RapidAdvance LLC, a Bethesda, Md.-based merchant cash-advance company, has acquired Merchant Cash Express Ltd. The United Kingdom-based cash-advance company will operate as a subsidiary of RapidAdvance, according to the companies, which did not disclose terms of the deal. "The UK market has many similarities to the U.S. market," says a RapidAdvance spokesperson on why the company is expanding overseas. "Small businesses need more financing options, and bank lending is tightening in the UK as well. Therefore, we believe the UK is a logical next step for our growth," the spokesperson tells CardLine sister publication ISO&Agent Weekly. In a cash advance, merchants take a lump sum against their future credit card receivables to finance improvements at their businesses. The merchants pay back a share of the advance to RapidAdvance until the entire amount is paid back, including a fee the merchant cash-advance company charges the merchants. RapidAdvance's expansion into the UK follows its foray into Canada less than four months ago in a deal to offer its services to Canadian merchants through Advantex Marketing International Inc., a Toronto-based merchant-services company (CardLine 2/22). RapidAdvance has no plans to expand outside the United States, Canada and the UK, the spokesperson says.