Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and digital payments:
SWIFT completes 13s cross-border instant payment
A payment from Australia into Singapore has recorded the fastest payment in the trial of SWIFT's gpi (Global Payment Initiative) instant payments platform. The results of the trial over SWIFT's cross-border payments service SWIFT gpi instant and Singapore's domestic instant payment service Fast And Secure Transfers (FAST) showed a fastest payment of just 13 seconds. The trial involved 17 banks across seven countries (Australia, China, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand) with all payments processed end-to-end within 25 seconds. According to SWIFT, its instant gpi payments reuses existing cross-border and domestic payments infrastructure, while eliminating common delays caused by domestic clearance settlement.
SMEs struggling to source skilled staff
Eight out of 10 SMEs struggle to find new recruits with adequate skills, according to a new poll by coworking company The Brew by rent24. The study of 1,000 business professionals at SME companies found that 36 per cent say that a lack of learning or progression opportunities is a major cause, while 30 per cent put the skills shortage down to an inadequate social scene or work-life balance in the business culture. Interestingly, younger professionals (aged 18-34) are significantly more likely to say that their business has a skills shortage problem (89 per cent) and that this results from poor learning or progression opportunities (51 per cent) or a poor social scene or work-life balance (40 per cent).
Visa invests in Indian B2B payments firm PayMate
Visa has joined a $25 million funding round in Indian B2B payments company PayMate, which automates the procure-to-pay payments cycle for businesses. The investment from Visa follows a deal struck between the two in March to aid the Indian firm's expansion into Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Under the agreement, Visa’s commercial financial institution clients will extend PayMate’s platform to their corporate and small-business customers, giving these customers the ability to make faster payments using Visa commercial cards.
Nationwide planning SME banking service
Building society Nationwide is preparing to launch a business current account for Britain’s 5.6 million small businesses. Nationwide was awarded a £50 million grant from the Capability and Innovation Fund, administered by Banking Competition Remedies Limited (BCR), earlier this year. This funding will be used to deliver a fully-fledged business banking proposition, including unsecured loans, credit cards and savings, with dedicated branch, phone and digital services. It will also be used to develop associated products and services, ranging from support with accounting and cashflow to assistance with foreign payments. To achieve key milestones towards launching its business current account proposition early next year, Nationwide has also partnered with Mastercard and ClearBank.
Open banking creates £18 billion saving for SMEs and consumers
Open banking could help UK consumers and SMEs unlock £18 billion a year, according to a new report supported by international growth strategy experts Manifesto Growth Architects. The report outlines how consumers could unlock up to £12 billion from the competitive financial market that open banking brings, with savings of up to £287 per year through better overdraft rates, personal finance management options and balance transfer support. The UK is already leading the way in open banking, which sees authorised providers develop more efficient ways of sharing financial data to increase competition and improve products to help consumers and businesses manage their money.
Small-business credit card provider Capital on Tap turns to Marqeta
Capital on Tap announced that it is partnering with Marqeta, a global modern card issuing platform, to power payment processing for its small-business credit card, relied on by over 60,000 UK enterprises. As part of the agreement, all of Capital on Tap’s users will be provided with a new, Marqeta-powered card. Since its launch in 2012, Capital on Tap has competed with the offerings of major banks, by offering small businesses a faster and more transparent way to fund their business. Capital on Tap has already provided close to £1 billion in funding to more than 60,000 small businesses across the UK.