Belgian challenger Aion rolls out business banking app
Aion, a Belgian subscription-only challenger bank, has launched its digital banking app for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The firm’s Basic Plan stands at €9 a month with limited capabilities, with the Premium Plan at €39 a month. The latter gives users unlimited access to BusinessMax, a tool kit powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and built specifically for businesses.
The tool kit allows businesses to apply for loans – including state-backed COVID-19 grants – and get approvals through the app, as well as offering end-to-end digital bookkeeping, sales invoice creation, expenses and VAT management, and file generation compatible with accountant programmes like Winbooks, Exact online, and Yuki.
Aion’s business accounts can also store four currencies – EUR, USD, GBP, and CHF. All new customers will get access to a free three-month trial before the subscription prices kick in. They will also get access to Aion advisors through the app – and once the coronavirus ends – in-person.
The fintech claims to be “the first Belgian bank to offer fully digital app-based banking for SMEs”, and says it is also the first bank in Belgium to support state guaranteed loans entirely online.
During the crisis, the challenger bank is offering SMEs up to €100,000, covered under Belgium’s 1.25% state guaranteed loan.
Belgium has had one of the highest mortality rates in the world due to coronavirus, and one of the reasons is because it has one of the highest numbers of over-65s in care homes in Europe, behind Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
But the Brussels-based digital bank’s head Wojciech Sobieraj reckons the global uncertainties caused by the virus will boost the interest in subscription-based company models like Aion, which offer a “concierge service” that goes beyond basic transactions.
“We think within the safety of banking, consumers will […] be looking for the places where firms are actually perfecting their [relationships] only rather than merely keeping it,” Sobieraj told Pymnts.
Aion’s “concierge” approach for businesses uses AI to allow companies to customise their services. “AI lets the customer tell us what they want and are searching for and the AI surfaces the most economical conditions,” Sobieraj said.
“So, for online purchase options, say they bought a new TV with the lowest price guarantee: our system is searching for the lower price within the next 60 days to make sure they maximize their opportunity.”
The idea is that businesses can recoup the cost of their monthly subscription fee through these AI-powered personalisation features, according to the CEO.
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