Running an Amazon business involves plenty of costs, and not everyone can sustain the expenses needed to take their business to the next level. According to Fundera, only 48% of small businesses have their financial needs sorted out, meaning the rest will need to apply for outside financing to grow their business. So, if you plan on taking out a financial loan to support your business, you may want to look into the Amazon Lending Program.
The program aims to provide Amazon sellers with business loans to help meet their goals. Whether it be financing additional inventory or switching to a higher-quality manufacturer, the Amazon Lending Program will aid you in scaling your business to new heights.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about the Amazon Lending Program so that you can determine if it’s the right financial option for you.
What is the Amazon Lending Program?
Simply put, the Amazon Lending Program is a short-term business loan that Amazon offers to qualified sellers. Amazon saw an opportunity with the lending industry back in 2011 and decided to launch the program to cater to small businesses. As online lenders became increasingly popular, Amazon developed its financing solution so that sellers won’t need to look elsewhere for their monetary needs.
According to Amazon, “Amazon Lending is built on the simple idea that business lending doesn’t have to be complicated. We provide business financing solutions through Amazon Lending and third-party partners to eligible small and medium-sized businesses without the paperwork and long wait times.”
There are plenty of reasons to apply for the Amazon lending program. Some examples are:
1. You need to purchase inventory
Inventory management is a challenge for many small business owners. Often, sellers cannot replenish their inventory due to a lack of funds, especially when their business is in its early stages. If you’re facing this kind of issue, you can request an Amazon loan to ensure your products are always available.
2. You want to launch a new product
Launching a new product requires plenty of resources. It’s always great to have additional funding to support your product launch so that you can plan for it effectively. With an Amazon loan, you can use the budget to aid your marketing campaigns and ensure your new products reach their intended audience.
3. You want to expand your reach
There has never been a time for a brand to be more visible online than today. Optinmonster projects the US to have more than 300 million online shoppers in 2023. With the way e-commerce has skyrocketed in recent years, you want to ensure that your products/services are always visible to your customers.
By acquiring an Amazon loan, you can spend more on optimizing your website, collaborating with influencers, and building a brand name that signifies quality and credibility.
What are the terms and eligibility requirements for the Amazon Lending Program?
First, let’s discuss the eligibility requirements for an Amazon loan. Two key factors determine your eligibility, and these are:
- Sales growth – Your account must demonstrate consistent sales growth to qualify for the loan. Amazon measures your ability to pay the loan based on how much sales you make.
- Account standing – Your account must also showcase good standing through excellent customer service and satisfaction. If you don’t meet this criterion, you can’t apply for an Amazon loan.
As of now, the Amazon Lending Program works on an invite-only basis, meaning only qualified sellers will be able to apply for the loan. You’ll know you’re eligible if an Amazon Lending widget appears on your Seller Central account.
Now that those are out of the way let’s talk about the loan terms.
- Minimum loan amount: $1,000
- Maximum loan amount: $750,000
- Length of term: three months, six months, nine months, and twelve months. Payments are deducted to your seller account every month.
Once Amazon approves your invite request, they’ll provide you with a lump sum of cash. The loan amount you’ll receive will vary depending on Amazon’s evaluation of your account. Because Amazon charges monthly payments on your account, you don’t have to worry about late payments or additional interest fees.
Speaking of interest, Amazon is tight-lipped on its interest rates. If anything, sellers can expect an interest rate of anywhere between 6% and 16% depending on the loan amount. Regarding how long they process the invite request, Amazon takes roughly five business days to get back to you.
What are the pros and cons of the Amazon Lending Program?
Before you go out and request an Amazon loan, you need to weigh out the pros and cons first. Let’s start with the pros.
Pros of Amazon Lending Program:
1. Easy application process
The great thing about the Amazon Lending Program is that getting a loan is a hassle-free process. All you need to do is check your eligibility, request an invite, and wait for approval! Unlike bank loans, where you’ll need to provide the appropriate requirements, Amazon will evaluate your seller account and determine if you qualify for the loan.
Since the program relies on account performance, you don’t have to provide your credit score, financial profile, or tax returns.
2. Fewer fees to deal with
Business loans come with a wide range of fees: prepayment penalties, application fees, origination fees, and more. If you’re a small business owner, all these fees can add up and hinder you from growing your business. Thankfully, you won’t have to deal with any of those when you request an Amazon loan.
With the Amazon Lending Program, you can feel confident paying your loan early without incurring additional fees. You get to save money in the long run while being able to scale your business to new heights!
3. Low-interest rates
Cash advances and short-term loans are known for their high-interest rates. The added interest can be off-putting for sellers who want to make the most out of their loans. Although Amazon has yet to disclose its interest rates fully, the maximum interest that sellers have dealt with is 16% for a 12-month term.
Of course, you still want to ensure that the low-interest loan can make long-lasting impacts on your business. Before you invest in your business, it’s worth developing a strategy to generate more revenue. A strategic approach will help maximize your loan and take your Amazon business to the next level.
Now let’s dive into the cons of getting an Amazon loan:
Cons of Amazon Lending Program
1. Fixed monthly deductions
The biggest downside to an Amazon loan is that the monthly deductions will stay consistent regardless of whether you’re making sales or not. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place before you apply for the Amazon Lending Program.
If you do things with a ‘wing-it’ approach, you’ll find that your monthly payments will cut into your revenue, leaving you with little room to improve your business. The last thing you want is for your business to take a financial hit, so evaluate its performance first before taking a loan.
2. Limited diversification of funds
When you secure a business loan, you can use the money to invest in almost all aspects of your business. Whether hiring new staff or making equipment upgrades, the choice is up to you. That’s not exactly the case when you take out an Amazon loan.
Instead, the money will be spent mostly on your Amazon business only. Now, this might not be a problem if your needs are Amazon-based, but for business owners who want to diversify their investment, there may be better options out there.
3. Functions like a collateralized loan
An Amazon loan works like a secured business loan wherein your assets will serve as collateral if you default on your loan. Say, for example, you ship products using FBA, and you can’t afford to pay your loan. Any inventory that you keep in Amazon’s warehouse will be held in check until you pay them back. They can also use your inventory and sell it to recoup some of the money they lost.
Again, it all comes down to evaluating your business performance before taking an Amazon loan. Our suggestion is to keep track of crucial KPIs and monitor your sales progress. Only request a loan invite if you feel confident that your business can sustain its growth until the loan term ends.
The Amazon Lending Program is a great option for sellers who need additional money to finance their business growth. While it’s not the best choice for everyone, you can still take advantage of it, provided you have a concrete plan in place.
Consider the needs of your business and weigh the pros and cons of the Amazon Lending Program before you make a decision. Hopefully, this article provides you with the information you need on Amazon loans.
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