How we found the ‘sweet spot’ between a bank and a fintech for SMEs

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Anna Meehan

FairFX (now Equals Group PLC) was born 15 years ago out of a desire to give customers a better deal and a brilliant experience, using technology to make it easy. We built Equals Money on the same foundation, and we’re proud to say that Equals Money has become a leading B2B-focused payments and spend management business. We have over 15,000 business customers and counting.

Years of work with thousands of businesses made clear how big the gap in the market was for a B2B payments business that actually cared about its customers.

As far as we could see, there were no businesses solving the everyday problems that SMEs faced: things like expenses, payrolls and budgets. There were also no other businesses out there that seemed to really care about making the financial side of running an SME better and easier.

Out of this, a B2B was born. Meet Equals Money.

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SMEs were being underserved when it came to payments and FX, and we decided to change that

Our initial focus for Equals Money was the Film and TV industry. The Film and TV industry is famously complicated and opaque when it comes to expense and payment systems, so it made sense for us to start here. We put all of our energy, time, and resources on getting one industry right before expanding to others. We’re now working with thousands of businesses across all industries: manufacturing, wholesale, hospitality (to name a few).

Through delving deeper into each industry one at a time, we saw how different they were to each other. For example, the payments system for a hospitality SME looked entirely different to that of a small production studio. We saw how each industry had specific management needs - needs that required bespoke solutions, dedicated account managers, great customer support, and in-house expertise.

Our competitors just weren’t giving SMEs the teams and tools they needed. That’s where we came into the picture.

We’re the happy middle between a traditional bank and a fintech startup

Traditional banks are cumbersome, with poor technology and bad customer service. Emerging fintechs, on the other hand, don’t have the heritage or the industry experience behind them for new customers to trust their technology.

We know we’re biased, but we’re pretty sure we’re the perfect combination of the two. We’ve got 15 years of experience, we’ve built technology that’s very much at the forefront of fintech innovation, and we’ve created a product with our customers at the heart of everything we do.

For too long, SMEs have been held back by underwhelming products, bad onboarding, even worse customer service, and sky-high fees. Big banks won’t serve them because they’re not generating as much money as their bigger clients, yet they can’t always afford large expensive enterprise systems that have all the features they need. 

We’re providing our customers with superior functionality, exceptional customer service, competitive pricing and product offerings, and leading design. We’re the happy middle between traditional banks and challenger startups, and we’re here to help you.

We’ve got big plans to make Equals Money the best B2B product for our customers in 2022

We’ve invested in new technology and integrated systems, and we’ve gained access to services like Faster Payments - we’re building a product that our customers love to use. Our financial results for 2021 were strong. Our unaudited revenue was £44.1 million, which was an increase of 52% on 2020. This trend has continued well into 2022.

To put it simply: you can trust us with your business finances. The money we make in revenue is reinvested into releasing new and exciting features that’ll help our SME customers operate as efficiently as possible. We’re committed to building a product that’s the best it can be for our customers and their businesses.

Our Chief Executive Officer Ian Strafford-Taylor, said: “Our repositioning as a B2B focused fintech off the back of our technology and product developments has differentiated us from our peers. We are now monetising these capabilities, as can be clearly seen by the rapid rise in our revenues. Without the need for additional investment capital, we are able to grow revenues, profits, and cash balances whilst continuing to invest in further product developments. Accordingly, we are extremely excited and confident in the future of the Group.”

The pivot from B2C to B2B has been a natural evolution for us. We’ve built a unique product offering and infrastructure over many years of working with thousands of businesses. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about how we work, get in touch today.

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