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PayPal Working Capital, the innovative business finance arm of the global payment services provider, has revealed a sharp rise in demand from UK SMEs.

It has provided a total of £625 million in working capital finance, up from £400 million in mid-2017, to more than 30,000 businesses.

Norah Coelho, director of business financing at PayPal UK, said: “The figures mark a 56% increase in the small business cash advances we’ve supplied in the past 12 months. This demonstrates that, almost a decade after the credit crunch, British small business owners are still struggling to convince traditional lenders to give them the funding they need to grow.

“Fortunately, technology is now providing a handy alternative to bank loans – especially for small business owners who just can’t get to a bank during the day.”

In the past year, the business has seen 70% of PayPal Working Capital cash advances issued outside of traditional banking hours.

When businesses trade through PayPal, it already knows the applicant’s business and sales history, so once the application is completed online, owners can have a cash advance of up to £100,000 issued in minutes.

Businesses are charged a fixed fee, with repayments applied automatically as a fixed percentage of a company’s PayPal takings, which gives them flexibility to pay back only when they’re making sales.