Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from Tide, FinTech Wales, Bibby Financial Services, Lloyds Bank and GoHenry.
Tide hits half a million
UK-based fintech digital business financial platform Tide has reached 500,000 members in the UK. The significant milestone means almost one in 10 small businesses now use its services.
Tide also launched a product for micro and small businesses in India last year, making it one of the first UK fintech companies to successfully go live in India. It plans to onboard another 500,000 SMEs in the country over the next two years.
Oliver Prill, CEO of Tide, said: “Half a million members is a real testament to the quality of our products and services. Our mission to help SMEs save time and money is proving to be a success with more and more small businesses choosing to open their accounts with Tide. From Net Zero to supporting more female business owners, we plan to roll out more products and services this year to help SMEs launch and run their businesses.”
Bad debt on the rise in the UK
The average bad debt amongst UK SMEs has jumped 61 per cent – from £10,329 in Spring 2022, to £16,641 today; according to research by Bibby Financial Services (BFS). It revealed that currently, around 1.5 million (27 per cent) SMEs are struggling with this issue.
Fifty-nine per cent of businesses surveyed said it’s harder to secure a loan today than during the pandemic. Eleven per cent say they have struggled to secure finance for their business in the last six months. Meanwhile, thirty-nine per cent were worried they won’t be able to pay back loans if interest rates continue to rise.
Derek Ryan, UK managing director of BFS, commented on the findings. Ryan said: “We may have narrowly avoided recession, but economic conditions remain incredibly volatile, especially for SMEs. Not only are SMEs grappling with the perennial issue of late payment and rising levels of bad debt, but they are also struggling to access the finance they need to operate day-to-day.”
FinTech Wales celebrates academy success
FinTech Wales, in partnership with training provider iungo Solutions, has recorded an 81 per cent success rate from individuals who attended their ten-week coding or data academies.
Sixty-two per cent of those who successfully completed the course have entered roles in fintech or technology, and 19 per cent have gone on to undertake further training.
Gemma Hallett, head of skills at FinTech Wales, commented: “Our Skills Strategy is to increase awareness of careers within fintech, and create the talent required to support our thriving ecosystem. We’re thrilled with the success we’re seeing already from the academies. We are developing a constant stream of work-ready data analysts, cloud engineers and software developers, who are then being employed by organisations within our ecosystem.”
Lloyds Bank and Enigio tackle digital information
Lloyds Bank has partnered with Enigio, a tech company offering solutions to ensure integrity, traceability, and possession of digital information. The partnership will look to support the greater use of digital documentation in trade finance through the use of blockchain technology.
The collaboration will look to widen the application of Enigio’s ‘trace:original‘ solution for digital original documents including promissory notes, bills of exchange and bills of lading. It will also explore opportunities to feature trace:original documents within wider trade finance products, such as documentary collections and credits.
By removing the need to physically transfer documentation within trade transactions, Lloyds Bank is aiming to deliver faster, more affordable, flexible, sustainable and secure digital trade solutions for clients. The bank’s partnership with Enigio is also part of its digital strategy and paperless trade initiative.
Gwynne Master, managing director of lending and working capital at Lloyds Bank, said: “We are excited to have taken another major step on our quest to digitise trade. This partnership further cements our relationship with Enigio as we continue to widen the types of documents and underlying flows that will utilise ‘trace:original’ documents.”
GoHenry acquired by Acorns
American savings and investment app Acorns has acquired GoHenry, the prepaid debit card and financial education app for kids and young adults.
In the UK and Europe, GoHenry and PixPay will continue to operate as they are. Meanwhile, in the US, GoHenry will now operate as ‘GoHenry by Acorns’.
Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns, discussed the acquisition. Kerner said: “All kids around the world deserve access to responsible money management tools and financial education. GoHenry’s mission-driven approach is also perfectly aligned with Acorns, which we expect will help us accelerate our roadmap and deliver financial wellness to the whole family through all of life’s stages.”