Santander, a Spanish bank, and eBay have teamed up to offer lending services to small businesses, in an attempt to stave off competition from not only larger companies but smaller ones as well, according to a report by the Financial Times.
A FinTech app owned by Santander called Asto will begin to offer loans to about 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) through eBay in the U.K. by the end of the year. Asto will be able to use eBay’s metrics data on cash flow and sales to help pick potential customers and help with its credit decision process.
“Working with eBay, Asto will empower small business owners with secure access to funds in a matter of minutes from their phone, versus traditionally several weeks,” said Asto Chief Executive Sigga Sigurdardóttir.
Asto is one of many different projects being developed by Santander as a part of its €20bn technology investment plan, meant to combat tech groups big and small that are competing in the same space.
Other projects include a digital bank called Openbank that’s expanding into Germany, Netherlands and Portugal later in the year.
Business lending is a ripe sector for banks as it tends to be less regulated that consumer lending. It’s not the first company to offer such services, either. Amazon gives loans to select companies that operate on its marketplace, and Square and PayPal are also moving forward into the space, next to lending specialists like OnDeck and Funding Circle. Just last week, PayPal said it had passed a milestone: more that $10 billion in loans given to small businesses.
The partnership will help eBay to fend off competition from smaller rivals like Etsy, and to catch up to bigger companies like Amazon. The company was once a market leader but hasn’t been as successful lately.
“Our partnership with Asto is designed to help our business sellers efficiently access cash loans to help them expand and manage cash flow — our latest step in helping small businesses in the U.K. to thrive,” said Paolo Levoni, eBay chief operating officer.