Earlier this year, the bank partnered with FreeAgent, which allows small businesses to track their finances and report their taxes digitally.
Now, the bank has improved the process for all its small business customers to enable them to sign-up using their existing business banking login details, ensuring that the process is safe, secure and completely paper-free. Under Open Banking protocols, this means that if the customer chooses, their information can be shared directly with FreeAgent, without the need for an intermediary.
Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director, Business & Private Banking for NatWest, welcomed the move: “This is a unique mix of banking and cloud-based accounting that helps protect small business customers and save them time. As we see changes in our customers’ behaviour, we have to make sure that we’re responding with practical, helpful innovation. The partnership with Free Agent will help us to make a meaningful difference for UK businesses and is a clear demonstration of the support we can offer.”
The change comes after a successful pilot with over 2,000 customers across the UK. For those customers who are happy to share their data with the bank, FreeAgent also helps the bank to have better discussions with customers about their financial needs and planning for the months ahead.
“This is the very first time that a major UK bank has provided such a streamlined and integrated system for its customers” added Ed Molyneux, Founder and CEO at FreeAgent. “We’re proud to be leading the way with NatWest, and believe that together we can deliver even more real innovation to really transform the way small businesses are able to manage their finances and tax.”
Small business customers new to NatWest can also benefit from a digital on-boarding process now - meaning they don’t need any paper to open a business bank account. Over 85% of customers are choosing to open their account in this way, with four out of five receiving their account details within a few hours. Over 80,000 small businesses will benefit from this service in 2017.