapidAdvance. In contrast to similar companies offering limited term lengths and fee structures, this lender advertises its willingness to tailor its loan products to the individual needs of each applicant. If another company extends a better offer, RapidAdvance may consider increasing the loan amount or adjusting the terms to land the agreement.
Most of the businesses to which RapidAdvance caters are in industries relying on client or sales volume for the majority of profits. These include:
- Auto repair shops
- Beauty and nail salons
- Grocery stores
- Liquor stores
- Medical practices
- Restaurants and bars
Companies operating in these sectors often experience periods when cash flow drops off and may benefit from the types of financial products RapidAdvance offers until business picks up again. Because the lender reviews the total financial picture at an applicant's company when considering approval, these natural fluctuations in income shouldn't affect the final decision to provide financing.
Not all lenders will work with home-based businesses, but RapidAdvance may agree to extend a loan offer to those meeting at last one of the following criteria:
- Owns or rents warehouse or storage space
- Employs at least four people
- Owner has invested $100,000 or more in the company
This gives small businesses without storefronts more options for funding and helps home-based entrepreneurs compete in competitive markets.
Despite this willingness to be flexible, RapidAdvance does restrict the types of companies with which it will work. Merchants in the following industries will have to look elsewhere for funding:
- Auto dealerships
- Financial services
- Firearms and ammunition distribution
- Law firms
- Real estate
Merchants can qualify for a range of term lengths based on time in business and financial credentials. RapidAdvance offers:
- 4 to 12 months for Standard
- Up to 15 months for Select
- Up to 18 months for Preferred
To qualify for the Preferred level, a company must be in business for at least 6 years. This prevents new companies from getting the benefit of a longer period of time in which to pay off loans and affects the total amount of daily payments.
All loans are paid back with scheduled payments made each day through an ACH. Payments for short-term loans are calculated as fixed amounts, and MCAs are paid off with a percentage of the day's credit card sales.
RapidAdvance may be flexible with the terms of MCAs because of the nature of repayment. Terms can also be more forgiving with SBA bridge loans, since the amount of funding granted is based on monthly gross sales and will therefore result in a payment structure catering to each merchant's specific financial situation.
What's Required to Apply
Merchants seeking funding from RapidAdvance begin by filling out a two-page online pre-approval application in which they're asked to provide:
- Business name
- First and last name of the applicant
- Contact phone number
- Business zip code
- Number of years in business
- Monthly sales
- Email address
Based on this information, RapidAdvance either provides an immediate funding estimate or has a business advisor contact the applicant by phone.
Requirements for completing the application differ depending on the loan type and amount. At the very least, RapidAdvance will need to see:
- Photo ID, usually a driver's license
- A voided business check
- The most recent 3 months' worth of bank statements
MCA applicants also must provide their last three credit card processing statements. When applying for more than $75,000 in funding, merchants are required to show landlord information for rental properties or the most recent mortgage payment for owned properties. Funding amounts may be as much as $1 million for short-term business loans or up to 250 percent of monthly credit card sales for MCAs.
Approval for loans generally occurs within 24 hours of applying, and funding is delivered in an average of three days. MCA funds may arrive in as little as one day, but more complex applications could take a week to process. In some cases, RapidAdvance may ask for additional paperwork, such as personal and business tax returns or balance sheets. To back up the loan, the lender requires a UCC-1 blanket lien. This gives RapidAdvance the right to lay claim to a merchant's assets in the event they default on their payments.
Reviews of RapidAdvance suggest not all companies that get preapproved wind up receiving loan offers. Some applicants report the lender told them they didn't meet the qualification requirements after all application documentation had been provided. However, according to Fundera, merchants rejected for loans may reapply within 30 days. If the rejection is based on credit score, RapidAdvance won't consider a new application for six months.
Even though RapidAdvance offers more types of loans than other fast-cash lenders, the company uses a range of buy rates to calculate fees rather than the percentage system used by traditional funding providers.
