Fintech Money

In every industry, companies have stepped up to help the country get through COVID-19. One that’s gone above and beyond — while making a healthy profit — is the fintech sector. With innovative tools and a growing influence over capital, fintech companies are working to help everyone weather the recession. Here are fintech companies making a difference during COVID-19. 

1. Intuit is distributing PPP loans.

One of the fintech companies making a difference is Intuit. The company has its hands in a few aspects of the financial world, particularly accounting and filing taxes. Many of its customers are small businesses, which are struggling to stay afloat while consumers are staying home. 

To lend a hand, so to speak, Intuit has begun offering Paycheck Protection Program loans through its QuickBooks brand. These loans are authorized by the CARES Act and are intended to fund payroll, utilities, and other operating expenses. In certain circumstances, the loans are forgivable.

Intuit does a good job of supporting its loan program with educational content and a fast application process. The result is stronger customer-brand relationships, more companies using Intuit, and more small businesses left alive once the pandemic passes. 

2. Chime is offering early access to stimulus money.

Chime provides banking services with a focus on fee-free spending accounts and debit cards. Through its SpotMe feature, Chime is giving its members early access to their stimulus money

Chime’s SpotMe function allows members to overdraft their accounts without paying an additional fee. In light of the pandemic, Chime is using it to spot users their stimulus funds between two and five days early. 

With so many Americans out of work, putting cash in their pockets earlier than expected is no small favor. And by ensuring its users have money to spend, Chime wins as well. 

3. DoNotPay is automating filing for unemployment benefits.

Self-styled as “the world’s first robot lawyer,” DoNotPay is an app that helps everyday people win lawsuits. When the coronavirus forced taxpayers to apply for unemployment at historic numbers, DoNotPay decided to help out.

Using its unique combination of legal expertise and technology, DoNotPay automated the process for applying for unemployment. The site asks for all the personal information you need to apply, then fills in the appropriate fields for you.

After checking for errors, DoNotPay files the document with the relevant state government agency. Why would DoNotPay offer such a service? Because sign-ups and active users are the metrics apps live and die by. Within the first two hours, the CEO of DoNotPay said more than 5,000 people had already used the tool.

4. Tally is helping customers customize payment plans.

Tally helps people get out of credit card debt by monitoring payments and offering lines of credit at lower rates. Understandably, Tally feared that the pandemic would cause many consumers to stop making payments on their debts. 

Tally took the initiative by launching a COVID-19 relief program, which gives users the option to delay payments but keep their account in good standing. What’s more, Tally encouraged them to customize their payment plans to ensure they could make their monthly payments. 

By accommodating users’ unique financial needs, Tally may have complicated its own work. However, its move is likely to pay off by means of improved customer loyalty and retention. 

5. Gusto is streamlining tax deferral.

Gusto offers HR software to manage payroll and benefits, largely for small businesses that can’t afford their own human resources department. Because small businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, Gusto knew it needed to step up to avoid losing customers. 

One step Gusto took? Creating a system to simplify tax deferrals, which typically take multiple forms and approvals to secure. Back in April, when Q1 taxes are typically due, the U.S. government extended the deadline for submitting taxes to July 15.

Gusto’s initiative is helping small business leaders hold onto more cash in order to survive the pandemic. Of course, it also means those small businesses have the money they need to afford Gusto’s services.  

6. MX is making it easy to apply for SBA funds.

Banks and credit unions are desperately trying to get funds into the hands of small businesses. These financial institutions are assisting small businesses with SBA loan applications, but the process is tedious and time-consuming. On top of that, banks and credit unions are receiving a huge influx of applicants. 

To meet that need, MX created its Easy SBA Portal. This easy-to-use tool automates key parts of the application process and submits applications directly to the SBA. On average, the portal claims to reduce application time from 30 minutes to 30 seconds.

With this tool, MX eased the burden on lenders while helping small businesses quickly get the funds they need. The portal may be monetized later, but MX currently offers a royalty-free license to financial institutions. 

7. Square is waiving subscription fees.

Square is a popular payment processing platform in the small business community. It caters particularly to the restaurant and retail sectors, with a smattering of marketing and payroll services on the side. 

After refunding subscription fees for March, Square also waived software fees for April. Square did not require business customers to apply in order to receive the assistance. 

Square, too, is playing the long game. It realizes that small businesses are struggling right now, and no monthly service fee is worth losing a customer because the company went under during the pandemic. 

Fintech Companies and Banks are Working Together

After years of squabbling, fintech companies and banks are finally starting to team up. Fintech leaders are looking to the future. By serving with strategy, they’re contributing to the common good while building loyalty in a tough time. They’re signaling through lending portals and bank partnerships that they see traditional financial institutions as key players in the industry’s long-term plan. 

Right now, that sort of team spirit is exactly what the country needs. Small businesses and consumers alike are looking for allies, and fintech companies seem more than happy to be on their side.

 

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Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.

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