If you have bad credit, home equity loans for improvements, debt consolidation and other financial needs have been pretty much off the table in recent years. The bailout of the U.S. banking industry didn't extend to struggling small business owners.

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However, there are financing opportunities for those self-employed business owners who take credit card payments from their customers. In recent months, unsecured business lending sources have brought forth new products and are approving unsecured business loans at a 12 percent interest rate without credit approval. If your home is no longer available as a source of cash, you might try working through your business.

Cash advance requires no credit check

A merchant cash advance is is an unsecured form of financing (meaning no collateral involved, unlike with a home mortgage) in which a business owner sells his or her future credit card receivables at a discounted rate. In return, the merchant receives a lump sum of cash.

This unsecured business loan financing comes from a variety of sources and isn't determined by credit scores or assets. If the business you own accepts credit card transactions, you should qualify for a loan. Your repayment is tied to the revenue of your business.

The unsecured cash advance program makes borrowing a lot easier for business owners, and it cuts out the strict application requirements normally associated with both business loans and home mortgages like home equity loans or lines of credit. The unsecured cash advance works for business owners who might not be able to avail themselves of cheaper home equity financing.

Repayment of merchant cash advances

This product is geared toward short-term money needs and is typically repaid in six to 12 months.

Unlike with a mortgage, your payment on a merchant cash advance can be determined by your income. "Split funding" is the preferred method of most lenders to collect payment on the loan. The merchant (you) processes credit cards in batches as usual. Once you've "batched out," the credit card processing company simply splits the funding per your agreement with the lender. The funds are divided into agreed-on percentages before they post to your bank account.

For example, if you process $1,000 each day and have a 20 percent hold-back percentage set up with your lender, then $200 of the $1,000 goes toward paying off the advance, and $800 is posted to your account.

Yes, mortgages for people with bad credit have lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. However, if you need money badly, using your business to get it might be your best hope.