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First American Merchant business loans review

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Get connected with merchant cash advances for just about every industry.

Having a steady source of financing is key to meeting your business’s full potential. But it can be difficult to be approved if most lenders consider your industry high risk. That’s where First American Merchant comes in: It can connect businesses of all types to merchant cash advances — even medical marijuana dispensaries.


Product NameFirst American Merchant Business Loans
RequirementsMinimum personal credit score of 500. At least 6 months in business.

What is First American Merchant?

First American Merchant is a California-based lender that offers unsecured merchant cash advances. This type of financing is designed for businesses with lots of consumer sales — like retail or e-commerce businesses. It works by giving you an advance on your business’s future sales, which you pay back with a percentage of your daily sales. Unlike many other types of merchant cash advances, this one comes with interest and fees, rather than just a fixed fee.

First American Merchant’s partner lenders offer both a traditional merchant cash advance and an ACH funding program. With the traditional cash advance, your lender withdraws a percentage of your daily credit card sales until your loan, plus the factor rate, is paid off. With the ACH funding program, it withdraws from your daily bank account deposits. If your credit score is over 700, your business might be able to qualify for biweekly, weekly or even monthly repayments.

First American Merchant is not forthcoming about the loan amounts, rates and fees its partner lenders offer for its merchant cash advances. It also doesn’t offer a ballpark range of loan terms.

Medical marijuana merchant cash advances

Own a cannabis dispensary? First American Merchant also works with lenders that offer merchant cash advances specifically designed for medical marijuana companies. Your cannabis business can get an advance between $2,500 and $100,000 of its future sales. The same two types of financing are available with this option. It also isn’t forthcoming about the loan costs and terms.

Consumer financing through First American Merchant

On top of connecting you with business loans, First American Merchant’s partners offer financing programs for your customers, also known as point of sale (POS) financing. Through this program, your customers can borrow up to $5,000 with a loan term of 3, 6 or 12 months, and your business will get paid in full within three days of the purchase.

What makes First American Merchant unique?

First American Merchant’s minimal eligibility requirements and openness to high-risk borrowers might make it a valuable resource for businesses struggling to find a loan. It’s also more hands-on than many other online business loan connection services, taking care of the application for you rather than directing you to a lender. While it has over 100 partner lenders, it’ll bring your application to three or four that it thinks might be the most suitable for your business.

What are the benefits of borrowing from First American Merchant?

  • High approval rate. With few eligibility requirements, most applicants are approved for a loan.
  • Don’t have to apply through the lender. First American Merchant takes care of the application process and essentially applies to several of its partner lenders for you.
  • Cannabis friendly. This connection service could be a valuable resource to the medical marijuana industry.

What to watch out for

  • Not forthcoming about numbers. You won’t be able to get info on what kind of loan amounts, terms and costs you might get through its lenders until after you apply.
  • Potential hard credit check. Some of First American Merchant’s lenders do a hard credit pull that affects your credit score when you apply.
  • Comes with interest. Paying interest on your merchant cash advance means the longer it takes for you to pay off your loan, the more you’ll end up paying.

Compare other alternative business loan providers

Updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values Min. Amount Max. Amount Requirements
Annual business revenue of at least $42,000, at least 9 months in business, personal credit score of 550+.
Customizable loans with no origination fee for business owners in a hurry.
Personal credit score of 680, no late payments or bankruptcies.
Grow your startup or cannabis business with a line of credit or fixed-term business loan.
Documented income and records of your business spending and accounts.
Connects cannabis businesses with lenders willing to work with them across the country.
Must own a startup in the cannabis space. You're not eligible if your company is outside of the US or already reports to the SEC.
Raise funds for your cannabis business while using a streamlined platform to communicate with investors and develop a loyal brand following.

Compare up to 4 providers

What do customers say about First American Merchant?

Almost nothing. As of June 2018, it gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which it’s been accredited with since 2016. It only has one customer review on its BBB page, a complaint about giving First American Merchant their bank login credentials before being rejected. First American Merchant responded, explaining the application process and why that borrower was rejected.

We weren’t able to find any other customer reviews on Trustpilot, Yelp, Reddit or other online forums.

What do I need to apply?

Eligibility requirements vary, depending on which program you qualify for. To be eligible for a merchant cash advance, your business must:

  • Make at least $5,000 a month. For a merchant cash advance, this should primarily be in credit card sales.
  • Have at least three months of bank statements. These three months must show an average of $5,000 a month, so your business might not be able to qualify if it’s only three months old.

To be eligible for the ACH funding program, you must:

  • Have a credit score of at least 500. To qualify for biweekly, weekly or monthly repayments, you need a credit score of 700 or higher, however.
  • Be at least six months in business. Startups can’t qualify for this type of financing.
  • Have at least $10,000 in monthly deposits. These can be a combination of different types of sales.
  • Have less than three nonsufficient funds charges each month. Unsuccessful withdrawals will show up on your business bank statements.

Required documents

You might be asked to submit the following documents when you apply for a loan from First American Merchant:

  • Three to six months of business bank statements
  • A copy of your driver’s license
  • A voided check for your business bank account
  • A copy of your business’s lease
  • Your landlord’s contact information

Steps to apply

You can either get started on your application through its website or over the phone. To apply over the phone, call 800-210-5649. Follow these steps to apply online:

  1. Go to the First American Merchant website.
  2. Click Get Started!
  3. Enter your contact information and create a password before hitting Continue to Next Step.
  4. Fill in your company name and industry, select Cash Advance use and then click Continue.
  5. Follow the directions to fill out more details about your business and upload documents before signing and submitting your application.
  6. Wait for First American Merchant to submit applications on your behalf to a handful of its partner lenders that it thinks might best meet your business’s needs. It should get back to you with offers within a day or two.
  7. Review your offers. If you want to go ahead with a lender, submit any additional documentation and sign the contract.

Merchant cash advances typically take around 72 hours to get your funds, while ACH loans can take at least five days.

I got a business loan from First American Merchant. Now what?

It depends on what type of financing you qualify for. Most businesses start to make daily repayments through a percentage of your daily sales — whether that be credit card transactions or deposits into your business bank account. Some might qualify for repayments once or twice a week, or even once a month.

Daily repayments are typically automatic. Less frequent repayments might have more options. But you might want to choose automatic repayments anyway — that way you won’t have to take time away from your work schedule to repay your loan. Regularly check in on your bank account and loan balance to make sure everything is running smoothly. If you have any questions or notice an error, reach out to customer service as soon as possible by calling 800-210-5649.

Bottom line

First American Merchant could be a good resource for businesses in high-risk industries or owners with less-than-perfect credit. It’s also one of a few resources for cannabis business loans. But its lack of transparency on loan amounts and costs could be a red flag for some borrowers. To check out other business loans and learn about your financing options, you might want to visit our guide to business loans.

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