Controversial payday lender Wonga has set its sights on small businesses, promising to use its automated, real-time decision technology to get cash to firms within 15 minutes.
Since the financial crisis, small and medium sized enterprises have struggled to secure credit from traditional high street lenders; a situation Wonga is looking to exploit, promising to "shake up business financing by launching a unique, paperless service to small business-owners and entrepreneurs".
It will offer loans of £3000 to £10,000 for terms of between one and 52 weeks. The cost, including a variable application fee and interest, will be set according to risk-assessment technology, with weekly interest starting from 0.3%.
Wonga has secured huge success since launching just four years ago, providing more than four million personal loans but has courted controversy, accused of targeting vulnerable people and charging exorbitant interest.
The shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, has now taken to Twitter to claim that the fact firms are being "driven" to Wonga is an indictment of government policies:
However, Errol Damelin, founder and CEO, says: "We have already provided millions of flexible loans to individuals, while achieving unprecedented customer satisfaction ratings, and we now plan to disrupt the business loans market with the same technology."