Zip Business Capital Review (Formerly Spotcap)
|Zip Business closed its SME loan solution on 2 May 2023. No new applications are being accepted. See a range of alternative small business loan providers here.|
Zip Business, owned by ASX-listed buy now, pay later company Zip Co, has closed down its SME loan operations as of 2 May 2023.
After a failed attempt to bring a buy now, pay later solution to SMEs, Zip Business put a halt to their Zip Business Trade product in 2022. Zip Business Capital – its unsecured business line of credit solution – continued to be offered as the only remaining product under the Zip Business brand but this too has now been wound down.
Zip’s chief executive for ANZ, Cynthia Scott, told The Adviser that Zip had made “the difficult decision to start winding down… This decision is in line with our ongoing efforts to simplify our business and our strategy to reach cash group EBTDA profitability during 1H FY2024.”
Zip’s Business Line of Credit solution (which was much more akin to a standard small business loan) was originally offered through the acquisition of Spotcap in 2019. In the acquisition, the Spotcap team was retained but Zip will now be working with impacted staff to explore redeployment opportunities within the organisation.
Existing Zip Business Capital customers can still sign in to manage their account and will continue to be debited in accordance with their repayment schedule.
What Does it Mean for the SME Loan Market?
Commenting on the declining performance of Zip Business in their Q3, FY2023 results, Zip Co stated that “Originations in the period reflect tightened risk settings, seasonality and a deterioration in the operating environment for small business in ANZ.” Zip Business revenue was down 15% YoY, whilst new originations fell by 34% YoY.
Small businesses tend to be the most impacted in times of an economic slowdown and as our report on access to SME capital details, small businesses are certainly the most impacted when it comes to accessibility of finance during these downturns. Without government intervention, and perhaps unique public/private sector partnership, traditional lending standards will continue to be more rigorously applied during a period of economic uncertainty.
Combine this with the fact that non-bank lending accounts for a small share of total credit in the Australian economy (and awareness remains below that of other countries), it could spell a tricky period for existing non-bank lenders to navigate.
Zip Co had been facing significant headwinds in both the business lending and consumer buy now, pay later markets as a result of rising interest rates and reduced consumer spending. The move to close its SME loan product came a month after the firm announced it would be making a significant cut to back its global operations.
The outlook is mixed elsewhere.
Market-leader online lender Prospa issued $425.5m of loan originations in H1, 2023, making $135.3m in revenue. Up 35% and 72% respectively on H1, 2022 and a record breaking six-month period for originations since inception. Group EBITDA however was just $0.2m, a significant drop on the $9.8m made the year prior. In their investor presentation, Prospa also stated “While arrears have increased, we have proactively tightened commercial settings in the half and have the tools and ability to continually serve demand whilst managing arrears.”
Prospa is diversifying into new financial services and has recently announced the Prospa Business Account. One would have to think, in part, to reduce its reliance on an uncertain period for business loans.
Bank loans remain very difficult to access and non-bank loans, due to their very nature, tend to have high interest rates that put off some SMEs. Government intervention is required to tackle these two issues and, at the very least, increase the awareness of non-bank lending solutions.
Zip Business / SpotCap Review: No Longer Up to Date; For Historical Review Only
This Zip Business Capital review (previously Spotcap business loans until 2020) will help readers make an informed decision as to whether Zip Business Capital is the best fit for their business finance requirements. We’ll assess the credibility of the lender following its recent acquisition and change of name from Spotcap. We’ll see what existing clients have had to say about their experience with Zip Business and we’ll run through their primary lending solution – the Zip Business Line of Credit. We’ll also explain why Zip has axed its Zip Trade product (buy now, pay later, for business) and what this means for the future of Zip. Read the following Zip Business review to discover Zip’s eligibility criteria and the terms on offer.
