It costs money to make money, the saying goes, and yet, it also costs money to keep money — in the bank, that is. And it also costs money, sometimes, to access money.
PBF Solutions, a marketing, technology and consulting firm serving financial institutions based in the U.K., recently unveiled YourBusinessMoney, defined as a comparison portal through which U.K. SMBs can essentially get a comparison of different business current and savings accounts offered across a variety of institutions. The goal, simply stated, is to pinpoint where money can be saved, where inefficiencies may be lurking and where services and their attendant costs can be monitored, so that firms can find their best fit. The funds spent in service of, well, funds can be significant. As noted last year by the Federation of Small Business, firms pay, on average, £2,500 annually in fees alone, and this only accounts for when the average holdings stand at about £61,000.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Richard Owen, chief marketing officer of PBF, said that the presentation of what a firm is getting from its current account provider, and what it might get elsewhere, can offer up clarity across what he termed an “intuitive interface” that displays comps in table form and educates SMB executives on how much they are paying to maintain, for example, a high cash deposit. The information is updated continuously, stated Owen.
Owen maintained that, all too often, firms fall naturally into inefficiencies when choosing their banks. “They tend to bring their business accounts to exactly where the founder set up his or her personal account,” he noted. Yet, familiarity does not breed the best returns on accounts, with SMBs often showing some complexity in day-to-day business transactions, ranging, as Owen stated, from checking accounts to standing orders to transfers to withdrawals, each of them carrying different fees, rates, penalties and interest earned tied to a myriad of rules and frequency of use.
In reference to building profiles, the PBF platform is driven by data entered by the SMB client, with a sense of both cash in and cash out, ranging from checks issued and deposited to debits, credits and ATM transactions, with historical data inputs ranging from one to three years. The information reported to the user gets granular enough to break down to monthly account charges and interest rates by account and, most importantly, by bank, giving a sense of how pricing may actually affect an SMB over the longer term.