Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and e-payments:
Greater small business complaints rights supported by UK banks
British banks have agreed to give stronger powers to SMEs that have complaints about their lenders, in an effort to restore trust in the business banking sector, which has suffered a series of scandals. Industry group UK Finance has agreed to changes following an independent review last month, including extending the powers of the Financial Ombudsman Service and establishing a voluntary scheme to address unresolved historic complaints. Business groups, including the British Chambers of Commerce and Confederation of British Industry, welcomed the changes, which received government criticism.
ECB to challenge tech giants on real-time payments
The European Central Bank has rolled out the first pan-eurozone instant payment service, hoping to become a major player in a field dominated by US and Asian tech giants. The TIPS system will allow consumers and businesses across the 19-nation euro area to transfer money in mere seconds, without the delays associated with online and real-world transactions. The service is a challenge to popular digital wallets from US players Google, Apple and Amazon, as well as China's Alibaba and Tencent, which offer contactless, super-fast online payments.
British Business Bank commits to small business lending
The British Business Bank has extended its existing partnership with alternative loans platform Funding Circle and has committed up to £150 million in new lending for UK small businesses. The deal, part of the ENABLE Funding programme, is expected to support the growth of more than 2,000 UK firms. Together, the firms have lent £165 million to small business since 2013. Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said the British Business Bank’s commitment “will give small businesses across the country the option of peer-to-peer lending to help them realise their full potential”.
London small business tech scheme announced
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a new scheme to help small businesses engage with, and benefit from, the capital's tech industry. Launched as part of the Mayor's Economic Development Strategy, the scheme is designed to help smaller organisations take advantage of new technologies like AI as well as address issues of income inequality. "The strategy sets out how we will work to build a more inclusive economy that works for all Londoners. This also means ensuring our small businesses have access to opportunities that corporates already take advantage of," Khan said.
Moven partners with e-wallet provider Yandex.Money
Yandex.Money, a Russian e-wallet provider, has partnered with Moven Enterprise, supplier of a turnkey, smart-banking platform to banks. Moven’s technology platform includes a suite of open APIs and a software development kit that global banks can use to attract, retain and grow their customer base. This technology is proven to significantly improve retention, deepening customer relationships and help drive new revenue streams. Yandex.Money, which has around 46 million users, will use Moven’s APIs and embed them into its existing platform to deliver a highly-personalised smart banking experience to customers.
Government prompt payment initiative holds late payers accountable
A new initiative may stop some companies from winning government contracts if they don’t ensure suppliers and subcontractors get paid on time. From autumn 2019, the initiative will ensure the government only does business with companies that pay their suppliers, which includes many small businesses, on time. Cabinet Office minister, Oliver Dowden, said companies providing crucial services to the public sector must be paid on time.