Online finance: Alternative access to working capital?

West Kirby-based business finance specialist, Bathgate Business Finance, says online lending offers ‘significant opportunities’ for Liverpool city region SMEs

Ian Adams
Ian Adams of Bathgate Business Finance. Picture by Emily Smith / hi-impact media


Bathgate Business Finance says it is seeing diversification of the lending landscape for Liverpool city region SMEs with online lending presenting “significant opportunities”.

According to the National Association of Commercial Finance Broker’s (NACFB) latest membership report, more than half (51%) of broker-led SME lending in 2023 was facilitated through challenger and specialist banks, with high-street lenders accounting for just under one third (29%).

This diversification is something that Bathgate, the West Kirby-based business finance specialist, is seeing in action in the Liverpool city region.

The assessment of businesses who predominantly sell online focuses on real-time information bringing in data from online sales alongside credit scores and a review of financials.

For businesses expanding, this approach can be more beneficial as their latest data will be more reflective of their current trading, as opposed to historic accounts. Financial products can comprise revolving facilities or loans.

However, despite this host of benefits, Bathgate believes that not all eligible businesses are accessing online lending.

Ian Adams, the firm’s Business Development Manager, said: “Online funders have so much to offer SMEs, but quite often business owners are just not aware of the opportunity.

“They also often don’t realise that, with the right structure, they can combine online finance with other facilities. This is particularly true for clients selling both B2B and direct to consumer.”

Purchasing stock is one area where Ian advises that an online funder can have a significant impact. 

He explained: “The ideal solution might be a bank overdraft to allow you to buy stock, but quite often a business won’t be able to get an overdraft to the level that it needs it.

“There is also often a greater security requirement that businesses might not be willing or able to meet, and it can take time to arrange too. Online finance can act as an alternative to a revolving facility such as an overdraft.


Ian Adams
Ian Adams says online finance is ‘flexible and accessible’. Picture by Emily Smith / hi-impact media


“Many online facilities do not require a personal guarantee or debenture and are available to those who may not have assets for security.

“That said, while online finance is flexible and accessible, it is not suitable for everyone. We have seen success with businesses that have a healthy balance sheet, are strong and need working capital to expand.” 

As an example of how online finance can support business growth, Ian highlighted a revolving facility brokered for £120,000 for a designer and manufacturer of handmade jewellery based in the North West.

“The business was seeking stock finance to fund its continued year-on-year expansion,”he added. “But it required a facility that could accommodate seasonal peaks and sales expansion.

“Our solution was to set up an online overdraft with an alternative lender, based on two months online sales records, so that the facility could increase alongside business growth. As well as that flexibility, no personal guarantee or debenture was required.”

To learn more about online finance and how it might help your business, contact Ian Adams on 07880 186846 or email 

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