More UK small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will be able to get instant decisions on lending applications, helping to ease pressure of the cost of living crisis and boost economic recovery.
The innovation has been made possible through a new partnership between top fintech business lender, iwoca, and CRIF, Europe’s leading credit information provider.
The embedded finance partnership will see CRIF’s Credit Passport service - which provides SMEs with access to an open banking-powered credit profile - fully integrated into iwoca’s own services and lending platform, enabling instant decisions on business loans up to £25,000 and decisions within 24 hours for loans up to £500,000.
The move means SMEs using the free Credit Passport service will be able to apply in just 1 minute for an iwoca loan directly from their account, with the application pre-populated with all information from their credit profile.
Fully integrating services in this way streamlines the onboarding process and reduces the burden on businesses, from cutting time spent filling in lengthy loan applications and submitting documentation, to avoiding long, drawn-out decision processes which create unnecessary uncertainty. Drawing on a business’s most up-to-date financial information, decisions can be made almost instantly and funds then transferred on the same day.
Sara Costantini, Regional Director for UK & Ireland at CRIF, said:
“At CRIF, we understand the challenges facing businesses. With economic uncertainty exacerbating the already significant challenges with securing finance, small business owners deserve a better service when they apply for funding.
“Our partnership with iwoca allows us to embed finance into our Credit Passport offering to provide instant lending. We’re also reducing uncertainty for businesses over funding decision, while making the process smoother and faster. This way, they can focus on what really matters - running and growing their business.”
Harry Cranfield, Partner Channel Manager at iwoca, said:
“When it comes to finance, businesses should feel empowered, not hindered. For too long, the UK’s smallest businesses have struggled to access the finance that larger businesses take for granted. The current lending market poses big challenges to SMEs trying to find capital during an economic downturn. As banks retrench - and narrow their financing options for small businesses - it’s become all the more important that alternative lenders can step in.
“Our partnership with CRIF will help us make instant finance a reality for thousands of SMEs, offering them a quicker, more transparent and reliable way to apply for and secure lending. Only by supporting SME growth can we truly hope to see economic recovery in the UK.”
Small business owners in the UK have traditionally faced barriers when accessing finance. According to iwoca’s latest SME Expert Index data, more than eight in ten SME finance brokers (82%) agree that major banks have reduced their appetite to fund SMEs.
Utilising open banking-powered credit scoring enables a more comprehensive and accurate picture of a business’s creditworthiness than traditional credit report data alone. With data refreshed daily, it can enable financially healthy businesses that may have initially been refused lending due to incomplete credit information to access funding, while enabling lenders to make more informed decisions without increasing risk.
The new partnership builds on iwoca and CRIF’s shared goals of supporting UK businesses during this challenging economic time. In January, a group of UK lenders, including iwoca, called on the government to improve SME credit access through better data sharing.** CRIF is currently working with lending partners to further this effort.
The new service is available now to all SMEs with a free Credit Passport account.