|📝 ABN:||71 602 957 237|
|📝 Credit License:||602 957 237|
|💰 Loan Amount||$10,000 – $500,000|
|⏲️ Loan Term||1 month – 60 months|
|💸 Unsecured Loans?||Unsecured Loans through a Line of Credit are Available|
|⌚ Lender Requirements|
|📃 Required:||BAS for the last 4 quarters, financial statements for the last 2 years. All previous bank account statements from all prior years.|
|⏱️ Response Time:||Approval normally within 24 hours.|
|🌝 Easy to Apply:||Yes, fully online (expedited application here)|
|💌 Online Reviews:||0 Zip Business Reviews. There are exactly 100 reviews of Spotcap Australia but the latest review was left in November 2018. These reviews were generally positive, scoring the firm 4.5 / 5.|
|🏆 Awards and Recognition:|
|💳 Minimal Interest Rates:||Fixed interest rates and a drawdown fee applicable each time you borrow against your credit line.|
The Zip Business Loan calculator, based on the average Zip Business customer, suggests interest of $10,016 on a $100,000 loan over 12 months. These indicative costs seem exactly the same as when the business loan calculator was featured on spotcap.com.au.
|⚖️ Compare Zip Loans||Compare Zip Loans with 50+ Australian Lenders on Lend.com|
|Review Table of Contents|
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
What Finance Options Do Zip Business Offer?
Zip Business Line of Credit
The primary lending product that Zip Business offers is exactly the same as it did during its time trading as Spotcap – an unsecured line of credit up to $500,000 which gives clients the flexibility to draw down once a day up to the maximum size of their facility. Each time a customer draws down, that amount is then considered a loan. So if you came here looking for an unsecured business loan, that’s still possible through Zip Business, you just have to open a line of credit first.
Zip Business Capital’s credit lines are non-revolving, i.e. when you pay back a borrowed sum, you aren’t automatically eligible to redraw that amount. In this sense they are more akin to a flexible business loan, rather than a traditional revolving line of credit.
It’s reported that the size of the line of credit facility you are eligible for is roughly equivalent to your business’ monthly turnover.
Using Your Zip Business Line of Credit
As a borrower, you are required to draw down within the first three months to activate your line of credit. This is what Zip calls a “commitment period”. Once activated, a Zip Business Capital credit line can last up to 24 months.
If you decide against borrowing funds during the commitment period, you can quickly and easily apply for a rescore with your basic information already pre-filled from your first application.
Zip Business Trade (Closed in 2022)
The Zip Trade account, dubbed “buy now, pay later, for business” used to allow businesses to cover their individual business expenses and then pay these back to Zip at a later date. Customers would simply submit the invoices they were sent by their suppliers onto Zip and then wait on a lending decision. If approved, Zip would pay the invoice and the borrower could then pay Zip back in instalments.
Following a huge hit to buy now products, with companies like Klarna in Sweden losing 85% of their value, pay later businesses (mainly due to private customers defaulting on their repayments) Zip saw its share price nosedive in 2021. Now, as part of a corporate restructure, Zip has announced it is closing its Zip Trade product for SMEs.
As of July 2022, no new customers are being accepted and existing customers have until 1 September 2022 to utilise their facility. Managing Director of Zip, Larry Diamond, had this to say, “We have been clear that in response to current market conditions our strategic priorities are to focus on our core business, both products and regions, and accelerate the group’s path to profitability.”
Product Score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Company Story & Credibility?
Spotcap was an innovative global lender for small and medium-sized businesses. The company was founded in 2014 by entrepreneurs Jens Wolosczak and Toby Triebel in partnership with Rocket Internet and offered business loans throughout Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, Australia, and most recently, New Zealand (until the Australia and New Zealand arm was acquired by Zip Co).
Headquartered in Germany, the company grew to a team of over 130 staff and originated over $300 million in credit lines around the world, with an estimated $23 million issued to Australian SMEs.
Spotcap continues to operate as a direct lender to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain. The Australia and New Zealand divisions have been part of Zip Co since 2019.
The Funding Rounds
- Since 2014, Spotcap conducted 6 funding rounds and raised a total of US$113 million from multiple investors based in Russia, Israel and Europe.
- In 2014, Spotcap raised €13 million from a group of investors led by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.
- In 2015, Spotcap received €5 million in debt financing from Kreos Capital, a European growth debt firm that provides financing solutions for high-growth companies across Europe and Israel.
- The following year, Spotcap reinforced its capital line with €31.5 million in new funding. It was the company’s third funding round in the space of 18 months and was led by Russian private equity firm Finstar Financial Group, with participation from previous investor Holtzbrinck Ventures.
