IbanFirst raises €10m and launches Banking-as-a-Service for SMEs
Payments firm IbanFirst has raised €10 million for its growth plans and launched Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) for SMEs in Europe.
IbanFirst offers an online multi-currency platform “in BaaS mode” – which it calls “an alternative to banks”. It was founded in 2013 by Pierre-Antoine Dusoulier (former head of Western Europe at Saxo Bank) under the name FX4Biz.
The company is regulated and licensed by the National Bank of Belgium, with licences passported across Europe.
Dusoulier says BaaS is “advantageous for the end-user as it gives them access to all the best fintech services and experts but also frees them from all costs they need to incur when they engage with a bank”.
The firm says once users sign up for an account, a “complete set of financial services in BaaS mode” include credit, international payments and investment services. IbanFirst has already signed “partnerships” with Paris-based Younited Credit.
The latest development phase has brought two new features: opening an online corporate account “in minutes” and a plugin for firms to connect to the single platform. In the coming months more services such as invoicing, start-up incorporation, and others will be added, IbanFirst says.
SME-lls like keen spirit
The UK and mainland Europe’s fintech scene is keen on SMEs, which are traditionally seen as being under-served or even ignored by the big players.
Finnish start-up Holvi (now owned by BBVA) offers SMEs a banking service in Germany, Austria and Finland (more countries to follow).
Berlin-based digital bank Penta Bank is gearing up for launch to cater for the needs of German and French SMEs. The bank is working towards a spring 2017 launch.
In the UK, fintech start-up Tide plans to offer a “nimble small business current account”, with a swift set-up and no monthly fees. It claims to be among the “world’s first” mobile-first banking services for SMEs.
Also, Acorn Financial Partners (AFP) has submitted a banking licence application to launch a new SME bank in the UK, Redwood Bank. It hopes to open for business in summer next year.