Global credit information company Experian has launched a new website which aims to help SMEs find asset and invoice financing in the UK.
The company behind the Credit Expert website has launched SME Finance Finder where businesses can search for brokers and lenders offering finance options including asset finance, invoice finance and commercial mortgages.
The website aims to match businesses with a broker or lender who can provide the most suitable finance option by helping SMEs understand their credit profile and could raise the profile of alternative funding in the UK.
A statement from Experian said the website would save valuable time and introduce SMEs to a range of finance options and providers they may not have been aware of.
The launch has been tentatively received by industry bodies in the UK.
Julian Rose, head of asset finance at trade body the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) of which Experian is an associate member, said: “It’s important for small businesses to be aware of the full range of options available for financing new equipment.
“Over a thousand small businesses obtain new asset finance every day, but many more are looking for help to finance their investments.”
Adam Tyler, chief executive of the National Association of Commercial Finance Broker (NACFB), said: “The NACFB have been trying to get the message across to the SME community about the range of funders that are available to them.
“The Association recognises any attempt at highlighting this problem, it is vital that these businesses have access to funding.
“But we need to understand what is on offer and how it is going to reach all small businesses.
“As an Association we are working alongside the FLA & ABFA to promote the ability of all our members together to help stimulate funding in the SME”.
The statement from Experian also said this method of finance search would enhance the chances of a businesses’ application being submitted to the right provider for the right type of funding and therefore being accepted first time.
Experian say this will have the added benefit of helping companies maintain their credit score as multiple applications for credit can be flagged up as an indication of risk or fraudulent activity by credit providers.
Simon Streat, Managing Director of Experian’s UK SME business, said the objectives behind the new websites were to help SMEs get the finance they need and to raise awareness of the fact there is more than one form of finance available to them.
He said: “We have found that many SMEs are simply not aware of the full range of finance options and providers that may be more suitable for their needs.
“SME Finance Finder is an important step in helping to raise awareness of sometimes overlooked types of finance, such as asset finance or invoice financing, which SMEs may not have previously considered.”
On the website (www.experian.co.uk/financefinder) businesses supply details of the finance they need, the purpose of funding and basic contact information.
Experian then uses a range of publicly available information and its own proprietary data about the business, including its credit history, to create a full company profile
This profile is used to match the business with a suitable broker or lending partner and the most appropriate finance option. All the partners are vetted by Experian and hold relevant sector and financial expertise
The partner then makes contact with the business within two working hours to progress their application. Experian take a commission from the broker or lender for the transaction.