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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cash advance leaders advance

Ten merchant cash advance businesses are the founding members of a new association – the North American Merchant Advance Association Inc., which was created to represent cash advance providers.

Jeremy Brown, President and Chief Operating Officer of RapidAdvance LLC and President of NAMAA, said the association sprang from a "loose federation of companies that met over the last 10 or 12 months to exchange ideas and information."

The companies shared a belief that best practices and ethical standards were vital to the industry and that expensive fraud detection tools were, unfortunately, becoming necessary "both to protect ourselves and to protect the acquiring community," Brown said.

Forming an association gave members the opportunity to not only share ideas and experiences, but also to cooperatively create fraud detection tools that could be shared by all members.

"This is a growing industry," said David Goldin, Chief Executive Officer of AmeriMerchant Inc. "I estimate there will be over 1 billion dollars in receivables purchased this year in this industry – and it's not going away." Goldin is a founding member of NAMAA. "There was a need to have a voice for the industry and to establish best practices, both to protect the merchant and to also protect ourselves and the merchant acquirers from fraud," he added.

Cash advance MATCH

The fledgling association has already created a "bad merchants" database (similar to the bankcard industry's Member Alert to Control High-Risk database, called the MATCH list, which contains information on merchants who have been terminated for cause) and a fraud alert system.

NAMAA is working on a tagging system to identify merchants who already have cash advances in place; one of the most common scams affecting cash advance providers is perpetrated by merchants who have multiple, simultaneous cash advances and use multiple card readers to avoid detection.

The association is also looking closely at the Electronic Transactions Association's best practices as an aid in writing best practice guidelines not only for NAMAA members, but for the cash advance industry's agents and resellers, as well.

The 10 founding member companies of NAMAA are AmeriMerchant LLC, Business Financial Services LLC, Capital for Merchants LLC, Fast Capital LLC, Greystone Business Resources Corp., Merchant Cash and Capital LLC, Merchants Money Tree LLC, RapidAdvance LLC, Reach Financial LLC and Sterling Funding LLC.

Heavy duty dues

Dues for NAMAA general members are $4,000 per month. "The dues structure was designed to help cover the costs of the fraud detection and other tools we are developing," Brown said. "We hope at some point in the future to have an associate member dues structure for acquirers and others who want to be involved but don't need to actually use the bad-merchant database or other tools."

NAMAA, a not-for-profit trade association, represents organizations in the United States and Canada that are in the business of providing working capital advance products based on credit, debit, or other card and electronic payment-related revenue streams to small and mid-sized businesses. For more information on NAMAA, visit www.northamericanmaa.org or call Erin Bozeman at RapidAdvance at 240-514-3195. end of article

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