How to Evaluate the Source of Information for Merchant Cash Advances
The quality of information found online is extremely varying. Anyone can post information on the Internet and not all online sources are equally reliable, valuable, or accurate. It is important to carefully evaluate information found online before relying on it for your own research.
You are wondering about merchant cash advance as an alternative financing option for your business. You begin an internet search and find what you believe are valuable bits of information to help guide you in your process of assessing a merchant cash advance option for your business.
Everything you find on the top results of a Google search says that a merchant cash advance sounds great, seemingly offering quick and easy money for your business.
If you only knew the horror stories of businesses having to shutter their doors because the merchant cash advances damaged their cash flow and inevitably caused them to close their business.
When you are searching for merchant cash advance help on the internet, the majority of the companies that are offering information about MCAs are the actual loan companies themselves or brokers acting as agents of the merchant cash advance companies.
The information that they are offering is designed for you to like what you hear and apply for a merchant cash advance.
The funders and brokers will tell you how amazing it is that you are only required to pay back the loan when you have money coming in.
You will be sold a dream of how quickly you will get the money and how you can use it on whatever you wish, with no spending restrictions.
The problem is they also conveniently fail to mention the large number of businesses that default on these loans. They simply do not explain the totality and the gravity of the risk associated with these types of alternative financing options.
It is imperative that you ensure any information you are reviewing or receiving regarding merchant cash advances, comes from a reputable source and not from one of the lenders or a broker acting as an agent of the merchant cash advance companies.
Tips for Evaluating Web Sites
Hopefully, some of the questions posed below can assist you in evaluating web pages. Be certain to consider these critical factors before making any final decision regarding the veracity and quality of the information you uncover in conducting your research.
What is the Authority?
Seek the identity of the author. Anyone can pose as an authority on the internet. Be careful.
- Is the author’s name readily viewable or is it hidden?
- Does the author list his or her qualifications?
- Is there a mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address for the author?
Is the Information Accurate and Objective?
There is no system of control regarding the accuracy of information available on the Internet.
The Internet can be utilized by anyone who may claim a position of knowledge or authority and actually not possess that knowledge or authority. So, you must ask yourself:
- How accurate is the information you have identified? Is the source of information factual? Are there any citations concerning the source of the author’s information?
- Does the website have a specific point of view or bias?
- Does the page contain any advertising? Possibly, there is a relationship between the author and the advertiser?
Merchant cash advance companies will often present their products to you in the best possible light on their own websites in an effort to get you to apply for their product.
Take a quick look at the website:
- Are you familiar with the publication name?
- Is the publisher reputable and credible on the subject matter?
Look at the website name, its logo, the URL of the website, and other indicators that can prove its reliability on the topic:
- Is it a private company?
- Is it a news site?
- Is it a news site with a reputation for fairness and objectivity?
Once again, MCA companies will present their product to you in the best possible light on their own publications.
Before you make a big decision about the future of your business by applying for an advance, you owe it to yourself to research more about the topic rather than just trusting one broker’s narrative.
If you’ve only read the positive spin that MCA companies put on their products, a good place to start is with news articles from reputable publications about businesses struggling with their MCA debt such as this one from Bloomberg or this recent one from NBC about MCA company’s actions during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Currency and Relevance
In conducting research, the currency and timeliness of data are important in making inferences for data gathering and analyses. Information changes over time.
On the Internet, it is too easy to get lost among the billions of nuggets of data available. Even academic articles and investigative reports can have outdated data. Look for the date of publication.
When putting together a writing, the author’s accuracy and use of language is extremely important. Any writer’s utilization of grammar and vocabulary should reflect an understanding of the subject matter and the information should be clear and concise without a number of errors.
It is reasonable to expect some minor errors as people writing for publication on the internet generally do not have a copy editor like a newspaper or magazine publication would, but incorrect spelling and poor use of grammar may be an indication that the author has not been very careful which may imply a lack of trustworthiness.
Objectivity and Purpose
If an online resource is going to effectively serve its purpose it should educate, inform and to some degree, teach.
The article or resource should make it clear to the reader as to what the article is about and what the article intends to provide to the reader. The objective and purpose of the writing should be easily discernible to the reader.
The content you are researching should make plain the nature of the intended audience for said content. What is the writer truly trying to tell the reader?
Merchant cash advance companies may attempt to obscure their biases and lack of objectivity by telling you that their advances have higher rates, but they often don’t admit just how high those rates are.
Instead they will attempt to shift focus solely to the supposed positives of taking out an advance.
Business Debt Law Group’s website’s purpose is to provide examples of how MCAs are harmful, educate readers on MCAs, and to help business owners struggling with their advances by getting them to consult with a Merchant Cash Advance attorney to understand their options or to fight a Merchant Cash Advance lawsuit.
That said, we have attempted to remain objective and have written about the one instance where taking out a merchant cash advance may be acceptable with the caveat that MCAs should be avoided as much as possible.
Getting More Trustworthy Results
The most critical factor is knowing what questions you should be asking yourself when you review a source of written material.
Below is an easy memory aid to help to recall the key questions you should be asking yourself regarding any information that you locate on the internet.
The CRAAP Test:
- C – Currency – Is the information current or is it old and outdated?
- R – Relevance – Is the data you are reviewing directly relevant to the reason you began the search?
- A – Authority – Discover who the author is and what are the author’s qualifications to write about the subject matter. How do you know that what the author is saying is accurate?
- A – Accuracy – Are the author’s assertions supported by other information that you have researched from other sources?
- P – Purpose – Why is the information up on the internet? What is the intended purpose of the author?
(The CRAAP test was originally created by the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico)
Whether you are searching the internet for information about merchant cash advance or searching the internet for any other types of information, you must be wary that the internet can be a minefield of misinformation.
You must remain vigilant to properly assess the quality and accuracy of the information you locate. Consider the factors contained in this article: Currency, Relevance, Authorship, Purpose and Objectivity.
These are critical factors to always consider.
Never accept the first answers you may find. Always dig deeper and compare information from multiple sources to lessen the risk of inaccurate or manipulated information. Maintain critical thinking and always check the source of the information.