Santander’s Asto offers loans to SMEs on Funding Options
Santander’s invoice and expenses app, Asto, has partnered with alternative UK lender, Funding Options, to offer business capital loans to early-stage start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The bank joins a roster of more than 200 lenders in Funding Options’ marketplace.
Asto offers loans from £150 up to £150,000, payable over six to 12 months, with interest rates between 8.9% APR and 18.9% APR representative.
The loans have no minimum turnover threshold, and borrowers do not have to use their entire credit limit at once. Whilst Funding Options claims to have an 11-minute loan application turnaround time, Santander-backed Asto says it too can process loans “in minutes”.
Funding Option’s CEO, Simon Cureton, calls Asto “one of a new breed of ambitious and innovative lenders laser-focused on providing truly flexible finance solutions for businesses”.
Both Asto and Funding Options say they have “hybrid models”, combining digital technology with reachable business finance specialists.
The bank’s fintech venture broke into lending last year when it partnered with eBay to off loans to the 200,000 UK SMEs which sell their products through the ecommerce giant’s platform.
The app connects to eBay’s data to measure sales and cash flow to identify prospective customers and shape its credit decisioning process.
Asto is one of a collection of fintech ventures invested in by Santander, which announced its four-year €20 billion technology investment plan last year to take on Big Techs and challengers in the financial services space.
Other ventures include Openbank, a digital bank based in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal, and PagoFX, the bank’s cross-border money transfer service set to rival fintech TransferWise.