The buy rate for which an applicant qualifies depends on how long the company has been in business, the health of its financial profile and its credit score. The higher the tier, the lower the fee:
- Standard - 1.19 to 1.3
- Select - 1.13 to 1.27
- Preferred - 1.11 to 1.22
These rates are fairly normal when compared to, and in some cases lower than, those offered by similar lenders. A merchant qualifying for a $100,000 loan at the lowest tier would pay at most $30,000 in fees; at the highest tier, the maximum fees would be $22,000.
Although buy rates from RapidAdvance are comparatively low, their loans are still much more expensive than those from traditional lenders. Short term lengths increase the burden of daily payments, meaning merchants required to pay loans back in only a few months may owe thousands of dollars in fees per day. Such expenses are a common drawback of fast-cash loans.
Some merchants take out loans from more than one source as they attempt to balance cash flow and cover mounting expenses. Known as stacking, RapidAdvance prohibits this process and will not work with customers with existing balances from other funding providers. To retain its status as a first-position lender, RapidAdvance may pay off up to two outstanding balances totaling no more than $100,000.
RapidAdvance processes loan documents without any additional fees.
Customers qualifying for the Standard tier are not charged an origination fee. RapidAdvance deducts a 2.5 percent fee for Select and Preferred loan customers. This may affect how much a merchant actually saves when qualifying for the lower rates offered by these tiers.
All types of loans from RapidAdvance may be considered for renewal once merchants pay back 57 percent of the original balance. The lender reports that 75 percent of their customers renew, suggesting most merchants working with RapidAdvance feel the company is reliable enough to trust for continued funding. However, because the new loan will also carry fees from the associated buy rate and may be subject to an origination fee, merchants considering renewal must take these additional expenses into account.
As with most lenders in the fast cash industry, RapidAdvance doesn't offer interest forgiveness. However, they may consider discounting fees on remaining balances for merchants willing to sign a prepayment agreement when a loan is first funded.
According to the RapidAdvance website, most merchants use their loans to:
- Purchase new equipment
- Upgrade POS systems
- Improve marketing and client acquisition strategies
- Assist during times when cash flow is slow
- Renovate, expand or relocate when the business grows
The lender's small business loans are suitable for any expense, so applicants don't have to choose whether to apply for working capital, an equipment loan or professional practice funding.
MCAs and lines of credit are similarly flexible, although the additional benefit of a line of credit is cash can be drawn out whenever it's needed and fees are only paid on the amount borrowed. Instead of taking one lump sum, merchants have the advantage of knowing there's always a backup source of working capital available.
SBA bridge loans are designed to help merchants handle regular business expenses while going through the lengthy process involved in obtaining a loan from the Small Business Administration. These loans can keep a company going until it gets approved by the SBA for a larger amount.
RapidAdvance assigns a "dedicated business advisor" to each applicant to assist them in the lending process and offer help and guidance as they seek to get the most out of their loans.
Quite a bit of information about RapidAdvance is available across the web. Potential applicants wishing to learn more about previous customers' experiences with the lender can visit TrustPilot, MerchantMaverick and the BBB for reviews.
Both TrustPilot and the BBB show largely positive feedback, with TrustPilot rating RapidAdvance 9.7 out of 10. Satisfied customers say this lender:
- Is true to its promise to provide quick funding
- Is staffed by a number of helpful customer service representatives
- Makes the loan process easy
- Conducts business in a professional manner
- Is willing to provide after-hours help
- Responds in a timely manner
MerchantMaverick's rating puts RapidAdvance at 3.5 out of 5, noting most of the information provided on the lender's website lacks depth. Other complaints voiced by merchants include misrepresentation of services, poor communication and being refused for a loan after pre-approval.
RapidAdvance responds to both positive feedback and complaints, showing a willingness to stay engaged with customers and provide solutions when necessary.
Licenses & Accreditations
RapidAdvance has been accredited by the BBB since 2010 and holds an A+ rating based on the positive feedback from customers and the company's responsiveness to complaints. The lender offers services in 45 out of the 50 U.S. states, excluding:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
Additional information about the company may be found on high-profile review sites, including MerchantMaverick and Fundera.
Company Contacts Details
- Customer service: (866) 224-1162
- Sales support: (800) 631-3370
- Jeremy Brown, Chairman
- Will Tumulty, CEO
- Mark Cerminaro, CRO
- Joseph Looney, COO