Zeller talks about the banking needs of Australian SMEs


The ability to seamlessly switch banks is necessary but often rare for small businesses. But with emerging FinTechs and neobanks driving competition in small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) banking, fewer business owners are willing to settle for less than the type of financial services they need to be successful. .

For many businesses, it is not necessarily the banking products themselves that are at issue. Every small business needs a bank account and ancillary services like the ability to accept and send payments.

Rather, according to Ben Pfisterer, CEO and co-founder of Australia-based FinTech Zeller, it’s the way these services are delivered, interact with each other and support the financial goals of SMEs that can be a source of frustration for a little company.

As Pfisterer recently told PYMNTS, small Australian businesses facing a variety of challenges, from limited access to capital to late B2B payments, need a bank reset. He explained why financial service providers need to deliver cohesive services that can meet the broader cash flow needs of SMEs, and not just move money for their small business clients.

Increase in FinServ offers

Small businesses around the world continue to face increased financial pressures even as some economies begin to reopen – and Australia is no exception.

“Particularly in the wake of the impact of COVID-19, late payments and limited access to cash continue to negatively impact business survival rates,” said Pfisterer, who described the “Biggest Challenge” Cash Flow for Small Businesses.

Australia recently shed light on B2B payment delays, especially for small suppliers. Regional governments, including NSW government agencies, have implemented expedited payment terms for suppliers, with some large companies following suit. Yet the latest Atradius study found that 54% of Australian B2B companies say their invoices are overdue since the pandemic, with the percentage of cancellations and bad invoices more than doubling.

As a result, more and more small businesses are urging their financial service providers to come up with tools that not only cover the basics, such as accounts and payments, but also ensure that these tools can actually meet their need for manage and strengthen cash flow.

“Traditional banking institutions have high transaction processing costs and terminal dues, outdated payment hardware that is cumbersome and difficult to use, and slow daily settlement times,” Pfisterer explained.

With nearly $ 38 million in new funding, Zeller is looking to meet these needs for small businesses across the country. Pfisterer noted that the solutions offered to SMEs, including a point-of-sale terminal for accepting payments, an account service for storing funds, and a Mastercard for making payments, all aim to integrate seamlessly with each other. to support the efficient flow of money from every point on its journey.

Change of role of the SME bank

The role of the bank with small businesses is evolving and some financial institutions are realizing the importance of offering integrated native digital tools with a better user experience. Thanks to investments in research and development (R&D) and FinTech collaborations, the online banking portal has become something of a new generation ERP for small businesses, capable of offering a range of services in a unified interface.

Yet, according to Pfisterer, traditional financial institutions have not been able to accomplish this in any meaningful way, so a high percentage of SMEs that switch from their bank to Zeller often come from one of the Big Four. Australian historic banks.

“It’s not just about moving money or holding debt for your clients anymore,” he said. “The main focus is to help business owners accept, manage and spend their funds and increase their cash flow by providing more information and data on how their business is handling money. “

This perspective will guide Zeller as it expands in Australia and new features and functionality are introduced. The transactional relationship between a bank and its SME client is no longer up to what today’s modern entrepreneurs – emerging from one of the most economically unstable times in recent history – need a supplier and a partner.

As SMEs increasingly seek data-driven information and the economy continues to evolve towards a cashless economy, banks have an “obligation,” Pfisterer said, to support these businesses and provide information. fundamental solutions “in a new, innovative, simplified and easy-to-access way.



About the study: The AI ​​In Focus: The Bank Technology Roadmap is a research and interview report examining how banks are using artificial intelligence and other advanced IT systems to improve credit risk management and other aspects of their operations. The Playbook is based on a survey of 100 banking executives and is part of a larger series assessing the potential of AI in finance, healthcare and others.

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