Qonto relaunches the battle of the “pros” with a split payment offer

After the ” buy now, pay later » (split payment) for the consumer, here is the “ pay now, reimburse later » for the “pros”. In short, a cash advance which allows you to pay your supplier immediately and… repay later. This is what the fintech Qonto offers, one of the very rare unicorns (unlisted start-up, whose valuation exceeds one billion euros) in the field of finance targeted at professional customers (independents, craftsmen, small businesses, etc.). .).

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This new solution, developed internally, is based on a payment services license. It aims to offer eligible Qonto customers, directly from the mobile application, a cash flow facility, backed by an invoice, of a maximum amount of 10,000 euros and repayable in three installments over 30, 60 and 90 days. A monthly interest rate of 1.17% is applied to this line of credit granted by Qonto.

“Nearly one in four SMEs or VSEs say they are pessimistic about their access to financing. This is why we wanted to develop our financing offer to support our customers, including in their development. And this new split payment offer completes our financing platform that we launched last year with several partners, such as Defacto, Silvr, Karmen or Riverbank.explains Philippine Rougevin-Baville, new general director of Qonto France.

To date, Qonto has created some 8,000 credit files for 60 million euros in outstanding amounts.

One million customers in 2025

Qonto, it's a bit like success story of the neobank in France. Its last record fundraising of 486 million euros in Series D took place in January 2022, valuing the company at 4.4 billion euros. It is one of the main fintechs in terms of workforce (nearly 1,500 employees), present in four countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain), and which today claims 450,000 “pro” customers.

And it is obviously a fintech that does not hesitate to pursue external growth, with the acquisition in the summer of 2022 of its German competitor Penta and, more recently, of the fintech Regate, which will both complete its offer and launch a specific offer for accountants. Today, Qonto has a dual ambition for 2025: to reach one million “pro” customers in its four markets and to aim for profitability.

Fintech is in fact on a rapid growth trend, with a 50% increase in revenues in 2023 (the precise figures are not communicated), and an almost doubling (+80%) of the customer base in two years.

Simplify the life of the entrepreneur

Qonto is first of all a professional current account, 100% online, to which financial management tools have been added over the years, including electronic invoicing, but also accounting tools, and of course, fourth brick of the offer, financing. All entirely controlled from an application on a smartphone.

“Split payment allows the entrepreneur to better spread their expenses, to have more peace of mind thanks to this flexibility”explains Philippine Rougevin-Baville.

This is the entire strategy of fintech: supporting its customers in their activity, beyond just banking products, to simplify the daily life of the company as much as possible. A recipe that works, particularly with the explosion of self-entrepreneurship in recent years.

Qonto, like its competitor Shine, is a pioneer by applying these recipes in addition to competitive and transparent prices and a customer journey that is both simple and fluid (like most neobanks). One of the co-founders, Alexandre Prot, has often repeated this. Qonto is a response to the weakness of the traditional banking offering for professional customers, in particular the new generation of “freelance” workers: poor customer service, exorbitant banking rates, lack of transparency, classic products that are barely coated with a thin layer of advice.

The awakening of the banks

However, banks quickly understood the danger of letting this emerging clientele slip towards new digital players. Thus, Société Générale bought Shine in 2020, even as its subsidiary Crédit du Nord launched Prismea, an online offer reserved for professionals. Today, the Banque de la Défense wishes to sell Shine, as it does not want to invest massively to reach breakeven, especially since Bourso Bank, another online subsidiary of the group, has developed a convincing “pro” offer, and Prismea has closed its doors at the end of 2022.

For its part, BPCE is increasing payment offers for this clientele, such as “tap to pay”, and Caisse d'Epargne is trying to best target this clientele of self-employed people. BNP Paribas relies on Hello bank! to meet the needs of independent workers, with a dedicated offer. Crédit Agricole, for its part, launched an online service targeted at professionals and baptized with the curious name Blank (empty, blank, blank page, lost… in English). An initiative from the group's incubation structure, La Fabrique by CA, which complements the JeSuisEntrepreneur platform, to help with business creation. With 40,000 customers to date, Blank is quite a success thanks in particular to its adoption by the agency network.

The “neobanks” more targeted at individuals are also developing their “pro” offering, like N26, and the digital banks that are successful in the United Kingdom are those that have been able to build a real business base among professionals, like Monzo or Starling. Bank. Even accounting software publishers or fintechs closely linked to “accounting” are starting to take an interest in bank accounts. This is the case of Pennylane, another unicorn, specializing in solutions for accountants, and which wishes to strengthen its offer for companies in the field of credit and payment.

“Pros have been neglected by banks for a long time and there are now many new solutions. It’s a good thing for the market, it gives lots of ideas and it’s very motivating because it proves that we were, as a pioneer, on the right subject”summarizes Philippe Rougevin-Baville.

Memo Bank launches a new interest-bearing account

Memo Bank is not a “pro” neobank like the others. On the contrary. This online bank targets an already well-established SME clientele with a turnover of between 5 and 10 million euros. With a banking license since 2020, Memo Bank offers the three banking professions, current account, credit and deposit.

“We have been releasing a new product on demand almost every two weeks for three years,” summarizes Jean-Daniel Guyot, chairman of the management board of Memo Bank.

This time it is an account paying 80% of the euro reference rate on a daily basis. That is to say a remuneration of more than 3% currently. “We now have the capacity to position ourselves as the main account of an SME, now covering 95% of its needs. In other words, we are now seen as relevant to replacing a traditional bank”specifies the manager.