News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – FinTech

Finextra reports: 


“Atom Bank has signed a deal with Plaid to introduce Open Banking and payment initiation services to smll business customers. 

The first iteration of the technology will begin with offering business owners a streamlined loan application journey and speedier decisions.

Atom Bank has been a previous recipient of a £10 million grant from the Banking Competition Remedies Board to inject competition into the small business banking market. It is also one of a small number of banks to offer secured loans to new, and existing, customers through the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Initially Plaid will be working with Atom as part of the bank’s secured business lending process for underwriting both CBILS and non-CBILS applications. The app-only bank will also be using Plaid’s Payment Initiation capabilities to streamline fee payments.” 



2. UK - FinTech 


AltFi reports on a way of doing post-Brexit business – put the admin (ie, the 'control') in the hands of European partners… 


“Payment processing firm Mollie has now made it even easier for UK firms to set up shop in Europe. 

The fintech has expanded to allow its UK customers to add EU payment methods into their online checkouts, giving them the ability to tap into new markets across Europe. 

As Mollie solidifies its position in the UK, the payments firm has also appointed a new head of UK to help lead the business, Josh Guthrie. 

Guthrie will spearhead Mollie’s operations here in the UK and will help SMEs navigate post-Brexit European expansion. 

Of the problems SMEs face in a post-Brexit Britain, Guthrie said: “Overnight, the Brexit deal has made doing business with the EU so difficult for UK companies. Challenges include tariffs and unexpected delivery fees that make goods more expensive, and country of origin rules that have impacted logistics and shipping.” 

“Establishing a presence quickly and efficiently is vital for reaching a wider addressable market, at a time when UK retail needs it most.” 

Through Mollie’s partnerships, with the likes of Klarna and Magneto, UK companies can provide real competition for their European neighbours and trade in the Eurozone easily.” 



3. UK – SMEs/FinTech 


SME lender iwoca and cloud-based accounting platform Xero have teamed up to help make the lives of SMEs easier, according to AltFi.  

“From today, Xero’s users will be able to use iwocaPay, iwoca’s invoice checkout, to give small business owners a ‘Pay Later’ function for their customers.  

iwocaPay, which was first launched in June 2020, helps suppliers get paid immediately while buyers can choose payment terms for as long as 90 days, alleviating the strain put on small businesses when invoices aren’t paid on time. 

Lara Gilman, co-lead of iwocaPay, said: “We’re proud to be Xero’s first UK invoice checkout solution that offers a Pay Later option.  Having the flexibility to pay a supplier later is critical in helping small businesses manage cash flow and iwocaPay provides a better way to offer that flexibility.”  

“We’re delighted that Xero customers now have the option to include iwocaPay on any invoice. Suppliers can more easily offer business customers the extended payment terms they need, without carrying the credit or late payment risk.” 

As part of the new partnership, SMEs will be able to add iwocaPay directly to their Xero invoices, enabling them to be settled quickly, all while offering a new payment option to customers.” 



4. US – FinTech 


A new product line, and rumblings of a US IPO at Revolut. Crowdfundinsider carries the tale. 

“Digital bank Revolut notes that if you’ve se. t up a WooCommerce store and are accepting payments with mainstream payment gateways, then you might not be happy with the extra transaction fees. 

Revolut reveals that it has been working on improving this for users by offering the new Revolut Gateway, which will be “a game-changer” for business payments. 

Running a business and acquiring customers is quite challenging so accepting card payments should be “painless and cheap,” the digital bank notes in a blog post. With Revolut Business Merchant Accounts, it should be a lot easier and faster to take payments and manage money. 

The digital banking platform’s payment gateway has “the unique advantage of being integrated with your Revolut Business Account.” This means that users are able to get their money faster with “next day settlement” and can “manage all things business in one place.” 

The digital bank also mentions that setting up the Revolut payment gateway in your WooCommerce store “means you’ll keep more from every transaction.” 

Using the Revolut Gateway for your company or business is fairly easy and has special benefits such as receiving “up to £100,000 per month without a fee when you accept payments through Revolut Business (this limit varies depending on the plan and region).” 



5. International – FinTech 


Finextra reports: 

“Billhop, the Swedish company which makes every invoice and bill payable by card, has closed a €4M Series A investment round from financial technology VC Element Ventures. 

Billhop skirts the issue of low card acceptance in supplier payments by acting as an intermediary between supplier and client, accepting credit card payments at one end and forwarding the cash to the creditor at the other. In this way, users get to pay thier due bills without putting an immediate strain on their liquidity.

The service, which charges a 2.95% transaction fee, is currently used by 50,000 European companies as well as by small businesses and individuals. Total transactions processed via Billhop, across all of its customer segments, exceeded €270M in 2020.”