While times seem bleak at the moment with the COVID-19 pandemic, some FinTechs are doing their best to help. In tough times, the best way to succeed is to come together and a number of FinTech companies are doing just that, offering their services for free to those helping to tackle the virus or those that have been impacted by it.
Governments around the world have been dishing out as much support as they can to minimalize the financial impact of the pandemic. The UK government has a £330bn package to support businesses and workers during the course of the pandemic. While France and Germany both have packages of over €500bn ready, Australia has created a $189bn business rescue package and Japan is preparing a $193bn parcel. The US, which is seeing infection increase rapidly, has just revealed a $2trn stimulus plan which will support businesses, families, loans and hospital aid.
Everyone is in this together and it is encouraging some goodwill towards others. In the UK, within 24 hours of a plea from the government for volunteers for the NHS, over 400,000 applied to help.
Companies, although they themselves are in uncertain times, have been doing their bit to help others. Fast food chain Leon announced it is giving a 50% discount to all NHS workers during the pandemic. It is also letting any of its workers to stay at home and will help them get onto the furlough scheme, a temporary system where the government will pay up to 80% of their wages. It said, “This decision isn’t financial. In fact, it is costing out business more to stay open.” But it is doing this to help those tackling the virus. Finally it said, “During this crisis, if we do by some strange accident make a profit all of it will be spent directly on feeding hospital teams.”
Other restaurants have implemented similar measures including YO! Sushi, Domino’s, Café Rouge, Pizza Pilgrims and others.
However, it’s not just food support which is being offered to NHS staff. Here are eight FinTechs offering support for those impacted by the virus.
1 – NorthOne
NorthOne, a US-based digital bank which is focused on small businesses, is looking to help its clients which have felt the impact of the coronavirus by waiving all account fees.
During the pandemic, the challenger bank will offer free banking services to all businesses that are in areas which have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Crowdfund Insider.
NorthOne co-founder and CEO Eytan Bensoussan told Crowdfund Insider, “Right now it’s essential that we make sure small businesses can get their banking done, no matter where they’re working from. Small business owners across the country are having incredibly hard conversations right now around the kitchen table and desperately trying to figure out how they can keep the lights on through this crisis.”
“The last thing they need to worry about is finding a branch or paying bank fees. Food service and hospitality-focused businesses are being hit the hardest. Many face downsizing or worse. We need to support them. We’re all in this together.”
In another move to help those companies which are struggling during the time, NorthOne is giving free accounts to businesses including restaurants, food services and hospitality companies.
NorthOne is a mobile-first banking and financial management platform for SMEs and freelancers, enabling them to access services such as a government issued bank account, payments, ATM deposits and withdrawal, company debit cards and mobile check deposits.
2 – Zego
Digital insurance platform Zego is looking to help those who have contracted the coronavirus by giving those people 14 days of free cover.
The insurance policy which is designed for UK delivery and ridesharing workers will be given for free to those who have been forced to self-isolate due to coronavirus. Its decision came to help ease financial strains on its customers that are unable to earn any money during the period.
With the new offer, Zego customers who have fallen ill or suspect they have Covid-19 to claim up to two weeks of free cover when they renew their policy.
Zego CEO and co-founder Sten Saar said, “Zego was founded to provide opportunity through flexible insurance and fair pricing. In these uncertain times, we will be doing everything we can to ensure customers continue to feel those benefits, and are not weighed down by fixed costs if they are unable to work.
“We will keep trying to build solutions to make our customers’ lives easier, and are working hard as a team to meet new challenges as they arise. This job is being made much easier by our partners, including La Parisienne Assurances, who have been incredibly responsive and helpful during this process.”
The London-based startup was founded in 2016 to provide flexible insurance solutions to the gig economy. Since then, the company has sold over 100 million hours’ worth of insurance policies and raised a $42m Series B funding round.
3 – Waymark Tech
Compliance management platform Waymark Tech is helping businesses to keep up-to-date with all regulatory changes which happen during this period, so they can easily react accordingly.
Its website said, “During these greatly uncertain times, the various regulators and numerous legal firms are publishing a large amount of information on COVID-19. Markets around the world continue to operate and Waymark Tech recognises that financial organisations need to stay ahead of the rapidly changing advice now more than ever.”
Due to this, the startup is compiling all announcements from regulators and law firms into one location for free, which will make access to updates easier and simpler.
