New open banking-powered invoice financing service launches to support businesses during tough economic times, and help more to get paid instantly

CRIF – the leading provider of credit information in Europe – has partnered with invoice financing provider Penny to enable more UK small businesses to get their invoices paid instantly

  • Service utilises open banking to enable better, more informed decisions on lending – reducing risk and fraud, helping manage cashflow and improving creditworthiness

  • The partnership will help UK SMEs during difficult economic times to get invoices paid instantly, increasing the number of businesses accepted for finance through more accurate, reliable data

More UK small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will be able to get their invoices paid instantly, better manage their cashflow and improve their overall creditworthiness.
The innovation has been made possible through a new partnership, combining invoice finance provider Penny’s instant payment services with CRIF’s market leading credit scoring solution. The collaboration draws on CRIF’s expertise as a global leader in open banking solutions to bring its full power to the world of invoice financing.

There are 5.5 million SMEs in the UK, making up over 99% of all businesses. Together, they employ 16.3 million people with turnover estimated at £2.3 trillion*. The partnership between CRIF and Penny comes as more businesses across the country face challenges due to the uncertain economic climate:

  • Nearly one in three businesses said that they had experienced an increase in the late payment of invoices in the last three months of 2021
  • Almost one in 10 said late payments were now threatening the viability of their business**

Penny’s invoice financing solution works by allowing a business to advance money against the amount due from their invoiced customers. The invoiced customer then pays Penny directly with terms typically over 30, 60 or 90 days. However, if a true picture of a small businesses’ financial situation is unavailable, this can lead to them being declined.
The new service utilises CRIF’s Credit Passport®, which uses open banking data to provide a real-time, secure way of speeding up the decisioning process for lenders and providing transparency and advice for SMEs on their creditworthiness.

Penny customers will be able to connect their business bank accounts, allowing an instant soft credit assessment via open banking. This approach gives a fuller, more accurate picture of a business’s finances than traditional types of credit scoring and reduces fraudulent applications by establishing a historical relationship with the invoice subject.
With data refreshed daily, businesses that may have previously been rejected due to a lack of credit information can now get their invoices paid instantly, with the decision process cut to less than 30 seconds and funds released within 24 hours. Utilising open banking in invoice financing in this way enables a clearer, more accurate picture of a business’s creditworthiness and allow for more informed, lower-risk lending decisions to be made. This innovation is expected to lead to more business applicants being accepted for loans through Penny.

Sara Costantini, Regional Director for the UK & Ireland at CRIF, said:
“The UK’s small businesses are the backbone of the economy, but many have struggled during the challenging economic climate in recent years. Compounding this is the fact that some businesses are denied access to financial support when lenders are unable to build a clear, accurate picture of their finances – particularly if they haven’t been trading long.
“At CRIF, we want to solve that problem. That’s why we’ve partnered with Penny to bring the power of open banking to invoice financing, so more small businesses can get their invoices paid instantly, helping with cashflow while improving future creditworthiness.”

Colin Gunnell, CEO of Penny, said:
“For over 15 years, the UK’s 5.5 million SMEs have been systemically underserved by lenders and denied the finance products available to their corporate counterparts.
“There is a huge portion of the SME market that is not able to access business finance products due to the inability of conventional funders to make real time decisions. Penny and CRIF have both individually identified this as a universal problem in the UK which needs to be resolved, building sophisticated platforms to breach the funding disadvantage experienced by SMEs.”
The announcement builds on previous work between CRIF and Penny to offer invoice financing to Credit Passport’s 30,000 registered SME customers, by allowing SMEs to access instant invoice financing directly through Penny’s services.

This new partnership service will be available to customers in June.

About Penny
Penny is an online business tool that lets businesses exchange their unpaid invoices for instant funds.
For business owners, waiting for invoices to be paid and managing payments restricts cash flow and is a barrier to growth. Penny gives businesses the power to control cash flow on their terms, through tech-based, on-demand invoice finance.
This smart, simple solution is accessible to all businesses, including those who may find it difficult to get funding elsewhere, such as sole traders and startups. There are no credit checks, minimum trading history or turnover requirements, just the ability to trade invoices for cash as and when it’s needed.