Partners in the truest sense
1 December 2016
Alternative financier Merchant Money is assisting thousands of growth-oriented UK businesses.
Small businesses across the UK are struggling to secure the funding they need to grow from banks. Fortunately, new, agile online lenders such as Merchant Money have stepped in, providing SMEs with easy-access finance on flexible terms.
It’s a frustrating time for small businesses in the UK. Bursting with fresh ideas and growth potential, many are being stymied by cash flow constraints as GDP growth slows to a crawl.
And in an economic environment fraught with uncertainty, banks are again tightening up their lending practices, leaving SMEs – the lifeblood of the economy – unable to secure the funding they need to grow their own enterprises.
Against this backdrop, it’s perhaps not surprising that SMEs are seeking alternative means of finance through online lenders such as Merchant Money.
Merchant Money is one of the leaders among this new breed of agile, forward-looking lenders committed to helping small businesses pursue their growth objectives despite the obstacles.
The UK alternative finance market grew by a staggering 84 per cent in 2015 to reach £3.2 billion, servicing upwards of 20,000 SMEs (analysts expect this to increase tenfold during the next five years). And with an already exceptional track record and an appetite for innovation, Merchant Money has financed thousands of small businesses across the country – enabling them to bypass the barriers and bureaucracy of traditional lending institutions such as banks.
“In some ways, we’re investors more than lenders,” says Danny Girnun, a director at Merchant Money. “Over the past three years, we’ve partnered with countless UK businesses, helping them expand production, revamp their premises, buy more stock, hire new talent – whatever they need to take their business to new places.
“In many cases, we’ve overseen their growth from new entrants to major market players. And ultimately, we’ve grown by helping them grow.”
The company prides itself on providing, in its own words, “fast, flexible finance solutions”. These come in the form of a short-term business loan product up to £100,000 and a brand new "pay-as-you-trade"’ product up to £500,000. These loans are highly personalised, with terms tailored to a client’s credit profile and ability to repay comfortably.
“We operate under the philosophy that finance not only should be more accessible, but also affordable and repayable – and that it should never be one-size-fits-all,” explains Girnun.
“Working through both formal and informal channels, we strive to get to know your business in a holistic sense, taking into account more than just narrow barometers such as credit ratings and collateral.
"We’re more interested in where your business is going than where it’s been."
At the end of 2015, Merchant Money introduced a revolutionary new product to augment its short-term loan offering – pay as you trade (PAYT).
The PAYT product offers clients cash advances from £3,000 upwards based on their future debit/credit card sales. The only charge is a simple, affordable, agreed-upon fee – a small fixed percentage of the business’s daily card transactions automatically withdrawn until the advance is paid off.
“Because repayments rise and fall based on the strength of their sales, businesses never need to worry about being short at the end of the month,” says Girnun.
“There are no additional fees to worry about, no penalties or security required. And because there’s no fixed term to the repayments, there’s never any pressure. With PAYT, there is no such thing as a missed payment – our clients pay only when they earn.”
The PAYT is so accessible, in fact, that Merchant Money’s client approval rate for the product stands at around 90 per cent. Burger King franchisee Lamen Reddy is among a growing list of Merchant Money clients opting for the product.
“Merchant Money has provided my business with excellent support,” says Reddy. “They took the trouble to get to understand my business needs, and provided a fast finance solution to enable me to develop my business.
“Terms were tailored to ensure I could repay the cash advance comfortably.”
The Borough, an award-winning hotel in Lancaster, is among a number of businesses that have approached Merchant Money to provide seed funding for an initial project, and then returned to it as their needs have evolved.
“Fortunately, Merchant Money understand my business and have assisted me in improving my facilities several times,” said Martin Horner, director of The Borough.
“Their process is fast and simple, and their team is great to deal with. I will definitely partner with them again.’’
Most recently, finance from Merchant Money saw The Borough upgrade from three pumps to eight, and win a slew of awards including Best Pub in Lancaster.
“As clients such as Lamen and Martin and so many other UK businesses can attest to,” says Girnun, “we are partners in the truest sense.”