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UK Fintech News Round-Up: The Latest Stories 02/03

Each week we take a look at some of the latest fintech news to hit the UK sector. Happening in the sector this week, impact banking comes to the UK, reporting the location of a car accident has never been easier, and everyone loves a subscription. 

Hastings Direct Adopts what3words Technology

Hastings Direct, the UK provider of home, bike and car insurance, has adopted innovative addressing technology, what3words, for motor customers in an industry first.

What3words is a way to accurately communicate a location. It has divided the globe into three-metre by three-metre squares and given each one a unique combination of three words: a what3words address.

Every what3words address is unique, minimising errors and getting insurance providers to exactly where the breakdown or accident has taken place – whether it’s the side of a motorway, a country lane or a remote village. By providing a what3words location, customers will now be able to add their three-word address to their claims with Hastings Direct so they can share the precise location of an incident or accident.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO of what3words
Chris Sheldrick

Chris Sheldrick, CEO of what3words comments: “Breakdowns and accidents often occur on the side of the road where there are typically no traditional street addresses or landmarks you can pass to your insurance provider. In an already stressful situation, the last thing you need is to be worrying about describing the location. Now, customers can simply note down the what3words address and let Hastings Direct do the work.”

Tradeplus24 Launches in the UK With Close of £30million Debt Facility From PFG

The SME lending fintech Tradeplus24 is launching into the UK with the close of a £30million debt facility provided by San Francisco-headquartered credit fund, Partners for Growth (PFG), with advice offered by debt advisory, Neu Capital.

The funds will be used to scale Tradeplus24’s revolving lines of credit for SMEs across the UK, after already experiencing success with SMEs across Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Australia.

Niels Turfboer, Tradeplus24 UK and Netherlands Managing Director
Niels Turfboer

Niels Turfboer, Tradeplus24 UK and Netherlands Managing Director, comments: “PFG is a first-class partner to have by our side as we seek to modernise the UK SME lending space. PFG understands and sees that, unlike most UK lenders, our product was built with a customer-first approach.

“Our entirely unique solution allows our customers to focus on their businesses and not on managing an overly complex finance product. This debt facility will allow us to accelerate our growth in the UK market, and provide local SMEs with a competitively priced and seamless product.”

After $5million of Investment, the Impact Banking App Novus Has Launched to the UK Public

The socially-conscious banking app Novus is set to break into the lucrative UK market following a landmark $5million investment.

Every time a user taps their Novus card, real-time ‘impact’ points are donated to various environmental and social causes, such as funding meals and cleaning the ocean.

Novus to launch in the UK
Novus to launch in the UK

Customers can then follow their impact to see just how much of a difference they are making and track and offset their carbon footprint based on their card activity. Even the bank card is reported to be compostable!

Hris Nedyalkov, CEO and Co-Founder of Novus at Novus, said: “We’re so excited to be launching Novus to the public! It has been no small feat building a new banking model during a global pandemic, but everything we have been able to achieve in the last nine months is a credit to our fantastic team.”

Passenger and Littlepay Team Up To Strengthen Contactless Passenger Experience

Passenger partners with Littlepay
Passenger partners with Littlepay

UK public transport app and website provider, Passenger, has announced a nationwide partnership with payments infrastructure provider, Littlepay, which will give public transport users total transparency about the fares they pay using contactless bank cards and contactless-enabled devices, and a clear view of fare capping benefits.

The collaboration will allow contactless EMV payments and fare capping activity to be introduced by Littlepay into a contactless journeys portal within transport apps and websites provided by Passenger.

Sheryll Ricketts, Solutions Consultancy Lead at Littlepay comments: “We’re thrilled to be working with Passenger to bring operators a powerful way to improve customer experience. Giving passengers real-time access to their travel and payments data demystifies fare capping and highlights the value of using contactless EMV for fare payments.

“It will prove especially valuable where multi-operator fare caps are applied, providing a single place to monitor payments across different operators’ networks. This transparency has a knock-on effect of inspiring passenger loyalty and frequent ridership, a top priority for operators.”

1.9 Million SMEs Plan On Investing a Third of Their Cash Reserves in 2022

New research from Nucleus Commercial Finance found that 39 per cent of SMEs plan on investing over a third of their cash reserves into their business.

Ninety-one per cent of SMEs have cash reserves, with the average SME holding £39,723 which they have set aside to finance their business for a time of crisis or cash shortage. However, the size of cash reserves is dependent on the size of the business, rising to £61,202 among medium-sized businesses (50 to 249 employees) and dropping to £9,646 among sole traders.

According to the research, cash reserves is the leading way SMEs will finance their businesses this year, despite the various financing options available.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, comments: “It is encouraging to see that on the whole businesses have significant cash reserves to invest for their futures. Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and ongoing supply chains, it is positive to be planning ahead. However, there is still a way to go in understanding the number of funding options available. Governments and industries need to work together to highlight what options are available and the benefits of using external finance can help businesses invest for the future.”

Zopa Bank launches next-generation savings account earning up to 1.05% AER to help level-up post-pandemic finances

 Digital bank Zopa has launched a next-generation savings account to help Brits better save in a post-pandemic world by tapping into the £225billion stockpile of ‘dead money’ sitting idle.

As a base, the Zopa ‘Smart Saver’ offers a 0.72 per cent return for immediate access to savings, which is 72-times the standard high street offering. Customers can then choose to ‘boost’ their rates all the way up to 1.05 per cent by locking their money away for longer with a notice functionality.

This is the highest return for equivalent accounts currently available on the market.

Merve Ferrero, Chief Strategy Officer at Zopa
Merve Ferrero

Merve Ferrero, Chief Strategy Officer at Zopa said: “The Zopa Smart Saver combines the best of both banking and fintech when it comes to helping customers save money. By building on the foundations of the easy access account but evolving it, Zopa offers a higher interest rate in a sustainable manner. At the same time, it gives users control over how and when they access their money based on their goals.

“And we’re only getting started. Over the next 12 months, we plan on doubling our savings portfolio to £2billion while continuing to find innovative ways to help our customers grow their savings.”

New Report Reveals the Fastest Rising Subscription Services

A new report by Access PaySuite has revealed the fastest-growing subscription services – with makeup and cinema subscriptions topping the list.

Access PaySuite analysed Google search data to uncover which subscriptions categories have seen the biggest increase in searches over the course of the last year.

Makeup subscriptions saw the biggest rise with an increase of 188 per cent, followed by cinema subscriptions and cinema memberships, which saw rises of 157 per cent and 149 per cent respectively.

Research by Royal Mail showed that nearly 30 per cent of British consumers are signed up to at least one subscription service, with 88 million deliveries of subscription boxes across the country in 2020.

Explaining the data, Mike Chambers, a consultant at Access PaySuite, said: “Our data paints a picture of how consumers in the UK have spent their money over 2021. Makeup subscriptions top the list, which is perhaps unsurprising as workers returned to offices and the hospitality and leisure sectors re-opened after lockdowns, with people understandably keen to socialise with family and friends again.

“We have also seen a huge increase in pet ownership during the pandemic, with millions of households adding a pet to their family and people are undoubtedly keen to take advantage of the convenience of subscriptions by having pet food delivered to their door.”


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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