Amazon.com is now offering loans to its small business sellers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Through the new program, called Amazon Lending, the online giant has sent many of its Amazon Marketplace merchants offers for small business loans, which will come through Amazon Capital Services, Inc. The service is an alternative source of financing for Amazon sellers who can't obtain loans through banks and traditional lenders.
"Some of these businesses are only constrained by cash flow," Scot Wingo, chief executive of e-commerce advisory firm ChannelAdvisor, told Reuters. "These spot loans will help these folks grow by getting them extra cash to buy more product."
An Amazon spokesman declined to tell The Journal exactly how many businesses were offered the service. However, the newspaper reports that loans for qualified businesses came with an interest rates ranging from less than 1 percent from 13.9 percent. Wingo told Reuters that some companies are receiving loans as a large as $800,000.
According to Reuters, Amazon's prequalifying offers vary depending on how strong the particular merchant's sales are. The Journal says that once an offer is accepted, Amazon will have the money in the seller's account in about five businesses days, according to a merchant e-mail offer they obtained.
Sales from small business sellers comprised between nine and 12 percent of Amazon's $48 billion in revenue last year, according to The Journal. And with Amazon taking a six to 15 percent cut on all marketplace transactions, the company could benefit from helping their merchants purchase--and then sell--a larger volume of inventory.
"This is definitely cheaper than credit cards and faster and easier than banks, so may fill a big hole for sellers," Wingo told Reuters.