HSBC launches mobile business bank for UK SMEs
HSBC has launched a mobile banking offshoot, Kinetic, to cater to the needs of the UK business community.
Developed on the back of insights from over 3,000 small business owners, HSBC Kinetic will enable small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) to open savings and current accounts within minutes, and efficiently manage business transactions such as direct debits, standing orders and future payments.
The launch of this platform is a timely development for small business owners and the self-employed, the number of which have spiked in recent months because of the economic downturn, as HSBC’s global head of digital business banking channels Nadya Hijazi and head of small business banking Peter McIntyre explained to Finextra.
According to HSBC’s research, less than a third of UK-based SMEs feel completely confident in their ability to stay on top of their finances in real-time. Top areas for concern include finding time to manage their cash, and identifying what actions to take as a result of what their finances are telling them.
HSBC Kinetic goes some way to resolving this issue – already boasting over 5,000 users, from food delivery and technology companies to small retailers, and even entities in the medical sector.
The app’s unique selling point, however, is that it is built on Google Cloud technology, which enables HSBC to leverage its existing infrastructure in order to scale-up the service with speed, if needed, and efficiently implement any updates, in line with customer feedback.
Through the use of APIs, HSBC Kinetic can be easily integrated with other leading finance solutions and accounting software providers, namely such as Xero, QuickBooks, and Sage.
As well as helping SMEs meet the practical challenges associated with cash management, HSBC Kinetic can also ensure struggling businesses maintain a healthy cash flow, by providing a suite of useful in-app banking products, such as same day overdrafts, credit cards, as well as streamlined access to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
This particular feature, notes HSBC’s McIntyre, “has proven invaluable during the economic downturn – giving SMEs quick and easy access to the short-term liquidity needed to help tide them over.”
The Kinetic application is part of HSBC’s multi-billion-dollar global transformation programme, under which it aims to digitise key customer journeys, in order to upscale user experience. HSBC’s Hijazi, comments: “Since the launch of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme in May 2020, HSBC’s UK commercial bank has approved over £7 billion in loans – all through our existing digital banking platforms. This scale of lending would not have been possible were it not for HSBC’s ongoing and concerted investment into developing cutting-edge digital banking platforms, such as Kinetic.”
Evidently, the pandemic has catalysed a change in the way businesses – particularly SMEs – bank, and financial institutions like HSBC are spearheading a response to this trend. Indeed, since the start of the pandemic, HSBC has observed a 40% uptick in the number of customers using its digital banking platforms.
“We have also seen a growth in the number of customers opting for virtual assistant tools for support, as opposed to calling customer services at the bank branch”, comments Hijazi. Clearly, the digital environment is becoming increasingly central to the way businesses are run in the UK.
Available for download on both iOS and Android, HSBC Kinetic comes with extended features, including personalised cash flow insights, automatically categorised spending overviews, detailed account reports, and an in-app customer service tool.
In the near-term future, HSBC has also pledged to roll out Kinetic to the Group’s other key geographies, such as Asia, and offer small business loans and international payments through the app.