Here is yet another example of the demand for working capital solutions amongst SMEs. An article from Retail Dive explains a new service being provided to Amazon merchants. Users can access cash advances with this service. The service is offered in conjunction with Parafin. Parafin is a recent San Francisco-based startup and self-described: “provider of a full-stack embedded financial infrastructure that works with platforms such as marketplaces, payment processors, and software providers to help small businesses fill their cash flow needs, invest in their growth, and run their business.”
Amazon is offering the service immediately to select merchants. These select merchants must have been selling for at least three months and will expand further into 2023.
The cash advances can be from as little as $500 up to $10,000. They are based on sales rather than traditional credit criteria. As described by Amazon:
“A flexible payment schedule is determined by a fixed percentage of the seller’s Gross Merchandise Sales (GMS) until the funding is paid off, with no minimum payments, no interest (only a fixed capital fee), and no collateral required—unlike a traditional loan. Payments are only required during periods that a seller has made sales, and the fixed payment rate ultimately protects them during periods of slow or no sales.”
It’s not clear by the release whether or not these sales are all retail in nature, or whether there is some B2B use case involvement. We assume all retail since there is no mention of receivables. In any event it is another step in the direction of liquidity solutions for SMEs during these uncertain times.
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group.