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iwoca Review | What You Need To Know

Chris Grundy
Dec 12, 2018

Most online businesses rely on being able to access credit when they need it. Whether it’s needed to hire new staff, fund the expansion of their product line or launch a new marketing campaign, credit is the lifeblood of eCommerce.

However, since the financial crash in 2008, conventional banks have tightened up their lending processes, making it harder for smaller online businesses to borrow. At the same time, established financial institutions have struggled to embrace the online sector, with its unique quirks.

The result has been the appearance of new forms of lending that are specifically tailored to online businesses. These include services offered by online payments giant PayPal, who have also been joined by peer to peer lending platforms in recent years. You can also read our Paypal Working Capital review. Companies like Bitbond and iwoca have emerged, targeting clients who need to boost their working capital and haven’t been able to secure it through normal channels. This is why we want to provide you with this iwoca review.

If you are seeking working capital for an online business, choosing between the available options can be tough, but often it’s worth investigating. If you need cash to expand, bridge liquidity gaps or take advantage of one-time market openings, accessing credit can be a life saver.

This iwoca review will look at the services offered by iwoca and Bitbond, two of the most dynamic firms in the sector. They might not be for you, but it is well worth knowing what they have to offer. Let’s get this iwoca review up and running!

What Do iwoca and Bitbond do Anyway?

Bitbond and iwoca both provide credit to online companies, but they do so in very different ways.

iwoca review 

iwoca was founded in London in 2011 by Christoph Rieche and James Dear as an automated lending platform for small businesses (the name refers to “Instant Working Capital”).

iwoca brings together sources of information about every borrower’s online credit rating and uses that data to carry out instant credit assessments. They do so by comparing data from borrowers’ business accounts (AmazoneBay, business bank accounts, PayPal, etc,) and, so far iwoca have lent out over £600 million to online customers.

iwoca generally have a maximum loan amount of £200,000, repayable over 12 months at a typical interest rate of 3.3% per month. Usually, the rule is that iwoca will lend up to one month’s revenue, or a sum of £10,000 for start-ups. The firm claims to be able to assess credit ratings and deposit funds within hours of the user logging on, and repayment is flexible. Funds can be kept for the full 12 months or repaid early at any time, with no penalty. Customers are only charged interest on the outstanding balance.

Bitbond review 

Bitbond is quite different. Bitbond runs a peer-to-peer lending operation, in which lenders upload their capital to the company’s website and can then decide which loans they wish fund.

Borrowers need to set up an account and upload details about their loan to the Bitbond marketplace. If enough lenders subscribe enough capital, their loan becomes funded, and the money is deposited in their account. Interest rates are calculated by Bitbond based upon the credit worthiness of the borrower and the length of the loan. Because Bitbond uses Bitcoins in their lending, they can operate across the globe, making their services useful for businesses that operate across borders.

Both of these lending platforms are radically different to conventional credit cards and bank loans. In a time of tight credit, they provide access to pools of capital that would otherwise be off limits.

iwoca Review – the Services they Provide

iwoca market themselves as a “flexible credit facility for your small business”, helping to supplement the cash flow of online sellers.

  • iwoca has lent to a range of different businesses, including hotels, food retailers and restaurants, but lend to firms based in the UK, Germany, and Poland. Startups can apply for a credit line of up to £10,000 regardless of revenue or trading period.
  • Signing up takes place online, and a loan can theoretically be deposited in a couple of hours. An iwoca account manager has to assess each application before loans are approved, and will then make an offer to the client based upon their needs. This could be from £1,000 to £200,000, but usually equates to one month’s revenue (maximum).

  • Interest rates vary between 2 percent and 6 percent per month, and that is the only charge that iwoca levies. This works out at an APR of between 20 and 60 percent. Interest is charged on the outstanding balance only.
  • ‍After one third has been repaid, clients can top up their loan.

  • Prospective borrowers who are denied finance by iwoca can reapply regularly and their account manager will reassess them on request.

iwoca has strong customer service, with a large customer base and a 9.6 TrustPilot rating. Customers on Trustpilot have highlighted the speed of accessing finance and helpful customer service, but also the relatively high cost of borrowing. Many businesses have commented that iwoca also offered help at a time when conventional banks had become stricter with their lending.

How iwoca Differs From Bitbond

Both Bitbond and iwoca offer hassle free finance for small businesses, but they do so in different ways:

  • Accessability – iwoca's services are only available in the UK, Germany and Poland, whereas Bitbond is a globally accessible funding solution.
  • Sign up – A free, simple sign up process with a dedicated account manager is promised by both platforms.
  • Loan amount – iwoca approves borrowers for £1,000 to £200,000. In comparison, the maximum loan amount on Bitbond is £22,000 (€25,000).
  • Rates – Bitbond offers interest rates as low as 1% per month, while iwoca's interest rates start at 2%.
  • Early repayment – Both iwoca and Bitbond offer full early repayment of the loan, completely free of charge.
  • Terms – Both Bitbond and iwoca* offer a maximum term of 12 months. However, Bitbond also offers its clients the opportunity to extend their repayment schedule if their business is having a rough time.
  • Top up – Both Bitbond and iwoca offer the option to top up current loans, if the borrowers need more funding.

*iwoca is currently testing a more flexible repayment schedule for small businesses with a duration of three to five years.

Finally – iwoca review

Secure working capital for your online business. If you need credit for any small business both Bitbond and iwoca, are strong options. This particularly applies to eBay sellers, as both iwoca and Bitbond specialise in catering for that sector of the eCommerce market.

Whether you need credit for your eBay store or you are starting up a Shopify based firm, both iwoca and Bitbond have something to offer. But if you want professionally managed, competitively priced credit the Bitcoin based lender seems to have the edge.

I hope you have found this iwoca review helpful.

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*Bitbond Finance GmbH is a Bitbond GmbH subsidiary. Bitbond GmbH owns 100% of Bitbond Finance GmbH. This content represents solely a nonbinding preliminary information which serves exclusively advertising purposes. The content is neither an offer nor a solicitation of an offer to purchase token or securities issued by Bitbond Finance GmbH. The information in these pages does not constitute investment advice or investment recommendation. The greatest possible care has been taken in the preparation of this content, but errors and omissions remain reserved.

Please find the binding Bitbond STO prospectus here.

A non-binding English translation of the Bitbond STO prospectus could be found here.