Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in British fintech. Today we look at the mental health issue among small business owners, Barclays digital receipt solution and how the North West of England has become a major tech hot spot.
Barclays launches in-app digital receipt service
Barclays is the first UK high street bank to enable customers to do away with paper receipts and instead have digital receipts sent straight to their Barclays app.
Customers who pay using their Barclays debit card for future in-store purchases at H&M, shoe retailer schuh and food outlets, which include Just Eat and Papa Johns, will see their receipts sent automatically to their app after making a purchase. They can then easily and securely view their receipts whenever they need by tapping on the transaction.
Ruchir Rodrigues, Global Head of Digital & Platforms at Barclays said: “The pandemic has shown an increasing desire among consumers for the safety and security offered by a low-touch environment which digital receipts, along with other solutions such as contactless payments, enable. The introduction of the digital receipts feature in the Barclays app gives customers a way to conveniently get an itemised receipt of their purchase straight into their app, offering them greater control and ease when managing their money.”
AutoRek selected to showcase best in British innovation
Scottish regtech company, AutoRek, a software provider to global financial services firms, has been selected by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) to showcase the best in British innovation during a US roadshow. The DIT’s RegTech Roadshow takes place virtually 22-26 February 2021 and provides ten innovative UK-based regtech companies with the opportunity to meet industry stakeholders, regulators and potential partners.
Commenting on the accolade, AutoRek CEO, Gordon McHarg, said, “Joining the trade delegation, with other leading regulatory innovators is an exciting and invaluable opportunity for AutoRek to demonstrate our services. We have proven success in the UK and are accustomed to working with global financial services firms and are looking forward to helping revolutionise the way US companies manage risk, compliance and regulatory change.”
Small Business Owners Facing Mental Health Crisis
Mental Health UK has recently published research which shows the mental health crisis currently facing small business owners. The research, carried out in partnership with small business lender iwoca, reveals that four in five small business owners report experiencing common symptoms of poor mental health at least a few times a year. Inability to focus (66%) is most commonly reported, followed by anxiety (64%) and disrupted sleep (63%). Almost a quarter (24%) have panic attacks and 37% experience symptoms of depression.
When asked whether they’ve experienced issues with their mental health since the pandemic began, over one third (35%) have experienced panic attacks and half have experienced symptoms of depression. More than three quarters (78%) of SME owners said they’ve been worried about cash flow during the pandemic – the most significant concern out of all the respondents.
The mental health of small business owners risks getting worse without the right support in place, as research reveals almost half (44%) have never accessed mental health support. More than a fifth (22%) stated that they often shut off and disengage from others when experiencing mental health issues, with just one in four (25%) having accessed professional help. When pressed on why they hadn’t sought help, just under a third (31%) said they didn’t know where to go for help or were unaware support existed.
North West of England is a major tech hotspot
According to The North West UK Tech Report, from London Tech Week and UK Tech Cluster Group, the North West of England has been revealed as the perfect breeding ground for tech start-ups, scale-ups and unicorns. This is due to its world-class tech talent, entrepreneurial spirit, feeder universities, dedicated support services, an increasing number of local angels and inward investment.
“The UK is home to 35% of Europe’s unicorns and, over the last four years, has created more unicorns than Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Of the 14 digital tech unicorns created in the UK, six of these (43%) are located in the North West,” said London Tech Week Festival Director Suzy Pallett.
At the other end of the scale, the region (which incorporates Manchester and Liverpool, the UK’s second and seventh largest cities) is home to a thriving tech start-up community and is successfully nurturing fledgeling businesses to scale.
AccessPay CEO Anish Kapoor: “The North West is a hive of tech innovation and we are proud to belong to this regional ecosystem. Our very existence shows future talent that you don’t need to move to London to forge a successful career in fintech. It’s possible right here.”
Suits Me Launches Manchester Ad Campaign aimed at the financially underserved
From the 25th of January to the 31st of March 2021, telephone boxes around Greater Manchester and surrounding areas will feature Suits Me advertisements, aimed at capturing underbanked individuals in need of an alternative, yet modern banking solution to easily manage their finances.
Kim Roberts, Marketing Director, explained the reasons for embarking on this campaign: “Just around the corner from Suits Me HQ, Manchester allowed us to target areas of the city which typically have a higher percentage of people without access to banking and are often excluded from mainstream banking products due to their financial position, credit history or inability to meet the required criteria.”
According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in the United Kingdom alone, more than 1.3 million people do not have access to an appropriate banking facility to manage their day-to-day spending and long-term financial objectives.
Kim Roberts continued, “With this campaign, we hope to show underbanked individuals around Manchester that you can manage your finances successfully without needing a high street bank account, a good credit score, and proof of address.”
Danish Cybersecurity firm opens second UK office
Heimdal Security, a Danish cybersecurity company, has opened a second UK office and signed a new long-term distribution agreement as part of ambitious expansion plans which will make the UK its biggest global operation.
Heimdal, which currently employs 30 staff in Leeds and London, expects to more than treble that in the year ahead – outstripping the size of its teams in Copenhagen and Romania. It also aims to grow UK revenue by 500% by the end of 2021, ultimately becoming one of the country’s biggest cybersecurity vendors and a market leader in its field.
“Heimdal’s investment in the UK will be our biggest in any market. We believe it is an ideal location for an ambitious cybersecurity firm and will provide a springboard to the global market, helping us to achieve our goal to become the world’s leading intelligent security provider with a unified platform,” said Ruth Schofield, Company Manager, Heimdal Security.