Swindon-based building society Nationwide has signed two new partnerships as it prepares to launch a game-changing business current account for Britain’s 5.6 million small businesses.
The world’s largest building society says the partnerships, with Mastercard and ClearBank, will enable the Society to deliver on key milestones on the journey to launching its business current account proposition early next year.
Nationwide was awarded a £50 million grant from the Capability and Innovation Fund, administered by Banking Competition Remedies Limited, earlier this year.
The funding will be used to turbocharge the Society’s plans to deliver a fully-fledged business banking proposition including unsecured loans, credit cards, and savings.
It will also be used to develop a suite of associated products and services aimed at making the lives of business owners easier, from support with accounting and cashflow to assistance with foreign payments.
In preparation for the launch, Nationwide has already made a £15 million investment in 10x Future Technologies, which gave the Society a minority shareholding aimed at creating a true partnership approach to designing and building an innovative digital platform for the new current account.
10x is now working with the Society to deliver the digital platform.
Nationwide chose to partner with Mastercard for their leading payments innovation and technology, strong background in business banking, agility and experience of navigating the fintech ecosystem. Nationwide’s new business banking customers will receive Mastercard debit cards following the launch early next year.
The new partnership with ClearBank will enable Nationwide to benefit from a state-of-the-art payments platform that is ready for the increasing demand for electronic payments. This will deliver seamless access to real-time payments services, such as faster payments.
Simon Hamilton, managing director of Nationwide for Business, said: “We are aiming to disrupt the business banking market and these partnerships will help us do just that.
"The combination of our mutual ethos, national branch network, UK based call centres and these partnerships, will ensure we are truly able to meet the needs of small businesses across the country and set new standards in business banking.”
"Our partnership with Mastercard will enable us to offer a best-in-class experience for small businesses across the UK. We will offer the ethic of care and human service that Nationwide is famous for and overlay a modern digital experience that puts everything business owners want and need directly in their pocket.”
“Our partnership with ClearBank will ensure our new proposition benefits from a state-of-the-art payments platform that is ready for the increasing demand for electronic payments. ClearBank is the first new clearing bank in 250 years and purpose built to avoid the constraints of legacy systems.”
Mark Barnett, divisional president of Mastercard UK, Ireland, Nordic and Baltics commented: “Nationwide is part of the fabric of the British High Street and we are thrilled to be working with them as they embark on this journey to build a new business offering.
“Over the past few years we’ve become the payment partner of choice for most challenger banks and fintechs looking to offer new retail or commercial banking solutions. There is a lot of innovation right now when it comes to small businesses and payments and the next 12 months will be key, both for new entrants and incumbents. It is an exciting time for the sector and we hope to be at the centre of it.”
Charles McManus, CEO of ClearBank said: “As one of the most well regarded financial services brands in the market, we are incredibly proud to partner with Nationwide on this initiative.
"We look forward to working together to enable Nationwide for Business customers to benefit from ClearBank’s state-of-the-art, cloud based payments platform – providing this historically underserved market with a greater choice of banking services.”