Knight Capital Review

Lender Overview

Types of loans
Merchant cash advance (MCA)
Loan amounts
$5,000 to $250,000
Terms of payment
3 to 8 months
Pros
  • Funding provided in less than 3 days
  • No minimum credit score required
Cons
  • Short loan terms
  • Unclear about application requirements
  • Questionable online reputation

Who should apply for a loan from Knight Capital?

Knight Capital caters to businesses with growth potential and seeks to provide funding to those unable to obtain bank loans or in need of fast cash. The loan structure is suitable for companies requiring working capital to cover expenses or to invest in time-sensitive opportunities.

Company Profile

“We see your potential, not your credit,” is the assurance Knight Capital Funding gives to merchants visiting its homepage. Established in 2013, this provider of short-term merchant cash advance (MCA) loans has its headquarters in Dover, Delaware and focuses on working with businesses showing signs of being on track for success.

Knight Capital differentiates its message from the sometimes-dry character of other online lenders with its claim of operating on values like innovation, enjoyment and integrity. The language used on the website suggests an interest in cultivating strong relationships with clients and ensures applicants the right MCA loan can “turn dreams into realities” when Knight “step[s] in to support” merchants that banks have turned down.

Credit Policy

One factor setting Knight Capital apart from banks and from other short-term lenders is the lack of a minimum credit score requirement for applicants. However, for a business to qualify, it must:

  • Be at least 6 months old
  • Maintain a minimum of $10,000 in monthly deposits
  • Not show excessive days with insufficient funding

For merchants meeting these requirements, Knight Capital determines the final loan structure by looking at overall growth potential and assessing potential future sales. The lender’s website claims 95 percent of businesses meeting the minimum requirements are approved for funding and emphasizes the importance of looking at a business as a whole instead of basing decisions on any single financial metric.

Exceptions

Although Knight Capital has a system for working out the ideal loan amount, term length and fees for each applicant, the lender will sometimes approve a larger loan or extended terms if necessary to close a deal.

Target Market

On the “Industries We Serve” page of its website, Knight Capital lists a range of business types similar to those targeted by other short-term online lenders. These markets include:

  • Auto shops
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Medical practices
  • Restaurants
  • Retail
  • Salons and spas
  • Wholesale and distribution

Such businesses share the common characteristic of unpredictable, fluctuating or unstable cash flows. Banks often shy away from or reject merchants lacking concrete financial projections, making MCAs and other short-term loans attractive alternatives when working capital is needed.

Cautionary Industries

Knight Capital is willing to work with businesses in a small group of industries generally considered to be high risk:

  • Consultants
  • Financial services
  • Law firms
  • Mobile businesses, such as taxis, limo services and food trucks

Because cash flow is even more uncertain for these businesses than the others Knight Capital services, the lender requires at least $25,000 in monthly deposits in order to qualify for funding. Trucking operations and auto dealerships are not considered at all and will need to look to other loan providers for funding.

Term Length

Terms work a little differently with MCAs than with other types of loans. Knight Capital’s basic range is three to eight months, but instead of putting a concrete cap on the length, it uses the phrase “turn” and refer to it as a window of “expected repayment.” According to its rates and terms page, which can be accessed via a small link at the bottom of the website, a “turn” may be anywhere from 60 to 260 days and is calculated based on a company’s cash flow.

Knight Capital’s MCAs are paid off with automatic daily deductions calculated as a percentage of credit card sales. This means payments fluctuate with transactions, so merchants pay more when sales are high and less during slow seasons. Knight Capital looks at a company’s financial profile to determine a reasonable percentage to deduct but is willing to adjust the amount if initial projections prove to be inaccurate.

What’s Required to Apply

Knight Capital “believe[s] that your business’ ability to grow and profit has little to do with your personal credit.” This is reflected in the marketing language used throughout the website to highlight the lender’s approach to determining a merchant’s eligibility for a funding.

By not requiring a specific credit score, Knight Capital differentiates itself from other lenders and opens the door for a wider range of applicants. Merchants turned down by banks for poor credit and those struggling to bring up credit ratings after financial hardship may be able to get an MCA from Knight Capital even if they don’t qualify for funding from other short-term lenders.

The pre-qualification application on Knight Capital’s website is accessible via the “Get Started” button on the home page and can be found on under “Do I Qualify?”, “How it Works” and “Contact Us.” It takes only a few minutes to fill out and asks for:

  • Applicant’s first and last name
  • Phone number and email address
  • Company name
  • Total monthly revenue
  • Amount requested

Merchants can also call Knight Capital directly to find out if they qualify, and this may be preferable considering the website gives little information about how the lender will follow up once the application has been received.

To make a final decision on eligibility, loan amount, terms and rates, Knight Capital requests the previous three months’ bank statements. Once merchants send these along with a completed application, funding amounts are determined within 24 hours and delivered in 72 hours. Merchants in high-risk industries may need to provide additional information to qualify for a loan.

Buy Rates

A buy rate, also called a factor rate, is a number by which the principal of an MCA is multiplied to determine the fixed fee for the loan. With Knight Capital, buy rates range from 1.25 to 1.37, which is on par with what many other lenders in the industry charge. However, since term rates are comparatively short, daily payment amounts may be higher than some merchants are willing to risk.