Waymark Tech develops compliance monitoring software for companies in highly regulated industries and professional services firms. Its flagship product, Wayfinder, is an AI engine that continually monitors and analyses regulatory changes and makes recommendations to ensure compliance using Natural Language Processing (NLP).
4 – Yoti
Digital identity company Yoti is helping healthcare organisations keep up with the amount of patients and staff they are having to onboard. To do this it is supplying its digital identity solutions for free to any public health organisation, emergency service and community initiative tackling coronavirus.
The services will be available for three months, and will be made available to individual staff and patients. To help ease financial burdens on the healthcare providers, there will be no integration fees, fixed terms, hidden charges or exit fees.
Yoti CEO Robin Tombs said, “We want to do whatever we can to help individuals and organisations affected by COVID-19. Our technology and team are available to support.”
Its decision to make services available for free was to help health services which are handling increased volumes of patients who requite online and in-practice support, as well as onboarding new staff and suppliers.
There have already been some companies sign-up for the offering. Florence, a digital marketplace helping carers and nurses find work, recently established the National Care Force, which helps respond to the staff shortages expected to occur during the coronavirus pandemic. To improve the operations of the service, it has integrated the Yoti platform to help with onboarding new users.
Florence CEO Charles Armitage said, “We are facing unprecedented challenges across our entire Health and Social Care system. I want to make sure we each do all we can to help to protect and help the most vulnerable in our society. The speed with which the Yoti team came back to us to support in our ID verification requirements was amazing.”
Yoti helps protect businesses from fraud through identity verification, Its technology verifies government-approved ID documents from more than 185 countries and gives the consumer the control over their data and how it is shared.
5 – N26
German challenger bank N26 has looked to help its customers cope with being locked up inside during the government lockdowns taking place around the world.
The bank has formed a partnership with mental wellbeing app Headspace to give premium users some peace of mind during the current pandemic.
N26 You and Metal customers will be given three months of free membership to the mindfulness and meditation app. It chose to work with Headspace due to its effectiveness, its cabinets of awards and the 60 million users it has attracted around the world.
In a statement N26 said, “At N26, we also understand the power of maintaining a healthy mind and creating good habits—especially in stressful, uncertain moments of crisis.
“With so much going on around us, it’s all too easy to feel out of control, lose track of our goals and with it, our sense of direction. Sometimes however, all we really need is a change in perspective. And this is where meditation comes in – a fantastic tool to help us re-frame and re-prioritize, and as a result, reduce our worries.”
6 – Jumio
Fellow digital identity company Jumio is also offering its services to NGOs, healthcare agencies, schools or delivery services for free during the COVID-19 pandemic The offer will last until July 1 2020.
The RegTech is providing hospitals and medical clinics with its AI-powered digital identity services to help them collect and manage identify their patients for compliance regulations, prevent medical identity theft and meet know your patient requirements,
Online learning firms, including schools and universities, will also be eligible for Jumio’s services. Through the technology, educators can safely enrol their students to online education portals and ensure the right person is taking exams.
Finally, philanthropic organisations, such as NGOs and food delivery services, can leverage Jumio to improve their identity verification needs on volunteers and drivers.
In a statement, the company said, “If you’re an organization dedicated to the COVID-19 relief efforts or involved in helping students, patients and vulnerable populations during this difficult time, we encourage you to apply for our free identity verification services program.
“You just need to complete a simple online form and tell us a little bit about your organization. Once accepted, we’ll help to quickly implement Jumio Go within your app or web experience.”
The Jumio platform available offers real-time, automated identity verification services which accelerate onboarding processes and streamline anti-fraud and compliance requirements. The technology uses liveness detection software which can detect whether photos or videos are legitimate.
7 – Wefunder
Crowdfunding platform Wefunder is looking to help businesses which are a little strapped for cash at the moment. It has released a Coronavirus Crisis Loan programme which will give them quick access to cash flow during this period.
The loans can be taken out from $20,000 to $1m and payments will be deferred until 2021, giving them enough time to get their business back on tract, according to an article from TechCrunch. The repayments are also flexible, depending on the business’ revenue.
There is a calculator on the website to help businesses visualise the repayments and how the loan would look before they commit.
Interest will still be charged on these loans, however, they have dropped the rate down from its usual 7.5% to just 3.75%.
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