Free credit score service launched for small businesses

A free credit score service has been launched by fintech company OnDeck Australia to help small businesses “weigh up their options” for funding.

The ‘Know Your Score’ online service has been launched by OnDeck Australia, the Australian venture of NYSE-listed small business lender OnDeck Capital, Inc, in a bid to provide small business owners with “a clearer picture of their financial situation and eligibility for a business loan”.

According to Cameron Poolman, CEO of OnDeck Australia, the company identified a need for such a service after “talking to thousands of small business owners since launching in Australia”.

He said: “[W]hat we see time and again is a lack of awareness about the funding options available to them.

“Many businesses don’t realise that they already have a credit score, which is used by lenders such as OnDeck. Once they know this information, the business owner has a much clearer picture of the financing options available to help grow their business.”

According to Mr Poolman, the online tool — which is backed by data provided by credit bureau Veda — could be useful to business owners "who think that getting a loan is in the ‘too-hard basket’”.

He said: “They aren’t sure of their chances and see the process as onerous and time consuming — and it certainly can be with traditional bank lending. But OnDeck uses technology to assess loan applications in as little as one day, so it’s actually much easier and more accessible than many people assume.”

He added: “Gaining clarity about their business credit score is an important step in the planning process for businesses looking to grow, and ‘Know Your Score’ will now make it easier, faster and more accessible for business owners to understand their borrowing options.”

The service has already been trialled by small businesses, with Alison Dean, owner of afternoon party business The High Tea Party, saying that she had used the free service on her mobile phone.

Although she said that she got a positive credit score, she added that she “didn’t know” if she would apply for a loan yet, but “liked having the option in [her] back pocket”.

“As they say, knowledge is power,” said Ms Dean.

OnDeck has partnered with MYOB and a group of prominent Australian technology investors including Andrew Bassat and Jason Lenga (Seek), Gavin Solsky (Healthshare) and Cameron Poolman (Graysonline).

Earlier this year, the company appointed CBA’s former director for corporate and commercial finance, Kameron Ahmad, as OnDeck Australia’s head of operations, and has since been making waves for its work partnering with major banks. Its recent collaboration with Commonwealth Bank was named FinTech-Bank Collaboration of the Year at the inaugural Australian FinTech Awards in June.

 [Related: Australia to outpace US in alternative lending]

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Annie Kane

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