Working in a winter wonderland

More than 1,200 small business owners applied to us for finance between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

6 January 2020

While many of us were tucking into Christmas pudding or mulling over whether to pop out for a short walk with the family, thousands of UK business owners had their minds firmly fixed on work over the festive period.

Our data from the 2019 Christmas week shows that many SME owners were focused on big decisions about their businesses. More than 1,200 applications were made to iwoca between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, with 300 on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day – plus a further 135 on New Year’s Day.

iwoca customer Sharman Dennis, the founder of Animal Angels pet sitting service, knows what it's like to work the festive period only too well.

“We very much work over Christmas,” she says. “Everybody takes a turn and we have a rota system – I’m on this year. We’re all connected and we have a very good IT system which means we can look at the diary, see who’s available and who isn’t available. And we can actually sort all that in our own homes.”

Outside of traditional banking hours

“Whether it’s over Christmas or even on New Year’s Day, iwoca is there for small business owners whenever they need us,” says Seema Desai, iwoca’s COO. “We’re helping business owners to get access to finance at all times, so that we can help relieve some of the daily strain. And when they need finance, we can deliver it fast. Our personal best loan time – from starting an application to money in the bank – is under four minutes, and banks simply can’t match our level of speed and convenience.”

This 'out-of-hours' approach to business life matched some other trends from the whole year. We found that 55% of our customers applied for finance outside of typical high street banking hours. Of that number, almost a third (32%) did so at the weekend.

Our figures also suggest that the demand for serving small business owners outside of traditional banking hours is growing. Looking at all iwoca applications throughout 2017 and 2018 reveals that just under half (48%) of customers signed up outside of banking hours, with just 16% doing so at the weekends.

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Dan Smith is Content strategist lead at iwoca and editor of Insights. He's written for a number of publications such as The Guardian and WIRED on topics ranging from finance to sport.

Article updated on: 18 March 2020

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