2024 has truly been “The Year of the HELOC” here at LoanStar. Initially focused on supporting traditional consumer loans and credit cards, our expansion into HELOC offerings has marked a significant transformation for both our product and our business. With rising loan interest rates and persistent liquidity challenges faced by lenders, coupled with a growing demand among borrowers for higher loan amounts to finance larger purchases, HELOCs emerged as a natural evolution of our commitment to serve and support all sides of our community. 

For borrowers, HELOCs offer better rates, more flexibility, and potential tax-deductible interest. For merchants, HELOCs provide a superior option for customers seeking to finance high-ticket purchases, ultimately enhancing close rates and project sizes. For lenders, offering HELOCs at the point of sale ensures more immediate credit line utilization on a secured instrument. These advantages prompted the LoanStar Product Development team to adapt MerchantLinQ to support HELOC originations. Starting with a single HELOC-only pilot lender in late 2023, and with the invaluable assistance of legal experts, lender collaboration, our talented Product Development team, and our dedicated LoanStar merchant and lender sales personnel, we now support HELOC originations across our entire community. 

Our Product Development Team understood that comprehensive support for HELOC originations would be an ongoing process. At the product level, HELOC originations required new LOS integrations. We also recognized that this type of offering in the merchant lending channel would necessitate coaching and workflow adjustments. We now see a greater need for more tools and outreach to facilitate confident adoption within our merchant community. Merchants, restricted by SAFE Act regulations, are unable to discuss loan terms for HELOCs as they can for consumer installment loan/card programs. As a result, customers may feel hesitant to apply for a loan they know little about. As we continue to identify new needs and opportunities, our HELOC initiatives will advance. Upcoming releases will include improvements in disseminating information to borrowers and enabling lenders to follow up on HELOC invitations more seamlessly. 

While HELOCs have taken center stage this year, we are also focused on other initiatives, such as support for lending in LID (low-income designation) areas and for credit unions with CDFI (community development financial institution) status. With potential interest rate cuts on the horizon later in 2024 and beyond, we anticipate that consumer installment loan programs will once again become viable financing options. We believe these product updates position MerchantLinQ to support a diversified set of program offerings within the merchant lending channel, in any market conditions, empowering merchants to pursue sustainable growth and enabling lenders to advance their unique portfolio goals. 

Feel free to reach out to our team with any questions about the new MerchantLinQ updates! 


Donna Wishnie 

Chief Product Officer, LoanStar Technologies