For a $100,000 loan at a 1.37 buy rate, loan fees work out to be $37,000. Add Knight Capital’s origination fee, and the total cost of the loan on top of the principal rises to $39,500. Even with an eight-month term, a merchant would be putting out nearly $900 per day in loan payments.

Despite this, Knight Capital dubs its Monday through Friday payment model as “micropayments” and claims it looks at the total health of a business when determining buy rates. The website notes rates can be as low as 1.19 or as high as 1.4 depending on what the information submitted by a merchant shows about the financial state of the company as a whole.

Stacking

It’s rare to find a fast-cash loan provider willing to stack, but Knight Capital may approve up to third-position loans, meaning applicants are allowed to have two existing loans from other providers. Because stacking increases the amount of a company’s cash being put toward loan payments, the practice increases risk to the lender. Therefore, getting approved for a stacked loan requires a strong financial profile.

If a merchant is approved for a stacked loan, Knight Capital may offer a lower buy rate than could be obtained through another lender. This can ease the burden of stacked loans but doesn’t make the practice any less dangerous for businesses struggling with cash flow. Fees from multiple loans add up quickly and may become difficult to handle as more loans are taken out.

Documentation Fees

Knight Capital charges no documentation fees for processing loan applications.

Origination Fees

Merchants approved for funding from Knight Capital are charged a 2.5 percent origination fee to cover expenses related to providing funding and handling the loan process.

Renewal Policy

Merchants requiring more funding before the end of their current terms can request a renewal once 70 percent of the loan has been paid. Knight Capital emphasizes a desire to help its clients on the path to success and will continue working with merchants whose track records indicate they can handle ongoing payments.

Before seeking renewal, merchants should consider the added burden of the fees on top of the principal of the new loan. Although the structure of MCA payments is more flexible than that of other short-term funding options, taking on additional debt increases the financial burden on a company and leaves less cash available to cover basic needs.

Interest Forgiveness

The turn-based repayments and flat-rate fees used by Knight Capital don’t allow for interest forgiveness, but the lender also doesn’t penalize merchants desiring to pay off loans before the end of the terms. Because payments are based on a percentage of credit card income, the full amount of the loan may be paid back sooner during times of high sales volume without incurring extra fees.

Loan Use

As its focus on MCAs suggests, Knight Capital is strictly a business lender. All funds must be used for business purposes, although merchants aren’t required to limit the types of expenses they cover with the money.

Each industry listed on Knight Capital’s website has a small page with information and suggestions relating to how a loan can help businesses in that particular niche. Most of the ideas are fairly common for short-term loans, such as:

  • Advertising
  • Buying new tools
  • Expanding or opening new locations
  • Hiring and training new staff members
  • Investing in growth opportunities
  • Managing inventory
  • Purchasing new equipment
  • Renovation
  • Updating POS systems and other technology
  • Upgrading facilities

Serving diverse industries allows Knight Capital to be flexible with loan use. Banks and other traditional lenders usually ask applicants to show where the money will go so that the appropriate loan type can be found and interest rates may be calculated based on the level of risk. Because Knight Capital offers only one kind of loan and uses fixed amounts to determine fees, merchants are subject to fewer restrictions.

Online Reputation

Reading reviews is the best way for businesses to determine if a lender like Knight Capital is a good fit and whether or not it provides what is promised on its website. Feedback for this lender appears to be mostly positive, and this is reflected in ratings on popular review sites:

  • Google: 4 out of 5
  • Trustpilot: 7.4 out of 10
  • BBB: 4.1 out of 5 with an A- rating

Of the three, Google has the most testimonials from Knight Capital customers. The Trustpilot page has yet to be claimed by the company as of this writing, and the BBB currently displays only a handful of reviews.

Positive feedback praises Knight Capital for giving merchants the working capital they need to move forward and grow and delivering cash quickly. Customer service is praised, and staff members are described as being helpful. Several businesses affirm the lender was able to provide funding when other lenders weren’t willing to do so.

The harsh tone of the negative feedback contrasts this praise. Previous Knight Capital customers call the lender out for deducting extra money after loans were paid in full. Instead of working with merchants finding themselves unable to make payments, reviewers claim Knight Capital staff members used “intimidation tactics” to attempt to get the money. This apparent lack of patience is cited in multiple reviews, with some merchants complaining the company lacks a solid code of ethics.

Licenses & Accreditations

Knight Capital currently isn’t accredited by the BBB, and no awards or other types of media recognition are listed on the website.

On the plus side, lending is open to merchants in all 50 U.S. states, so small businesses in need of funding anywhere in the country are eligible to apply.

Company Contacts Details

Phone number:

  • 855-462-4249

Fax:

  • 866-293-8143

Key personnel:

  • Rich Ferrante, CFO
  • Martin Aronin, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing
  • Juan Gomez, Underwriting Manager
  • Chris McCay, Marketing Director

Social media:

Theresa Houghton
About Theresa Houghton
Theresa "Sam" Houghton is a wellness consultant and freelance writer from Upstate NY. With more than half a decade of experience in the business world, Theresa understands the unique challenges small business owners face in highly competitive markets. Her experience with researching and writing positions her to provide solid advice and high-quality content on a variety of topics. When she's not writing or helping people get on track to better health, Theresa likes to read the Bible, play humorous card games and knit socks. You can learn more about Theresa's wellness consulting services at GreenGutWellness.com and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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