UPDATE: Here are the side projects fintechs are launching to ease strain of coronavirus

By Aisling Finn on Tuesday 14 April 2020

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, it was only a matter of time before fintechs stepped up to the plate.

UPDATE: Here are the side projects fintechs are launching to ease strain of coronavirus
Image source: Jamie Campbell/Twitter

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused economic turmoil across the world, putting millions of livelihoods and businesses at risk. 

Following the initial publication of this article AltFi received several emails directing us to platforms we missed, so, here's an update on side projects created by fintechs to ease the strain of coronavirus.

New services

COVID Credit

Possibly the most notable fintech contribution to help correct some of the disruption caused by coronavirus is the Covid Credit calculator.

Covid Credit is a platform created by a collaboration between Fronted, 11:FS and Credit Kudos to help self-employed workers prove a loss of income needed to claim new government benefits.

On its website, the platform is described as “a proof of concept to demonstrate how open banking data could support freelancers in the COVID-19 economic crisis.”

Coronavirus Furlough Calculator

Similarly, Pento, an automated payroll platform, has launched a Coronavirus Furlough Calculator.

The platform was launched to help businesses work out the amount they can claim from the Government to cover the costs of furloughing employees.

In another attempt to ease the strain on SMEs during the coronavirus outbreak, Pento has also announced that its payroll system will be free for three months.

COVID-19 Relief and Wellbeing Network

Tully, a financial management app, has launched the COVID-19 Relief and Wellbeing Network to help reach those affected by the ongoing pandemic.

The company estimates that “17m people in the UK have been financially impacted by the Coronavirus crisis,” and it hopes to help those people access the relief they need.

Tully hopes to provide those in need with regular support and updates as soon as new information is released and if it is needed, Tully can communicate with its network partners to help organise payment relief.

Save My Local

Save My Local is a free initiative spearheaded by a group of small business leaders to help protect local businesses who are most at risk of folding because of current economic disruption caused by the coronavirus.

The platform helps small vendors sell vouchers to customers to keep local businesses afloat.

Save My Local promises to help small businesses reach a wider audience by promoting them on social media and through email campaigns.

Money Dashboard

Money Dashboard, a personal finance assistant, has created a new community forum to help people curb their unnecessary spending.

The platform uses industry experts and trusted sources to provide advice on how to stay on top of finances during this period of economic turmoil.

Campaign for Self-Employed Income Support

Coconut, the banking platform designed for SMEs and freelancers, has launched a free-to-use web tool to increase the number of businesses eligible for government support.

The fintech has said it will lobby the Government “to encourage them to allow self-employed people to submit their 2019/20 Self-Assessment,” the current reparations are based on 2019/20 tax returns.

SMEs and freelancers just need to sign up with an email to use the tool and to hear the latest updates on the campaign.

WageStream

WageStream, an online wage-tracking service for employers and employees, has released a number of “alleviation solutions” to help businesses cope with the coronavirus disruption.

The platform has launched a ‘company contingency communications’ channel to help firms send push notifications to help keep staff updated in real-time.

Alongside this, WageStream has introduced several payment support provisions including an automated statutory sick payment process, the immediate payment of overtime and furloughed staff payment support whereby furloughed employees can access 50 per cent of their income through WageStream.

Tide

Tide, the digital business banking platform, announced late last week that it has built an 'Eligibility Tracker' to help SMEs work out the amount they can receive from the Government under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

CBILS has faced a fair amount of backlash for being confusing and difficult to navigate, so, as well as launching an 'Eligibility Tracker', Tide is also regularly writing blog posts with any updates from the Government.

CountingUp

CountingUp, an SME banking and accountancy app, has followed in the footsteps of its fintech counterparts and has launched a free-to-use furlough calculator for sole traders.

The calculator requires tax information from the past 3 years and is designed to help those seeking financial assistance from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Alongside the furlough calculator, CountingUp has also compiled a list of useful information to help sole traders understand the support they can receive. 

Concessions and freebies

Muse

Muse, an SME-targetted finance platform, has launched an interest-free loan for new and existing customers aimed at bridging the gap between paying wages and receiving payment from the Government. 

The app is hoping to advance approved furlough relief from the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, with no fees, for new and existing invoice finance clients supplying local or national government, enabling SMEs to pay their employees on time.

Starling

Digital challenger bank Starling announced last week that it had introduced a Coronavirus Support Scheme for its customers affected by the ongoing crisis.

Customers must be able to prove they have lost income due to the coronavirus but, if accepted, they will receive a three-month interest holiday on their overdrafts.

Under the scheme, the bank has said that all interest charged on overdrafts will be waived and it will not be collecting any accumulated interest at the end of the three months.

Last week Starling released a 'Connected Card' whereby customers can give it to a trusted person to buy essential items for them if they are self-isolating because of the coronavirus.

The new card has a £200 limit and connects to an existing Starling current account.

Over the bank holiday weekend, it was also announced that Starling is now an accredited Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lender meaning that they can provide SMEs with the financial support they need to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wollit

Income smoother Wollit announced last week that it was fast-tracking the launch of its first product to help freelancers hit by the coronavirus. 

The Wollit Income Promise was due to launch later this year but has been brought forward to May to help those in need.

Wollit hopes to regulate the income of those not in full-time work and provides customers with an interest-free cash top-up whenever they earn less than their average monthly earnings.

SumUp

SME-favourite SumUp announced last month that it is waiving fees for mobile payments and invoicing across Europe to enable users to process payments remotely.

The provider of card readers to 2m small businesses revealed it hoped this concession would help tackle the spread of coronavirus by allowing merchants to process payments by sharing a link via email, WhatsApp, SMS or any other messaging platform.

NatWest and Mettle

NatWest has announced a partnership between its digital business bank Mettle and cloud-based accountancy platform Free Agent.

The partnership will see SMEs save up to £150, or the minimum cost of an annual subscription to Free Agent.

The partnership is the most recent concession NatWest has given to smaller businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, just under a month ago the bank pledged £5bn to SMEs for coronavirus support


Think we’ve missed an important coronavirus-related project? Let us know editorial@altfi.com

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