Using data for fast decision-making

Anthony Persse, Head of Strategy, discusses how the Cash Advance can put money in customers’ accounts in less than 12 minutes.

You don’t have to look very hard to find an eye-opening stat about data. Take the fact that more data has been created in the past two years than across the rest of human history. Or that, by 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every person in the world.[1]

So far, so incredible.

But what about: “Currently, less than 0.5% of all data is ever analysed and used”?

This is the stat that really blows my mind. We’re aware that so-called ‘big data’ is already having a major influence on every aspect of our lives, particularly in the financial world, but imagine what we’ll be able to achieve when we begin to make use of the remaining 99.5%?

Smart use of data is the reason we can launch a product such as our new Cash Advance, which we believe to be the quickest business loan currently on the market. Already we’ve been able to put money in customers’ accounts in less than 12 minutes.

We brought the Cash Advance to market so we could meet a definite need. Business owners are often so focussed on day to day running of their companies that they don’t have time to search for funding. When the need arises, maybe for bulk buying, meeting an unexpected order or even covering an unpaid invoice, it’s often urgent. They can’t wait 3 weeks for the bank to extend their overdraft; they need a fast decision. A slow loan is as good as no loan.

From the customer’s perspective, the Cash Advance could not be simpler: there’s a preapproved amount of cash available for every business in the UK, paid back in one payment with no fees for early repayment. But behind the scenes, things are a lot more complicated.

We use a scorecard system to instantly access thousands of data points, allowing us to make a decision in double quick time. Our systems analyse factors such as the financial strength of a business, prior profitability, trading history, director experience, positive payment performance, etc...

Data analysis ensures that we are lending responsibly. We don’t want to put our customers under financial pressure and it’s in no one’s interest for us to lend to a business that would struggle with payments. We also use data help us sift out and report fraudulent applicants. All the data that we access is done so under secure conditions.

We are quick now but there’s room to become even quicker! We are always looking at ways to improve our systems so we can keep both our products and levels of service ahead of the curve. Data and technology are our most important tools in achieving this.

[1] Analytics Week, February 2017

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