American Express has announced a partnership with U.K.-based alternative lending platform Ezbob as it continues to broaden its small business financing offerings.
In a press release issued on Monday (Oct. 15), American Express said it will refer qualified small- and medium-sized business customers to Ezbob to access up to £300,000 (about $395,000) in financing. SMBs that take out a loan from Ezbob will also be awarded 40,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.
The partnership coincides with the release of American Express research that found nearly one-quarter of U.K. small businesses agree that access to finance can be a struggle, with SMBs pointing to hidden fees, a lack of flexible repayment options and a complex application process as key points of friction.
"We know agility is crucial for smaller businesses to help retain a competitive advantage, but accessing the finance needed to react swiftly to changing customer demands, or [to] seize an opportunity, can be a challenge," said American Express Senior Vice President of Global Commercial Services Carlos Carriedo in a statement. "Building on the existing support we offer businesses to help them manage payments across the entirety of their supply chains, we've teamed up with Ezbob to explore offering our customers low-cost access to new capital, which can help keep their businesses moving."
Carriedo added that the financing can be key to helping U.K. small businesses increase their head counts, manage cash flow volatility as a result of seasonal fluctuations, refurbish their storefronts or finance large orders.
"We are very excited about the opportunities our partnership with American Express represents for our respective firms," said Ezbob CEO and founder Tomer Guriel in another statement. "Their decision to partner with us to offer their U.K. customers a new way to access short-term finance reflects Ezbob's advanced functionality and the rapid implementation capabilities of the platform delivered through a fully managed support model."
The Ezbob collaboration comes just days after American Express announced the launch of Early Pay, a trade financing solution to accelerate B2B payments to suppliers while providing invoice financing for corporate buyers.