While financial technology companies are themselve getting hit by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, yet several UK fintech innovators are helping small businesses stay afloat.
In recent years and all across the globe, fintech companies have been developing new applications or financial resources to help consumers and small entrepreneurs organise and improve finances. They have managed to ruffle the feathers of traditional banks and other lending institutions, by providing consumers and business startups with agile technologies and solutions for obtaining funds.
Although financial technology companies are not immune to the disruptions caused by the current coronavirus health crisis, some have shown concern on the impact of the current crisis on small businesses in the UK. Many fintechs are currently focused on providing quick solutions that can help small players obtain the government funding relief they need in the fastest and surest ways possible.
Solution Provided by Fintechs to Gig Workers and Independent Solo Entrepreneurs
UK fintechs, many of them volunteers, have been developing new tools aligned with economic relief programs that the UK government launched in helping consumers, gig workers and solo-proprietors of small businesses. Below are some examples:
Starling Bank, a UK licensed and regulated bank that operates digitally and only by way of mobile devices, recently rolled out the “Connected Card.” It works as an emergency debit card that enables a Starling Account Holders restricted by orders for self-isolation, to extend the use of his or her account, not just to family members but even to carers and friends, so they can purchase essential items on the account holder’s behalf.
The Starling account holder is protected by limiting the Connected Card balance to £200; whist allowing him or her to track and manage use of the extended card, by way of a related mobile app.
Several dozens of UK fintechs came forward to render volunteer work in helping build an application that enabled gig workers, freelancers and self-employed individuals to self-certify their lost income. The certification, being a document required by the UK government in processing applications for economic relief.
Developers at Countingup, touted as the leading provider of agile solutions for banking and accounting needs of small business in the UK, came out with Countingup. This app enables self-employed individuals to immediately determine how much financial relief they could obtain from the UK government’s coronavirus funding program for small businesses ran by solo proprietors.
“Coronavirus Furlough HMRC Claim Calculator”
Pento, creator of automated payroll tools specifically for use of startup small businesses, created the “Coronavirus Furlough HMRC Claim Calculator.” This tool helps startup entrepreneurs determine how much they can claim as financial relief from the UK government under the “Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.” The government program intends to help employers of small businesses keep workers employed instead of making them take a leave of absence.