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Amazon Lending Program
If you had somehow never heard of Amazon before, no doubt you became acquainted with the e-commerce giant during the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, Amazon trucks have been a common sight on the streets and in our driveways, delivering items we needed while we were stuck inside.
And while we have been self-distancing indoors, most of us have binge-watched some great shows on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service as well.
Amazon is also a major online hub for merchants, with over six million sellers registered in its network. The company clearly understands that in order to foster the growth of its online platform it must support the merchants who are registered with it.
One of the more innovative ways that it is doing this is through Amazon Lending services by partnering with Bank Of America Merrill Lynch.
Amazon’s successes over the years cannot be overemphasized. Aside from being one of the best-performing companies in terms of profit increase and logistics mastery, in the year 2020. The company was also a major player in the fight against Covid-19. As shelves in stores were cleaned out, Amazon was instrumental in assisting American families in getting all the toiletries, snacks, electrical appliances, and other items they needed to make life in the pandemic seem a little bit normal.
What many people never realized, however, is that Amazon also has an impressive lending program for all of the merchants who operate on the platform. Thanks to Amazon Lending, merchants who qualify can access short-term loans to finance their businesses on the eCommerce giant.
If you haven’t heard of Amazon Lending, you’re definitely not alone. The e-commerce platform rarely advertises information out to the public, and the application is by invitation only. So, if you’re seeking to know more about Amazon Lending, then check out this article for all of the insights and the hard-to-find information about what you need to know!
What is Amazon Lending?
Amazon Lending is a business finance option designed to help Amazon’s merchant community meet its business financing requirements. Amazon introduced Amazon Lending in 2011 to assist small, medium, and expert merchants on the platform in gaining access to fast short-term loans for their business.
Amazon provides merchants with business loans to meet their short-term cash flow needs. The merchants can use these loans for key activities required to grow their businesses and complete critical tasks such as purchasing inventory and effectively managing accounts receivable.
Merchants who have operated on the Amazon platform and have received an invitation can apply for the short-term loan on Amazon Lending, with loan amounts ranging from $1000 to $750,000. These merchants are also able to use the disbursed loans for trading or boosting their business on the Amazon e-commerce marketplace as well.
Amazon merchant lending offers short term loans to its registered network of Amazon sellers. These loans can range from $1,000 up to $750,000.
Eligibility – Amazon Lending Requirements
Amazon Lending Eligibility
Amazon Lending is available only to registered sellers on Amazon. Additionally, those sellers cannot simply apply for a loan; instead, Amazon determines the sellers’ eligibility for the program, then invites the seller to apply.
As a result, this can be viewed as an exclusive lending program that is not open to many sellers who may believe they’re otherwise qualified for it.
Amazon determines eligibility for a business loan by assessing a seller’s customer satisfaction and whether or not the seller is increasing its sales volume.
Also, Amazon will always check whether or not the seller has complied with the platform’s guidelines as of the date of the invitation. A seller with a customer complaint or breach of infringement of trademark or copyright within the last six months would not be eligible to receive an invitation for Amazon Lending. Sellers who come clean on these for the previous six months would be offered an invitation, however.
Additionally, for sellers to receive an Amazon Lending invitation, they must have traded in Amazon for at least a year and must have made a total sale of $10,000 in the preceding year.
How To Get Amazon Lending?
If you are an Amazon seller, you can check if you’re pre-qualified; Just log in to your seller account and complete an online query to determine whether or not you’re prequalified.
It should be noted that Amazon would not require much information from sellers, since the loan is offered based on the past successes the seller has made in sales in the preceding years. Hence, there is little to no paperwork compared to the often cumbersome application process conventional money lenders require of businesses and entrepreneurs prior to approving them for a loan.
All you would have to do is keep a good sales record, maintain positive, customer-friendly reviews, and stay away from copyright and patent infringement while you trade on the platform. Once an invitation has been sent to the seller and the loan approved, it takes a maximum of 24 hours for the loan to be disbursed to the merchant.
Amazon Lending Terms and Fees
Here are some of the basic terms and fees that govern the program.
The platform is known for not promoting Amazon Lending at all, anywhere; even now, as the program has matured, there are still some specific fees, interest expenses, and terms that remain a mystery to many.
Nonetheless, the company claimed its interest rates on its loans are way lower than the rates offered on credit cards and other comparable lending platforms. A standard credit card interest rate can range from 14% up to 25%.
Research conducted on former lenders on Amazon Lending indicates that the annual interest placed on loans taken by them was between 6% to 15%, a range that is clearly is below the standard credit card interest rates.
Amazon Lending offers loans with a payoff range of up to 12 months. The program does this by setting fixed payments that are deducted from the sales made on a seller’s Amazon account every month. This innovative style of loan repayment offers sellers a relatively painless way to manage their debts.