- Less than 6 months later in June 2016, Spotcap announced a €14 million funding round taking its 2016 total to €45.5 million. The lender said the additional funds would be specifically designated for the Dutch market and said it expected to provide €50 million in credit to Dutch companies on an annual basis.
- In January of 2018, it raised A$20 million from Heartland Bank, a New-Zealand-based community bank located in central Ohio in the United States which provides a variety of financial services in the US. The investment round also coincided with Spotcap opening its first office in Auckland, New Zealand. In October 2017, it raised €22 million from its existing investors.
The History of Zip Co
Founded by Larry Diamond and Peter Gray in 2013, Zip is an Australian FinTech that’s most well known for its Zip Pay solution, a product for end consumers and businesses alike. With the old motto “buy now, pay later” it’s a consumer credit offering that allows individuals to make purchases on credit and then pay off their purchases over time. For businesses it allows them to provide customers with another payment option on checkout.
In 2015, Zip was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange as Zip Money Limited (ASX: ZML) and raised over $65 million in funding. Zip has a $200 million debt facility with National Australia Bank, and a $40 million equity investment from Westpac Bank. A high growth company when it originally launched, Zip was ranked #7 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 APAC.
In September 2019, Zip Co acquired SpotCap Australia and Spotcap New Zealand with the firm now trading as Zip Business. It’s still the same Spotcap team, delivering the same service and products to help Australian SMEs grow their business – just with a fresh new look. It’s reported that the IP (including the proprietary credit algorithm) will be licensed perpetually from Spotcap Global, ensuring Zip Business can continue to make fast lending decisions that can result in borrowers receiving funds in under 24 hours from application.
The company has enjoyed mixed success of late as the buy now, pay later industry continues to encounter serious headwinds. New regulation, new competition from the likes of Apple, and higher funding costs (as a result of rising interest rates) are all having an impact. In July 2022, the firm even announced that it pulled out of a planned takeover of US rival Sezzle due to changing macroeconomic conditions. In January 2023, Zip announced they were closing a number of their unprofitable international operations. The move should allow the firm to break even by the end of the year and provide sustainable growth in its core Australia and New Zealand markets.
Credibility Score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Spotcap / Zip Business Capital Client Reviews
By the look of things, Zip Business is yet to be linked to a customer review platform. All reviews have been left under the profile of Spotcap Australia, with the most recent being from November 2018. There have been zero reviews of Zip Business Capital from 2019 – 2023. So it must be said these reviews are rather outdated to get a feel for how Zip Business operates today, however, given that the team and offering remains the same we’ve included the Spotcap Australia reviews for reference below.
- TrustPilot Australia: 100 Reviews, 83% Excellent, 12% Great, 5% Bad
With 95% of the feedback being positive, we’ve highlighted some of the comments here:
“Easily the best customer experience I’ve had this year. Very simple, smooth process… Would definitely recommend”
“Given the state of Business Banking in Australia at this time; Spotcap Australia is a breath of fresh air; from a customer service and business efficiency, point of view”
Given there are exactly 100 reviews, 5% of reviews being negative means there are exactly 5 bad reviews. 3 of these 5 reviews seem to relate to customers who were rejected for financing – a common complaint in the lending industry, particularly if a business owner is confident they can afford the repayment schedule. In fairness, it looks as if Spotcap has responded to each of these reviews in detail and offered to speak to each customer in more detail to explain why they were rejected for a line of credit. Of the other 2 negative reviews, one relates to the cost of the loan so will be discussed more in our rates section. The other poor review relates to an NZ based company who received an unsolicited email from SpotCap promoting their services – a breach of local regulations.
Analysis of Client Reviews
95% of Zip Business reviews / Spotcap reviews are highly positive and praise the customer service received and prompt nature in which they were able to access finance. It seems virtually everyone’s expectations were exceeded and many can’t believe how much better the service is, when compared to applying for a business loan with a bank.
The majority of the negative reviews relate to the strict application requirements (and the fact that Zip Business / Spotcap will take careful stock of negative financials).
