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Qantas disrupts financial services industry with SME business loans

Qantas will start referring business frequent flyers to lending platform Valiant Finance. This partnership helps Qantas members access working capital, asset finance and commercial loans.

It will be enabled by Qantas Business Rewards, the airline’s frequent flyer program for SMEs.

Olivia Wirth, Qantas Loyalty CEO, hopes that this move will help support businesses throughout the pandemic.

“Qantas Business Rewards grew by 25 per cent last financial year, so we know being rewarded for everyday business expenses and saving on costs is highly relevant to SMEs. And even more so in the current environment.”

A Qantas Business Rewards SME survey found that over 80 per cent of members were concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their business. One in four businesses said they planned to seek financial support.

“Our members are keen to return to business as usual and we want to support them in every way we can,” said Ms Wirth.

Alex Molloy, CEO of Valiant Finance, said that their deal with Qantas would help SMEs with the stress of loan applications.

“SMEs are the growth engine of the Australian economy and are absolutely vital to the country’s financial recovery from this pandemic.

“Our platform solves a key problem for businesses – long, stressful applications and unexplained loan rejections, by using technology to closely match lenders to the needs of the business owners through one, intuitive digital process.”

Valiant Finance has helped over 90,000 businesses and accessed over $600 million in funding. It currently has a panel of over 80 lenders.

“Partnering with Qantas Business Rewards is a major step in our mission to help Aussie businesses get the finance they need to achieve their goals,” said Mr Molloy.

How will this work?

Members will be able to earn up to 50,000 points for business loans over $15,000. Members can use these Qantas Points on flights, car hire and hotels or redeem it on office tech, workplace tools and travel.

Qantas will have a ‘Business Loan Selector’ in its Qantas Business Rewards website, referring members to Valiant.

Members can compare rates, terms and fees of Valiant Finance’s 80 lenders. Valiant will connect members with a Valiant Finance specialist to assist with their loan application.

What does this mean for Qantas?

The partnership also opens up a new revenue stream for Qantas as a loan broker.

Throughout the pandemic, Qantas suffered major revenue setbacks. This year the airline reported a $2 billion loss, down from a $840 million profit last year.

“Providing our members with products and services that support the evolution and rapid digitisation of financial services will fuel the continued growth of Qantas Business Rewards and the recovery of the small business economy beyond COVID,” said Ms Wirth.

Through this partnership, Qantas collects a fee based on the amount of loans it refers.

Although Qantas has existing loan provider partners for specific industries, such as Credabl for medical professionals, this is the first partner that offers finance across all industries.

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Ann Wen

Ann Wen

Ann is a journalist at Dynamic Business.

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