Australasia Behind the Idea Europe Lending Paytech

Behind the Idea: etika

When approaching lending and payments, both consumers and merchants need to be kept in mind. Neglecting to recognise how tech helping consumers would impact merchants or vice versa is a recipe for failure. To understand one way in which this can be avoided, we sat down with the fairer finance provider, etika.

With operations in Australia and the UK, fairer finance provider etika is improving access to affordable lending with its unique business model of being both a platform provider and finance provider. Robert Schuijff is a tech leader with a mission to make a positive difference in the world of finance and CEO of etika.

Under Schuijff’s leadership, etika is working on striking the right balance between agile tech innovation and people-focused ethical lending principles. To get a better understanding of the company, we sat down with Schuijff.

Tell us more about your company and its offering
Robert Schuijff, CEO of etika
Robert Schuijff, CEO of etika

etika is a privately owned and technology-driven company that provides financial solutions in the UK and Australia. Importantly, our solutions are driven by a powerful in-house platform which is built for scale, flexibility, bespoke integration, and to deliver positive customer experiences.

Acting as both the tech platform provider and finance provider, we can make instant, tailored and more accurate decisions. We make finance more accessible to those who need it. Additionally, we bring financial inclusion to more consumers and SMEs with fair fees, no late fees and transparent terms and conditions.

With the ability to offer agreements in principle, soft credit checks and flexible repayment timeframes which help merchants appeal to more customers, etika offers a level of flexibility that established traditional lenders can’t match.

What problem was your company set up to solve?

We saw a need to disrupt the finance space with a unique business model that provided flexible buying power and clear terms, created more informed consumers and delivered agility for merchants in onboarding and conversions.

For consumers, we are enabling informed purchasing decisions. This is all thanks to our fair, transparent and customisable product offerings. etika is serving people who want more choices in payment methods. Those who want more ways to manage their cashflows and budgets by providing longer repayment timeframes.

For merchants, we are helping them to optimise their cashflow, increase conversions and reduce cart abandonment rates thanks to our agile technology platform.etika’s innovative in-house platform can be used in any country and any currency, making us an adaptable payments partner for merchants, and allowing them to give a seamless, consistent finance option to their customers.

Since launch, how has your company evolved?

etika was founded in 2012 by a group of tech entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs that wanted to make fairer finance accessible to more people globally.

Since then, we’ve expanded and now serve a wide range of merchants. These span healthcare, DIY, home furnishing, consumer goods and lifestyle brands. Our customer base encompasses millennials to pensioners and everyone in-between. We’ve utilised our platform to create a range of innovative solutions that open up access to finance.

We’re now growing rapidly as we’re meeting unfulfilled demand in the market. This is driven by our stand-out product offering and our core values of truthfulness, transparency and honesty. We embed these into every aspect of etika’s dealings with its customers and partners.

What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?

The biggest challenge for us as a company is to address the need for continual awareness raising and education around finance and how it can be used for good.

As a purpose-driven finance provider that has always been committed to offering fair and transparent finance, etika has long called for more clarity. Consumers should not have to wade through complicated and confusing jargon in the terms and conditions of their finance agreements. With upcoming regulations also expected to impact the sector more widely, it is critical that the entire industry creates transparency. We must provide consumers and businesses with the right information before they sign up.

etika has always made affordable finance accessible to those who need it, under responsible lending principles. We want to empower our customers to make considered, informed purchases. We welcome any improvement to regulation that protects consumers and businesses. Especially if it helps strengthen the health of the sector as a whole.

What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?

A major milestone for etika was when we became the first POS finance provider to launch agreements in principle in November 2020. This was a turning point for us. It meant that our merchants could extend their offering to a wider and more viable customer base, with more flexible terms. The results of this achievement speak for themselves. In the UK 92 per cent of customers had an improved credit rating after working with us. In 2022 we achieved loan origination growth of 150 per cent which is set to double in 2024.

How would you describe the culture of your company?

With over 100 employees worldwide across our two hubs in the UK and Australia, it’s important to us that we continually build diverse teams that bring out the best in all our people. We are proud of our inclusive work environment, where everyone’s hard work, flexibility, ideas, and ambition are valued and rewarded. Ultimately, we have created a team of bright and hardworking individuals. The team all works together to help us create a financially inclusive product that is based on fair and transparent values.

What’s in store for the future?

Ultimately, we want to make a positive impact in the world of finance, enable financial inclusion and become a tool for financial well-being.

We are a purpose-driven lender with the ability to serve distinct segments and varied demographics. Our aim is to continue to build powerful partnerships with like-minded businesses aligned with our ethical values. Furthermore, we’re also on our way to becoming a B-Corp. In turn, this will widen our services and propositions to more market segments.

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