Have a read of the reviews for yourself but approach them with caution – the reviews are outdated and may not give a fair reflection of Zip Business and the customer service it offers today. Overall, we still believe the application to be easy and customer service to be professional. However, we would certainly like to see more recent feedback. If you’re an existing Zip Business customer, drop us a line about your experience.
Client Reviews Score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Zip Business Online Platform – business.zip.co
Zip’s online application is straightforward and can be completed in as little as five minutes, either online or in collaboration with a financial advisor, broker or accountant.
The eligibility criteria to apply for a Zip Business Line of Credit is clearly detailed and there are a number of FAQs which make the product and its associated terms and fees easy-to-understand. There’s also a video testimonial that potential borrowers can watch to get a feel for what the lending process with Zip looks like and how long it takes.
For financial brokers and advisors, the company claims to operate a “full-service lending platform” and works with leading institutions to provide their SME clients with an efficient and straightforward lending experience.
Website Score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Zip Business Loan Compatibility
- Startup: No, Zip Business requires that you’ve been trading for 18 months.
- Bad credit: No, Zip Business requires access to complete financial records of your business bank account.
- Sole trader: Yes, Zip Business works with sole traders.
- Established business: Yes, Zip Business accepts established businesses.
- Turnover: Zip Business requires at least $200,000/year turnover.
The eligibility criteria for a Zip Business Loan is some of the toughest of any online business lender. To put it into perspective, some lenders, such as Lumi, ask for a minimum of 6 months trading and a $5,000 monthly turnover (i.e. $60,000 per annum). In fairness to Zip, the eligibility criteria is clearly displayed on their site so it avoids any time wasting for potential applicants.
Compatibility Score: ⭐⭐⭐
Zip Business Pricing & Rates
Based on information from the Zip Business website, we can see there is no origination fee for the Zip Line of Credit but each drawdown sees a 2% drawdown fee. To put this into perspective Prospa, OnDeck, and many of Australia’s best online business lenders charge a 3% origination fee for a one off business loan, so a 2% drawdown fee stacks up pretty well.
The online loan calculator available on zip.business.co, indicates interest of $10,016 on a $100,000 loan over 12 months. The firm is keen, however, to stress the calculator is for illustrative purposes only and the example is based on an average Zip Business customer. At roughly 10%, this would represent a decent borrowing rate for an online business lender.
One borrower has this to warn in his review, “They quote Interest COST. This is very different to interest RATE. The rate is actually 1.9% per MONTH. Which is ~23% per annum! Not the 12.78% that they quote in the documents and over the phone.” The borrower raises an important point here – be sure to understand how your interest cost compares to an annualised rate, particularly when you are borrowing for under a year. If you really want to be sure you’re comparing like-for-like, ask the lender what the APR is on the loan (this takes into account interest + all associated fees). Based on the information available in the review, it would appear this borrower was looking at taking a loan for roughly 6 months and achieved a rate of 12.78%. This is why the figures we’ve quoted from the Zip Business Loan calculator are based on borrowing for 12 months.
On the flip side, one borrower has this to say about their rate, “Amazing customer service and was the same interest rate as CommBank & ANZ.” The borrower was amazed they were able to achieve the same rate, given how much faster and more superior the service was – receiving a loan in 24hours instead of months. Overall, we have to assume the majority of borrowers were happy with the cost of their loan given they rated the service 5 / 5.
Fees Score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
SpotCap Review Summary
- Credibility - 95%95%
- Client Reviews - 92%92%
- Website - 86%86%
- Compatibility - 80%80%
Rebranding from Spotcap, Zip Business remains a respected and active lender in Australia. You can borrow anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000. The first drawdown has to be within three months of activating the line of credit and once activated the line of credit is available for up to 24 months.
The website is smooth and aside from the extensive eligibility criteria, the online application is easy. Zip Business just about makes it into our top 10 best lenders in Australia. Businesses’ with over $200,000 annual turnover are generally happily accepted. Our only concern is the customer reviews. Whilst the vast majority of these are positive, they are now somewhat outdated and prevent Zip Business loans from being even higher in our rankings.
We hope this Zip Business Capital review has helped you to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the company and make a decision as to whether to take a small business line of credit from Zip. For any inaccuracies or more information you’d like to know please contact us.