Holvi, the online banking company, is attempting to tackle established banks with the launch of International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs) to allow small businesses to operate across Europe.
The Finnish company has targeted start-ups, SMEs and freelancers as its target market, which it has claimed in the past is poorly represented by the established financial institutions.
With the introduction of IBANs, Holvi, which is currently undergoing pilot programmes in 19 countries across Europe, will enable them to operate native pan-European accounts that won’t be tied to a single country which will differ them from traditional banks.
According to Holvi's figures, there are more than 40m small business owners, freelancers, sole traders, project workers, and entrepreneurs in Europe, while nine out of 10 businesses in Europe are microenterprises despite the fact 80pc of all jobs are created by SMEs.
Holvi launched its Irish operations last September and speaking to Siliconrepublic.com in August, the company’s market entry manager for Ireland, Elina Räsänen, said Ireland is a perfect place to begin rolling out its services, given the country’s high number of start-ups.
“I think that the start-up community in Ireland and the micro-entrepreneurs are precisely the group who are already adjusting to new methods, and they are, I think, very keen on using new technology.”
Holvi’s CEO Johan Lorenzen believes the introduction of IBANs is a breakthrough for the business.
“We are offering anyone in Europe a chance to get a Holvi account, including an international bank account number in minutes, enabling you to use Holvi as both a business platform and as a bank account. This is a breakthrough for the banking industry and yet another stride forward for Holvi to replace the traditional banks that are still stuck in the 1990s.”