Sellers in the program are also free to choose whether to have their loan payment deducted bi-monthly, or to select an option that better suits their business style. If the seller has an insufficient balance, there is no need to worry, Amazon Lending will charge the seller’s account on the fixed sum, anyway.
However sellers only have a short time frame to address this shortfall; if Amazon Lending cannot secure the funds due within a space of two days, the platform can seize the seller’s inventory and sell it off to settle all of the debt owed to Amazon Lending.
How Does Amazon Lending Work?
Amazon does not publicly disclose its loan terms and rates, however, the company insists that its rates are market competitive and lower than credit card rates.
Some merchants have reported getting interest rates between 6% and 14%, which is certainly lower than the rates on credit cards.
Additionally, when we compare Amazon Lending’s reported rates with those of PayPal Working Capital and other online lenders, then we find that these rates are market competitive.
Loan repayments are automatically deducted from the merchant’s account every month. Additionally, merchants with higher sales volume can opt to have the payments deducted twice each month.
If a seller’s merchant account doesn’t have sufficient funds, then Amazon will withdraw funds from the secondary bank account that is linked to the seller’s Amazon account.
If that second account also has insufficient funds, then Amazon reserves the right to confiscate the seller’s inventory as collateral and sell it off to recover the debt.
This latter policy may give sellers who have challenges managing their funds and payments a little pause.
As mentioned previously, you cannot apply for Amazon Lending. Instead, Amazon notifies you when it deems you eligible. Eligible sellers will receive a notification on their Seller Central homepage, along with an email notification. Upon receiving the invitation you have three options to proceed:
- Decline the loan offer if you do not need it
- Accept the loan offer
- Ask for a reduction in the amount to borrow
Amazon Lending Application
Does Amazon Lending check your credit? Absolutely not. Since Amazon already has your credentials and other key financial information, it doesn’t carry out credit checks during the application approval process; instead, loan approval is based on your selling performance over the past year.
Therefore, When you receive the loan offer, you can simply choose to accept it, fill out a short online form, and specify the borrowing amount.
Amazon Lending Approval Time
The loan is typically approved within 24 hours and funds are immediately transferred into the seller’s account.
Merchants can contact Amazon Lending via the customer service phone number or email. Additionally, merchants can also use the Amazon services seller forum to discuss any questions or issues they have with an application, loan, or the lending program overall within the seller’s community.
Customers should also know that Amazon Lending does little or no promotion about the lending platform, so there might not be enough information on the services or customers’ support as with other Amazon products. Nevertheless, most lenders have attested to the effective nature of the Amazon Lending platform.
Since Amazon Lending is a service internal to Amazon and its network of sellers, there aren’t really any public reviews of this service.
However, some of the common complaints merchants have posted in seller forums include the lack of refinancing options once they have repaid the loan.
This may be because they no longer qualify as eligible sellers. Additionally, other sellers complain that the refinanced loans carry higher rates than the original loans.
Another concerning comment found in some of these seller forums is that new sellers are only given a six-month repayment term, instead of the standard twelve months.
Overall, however, most sellers expressed satisfaction with Amazon Lending and appreciated the ease of application and low eligibility requirements, along with the convenience of using the service.
Many merchants also appreciated that the upper ceiling for these loans is much higher than what Amazon Lending’s competitors offer as well.
Pros and Cons
Here are some of the key pros and cons of Amazon Lending you should consider.
- Convenient. The loans offered are available through the portal that sellers already use to manage their business.
- Low Rates. Amazon Lending rates are reported to be highly competitive with rival online lenders.
- Fast. Applying for the loan is quick, approval is rapid, and funds are normally available within a day.
- High Ceiling. Amazon Lending’s $750,000 lending ceiling is exactly what larger merchants need to grow their businesses and is much higher than what most of the service’s competitors offer.
- Availability. Only available to Amazon sellers; moreover, it is by invite only to the sellers as well.
- Limited Refinancing Options. Some sellers are not eligible for the loan refinancing option.
- Higher Refinance Rates. Refinanced loans have higher interest rates than the standard loans Amazon Lending offers.
Amazon lending is an excellent service for Amazon merchants. It provides them access to funding to meet their cash flow and other requirements internally through Amazon, without having to solicit external lenders.
The ease of transaction is perhaps the biggest benefit of this service for sellers, who do not have to waste time filling out applications and paperwork.
Additionally, for lenders who have a poor credit history or those who do not want to use an external lending service, Amazon Lending is truly a lifeline. The only real downsides are the potential for inventory selloffs and the fact that Amazon Lending’s services are only available to Amazon sellers and offered by invitation only.
Enjoy our Amazon Lending review?
You may also be interested in PayPal Working Capital Review.