Contrary to what some might think, invoice factoring and cash advances have 6 key differences.
The first thing to consider when looking for financing is to understand why you need the money. Do you need working capital sooner rather than later? Is it a one-time thing or an ongoing need?
To help you choose, here are six considerations when deciding between invoice factoring and cash advances. (For a description of both options, read part one in this series.)
1. Purpose of funding: Why do you need the capital?
You can use the money from both invoice factoring and cash advances for any business expense — whether you need to pay employee salaries, operational or supplier costs, or cover capital costs. Factoring is a good solution for ongoing cash flow problems caused by slow-paying clients because you unlock the money right away without having to go into debt. Some businesses look at cash advances for one-time expenses or projects when they feel stuck, such as new capital purchases — but be warned, the interest costs can add up, causing you to actually pay more than you borrowed!
2. Application process
Both invoice factoring and cash advances have relatively simple application processes, however, they are based on different information. Factoring depends on the current and immediate future state of your accounts receivable, while cash advances depend on your business and credit history. That makes factoring more attractive to many business owners since it’s visible proof of their ability to repay.
3. Speed of funding
Most factors are funded within a few days for the first invoice, and even faster on future invoices — sometimes within 24 hours! Cash advances are also funded quickly, typically within a few days, but once again, that speedy promise to get the advance also comes with a costly downside.
4. Cost of funds
Both cash advances and invoice factoring have variable costs because of their different structures. Generally speaking, factoring costs a small percentage of the unpaid invoice. 85% of the value of the invoice is paid immediately, the rest is paid on receipt of payment minus applicable fees. Most factoring options don’t have any origination costs, except for extremely large or
complex factoring deals, which would be discussed in detail and agreed upon with all parties.
Tip: always look for clear, transparent terms from any lending provider to avoid unpleasant surprises. Learn other tips here.
Cash advances, on the other hand, charge significantly higher rates on over the lifetime of the advance, and can even be as high as 40 to 50%.
Additionally, cash advances typically have an origination cost that is charged as a percentage of the total advance amount (usually 1 to 3%). This is on top of the regular interest you’re required to pay every week or month. These high percentages can cripple a business.
5. Opportunities for growth
Invoice factoring funding is dynamic because it can grow with your business. The more you sell, the more you can borrow. It gives you the immediate ability to borrow more and expand your business.
Cash advances are fixed loan amounts that are not easily increased since you’ll need to pay off the existing advance and then qualify for a new one.
6. Availability to new businesses
If your business is still new, invoice factoring is a good option for financing, as it depends more on your client’s history rather than yours. You also won’t need to submit the same amount of paperwork as you would for a cash advance. As a new business, you probably don’t have the tax returns, detailed historical financial statements, expanded business plans, or six months worth of banking statements that a cash advance requires.
Beyond its appeal to newer businesses, invoice factoring is a frequently-used way to support growth for larger, established businesses – it’s not uncommon for companies to factor millions of dollars worth of invoices (see our Recent Fundings).
Ready to increase your regular cash flow? Turn your open invoices into working capital with Liquid Capital’s Invoice Factoring solution.
At Liquid Capital, we work with clients who operate businesses in a variety of industries and office structures — whether from busy downtown buildings, the manufacturing floor, on-the-go or from their home office space. We’re business people ourselves, and our company is built on a network of locally owned and operated Principal offices. Whenever you’re talking to Liquid Capital, you’re talking directly to your funding source and a fellow business person.