PayPal acquires Swift Financial to expand its working capital program for small businesses

By Paul Sawers for VB

PayPal has announced plans to acquire Swift Financial, a company that provides cash advances and loans to small U.S. businesses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded out of Wilmington, Delaware, in 2006, Swift Financial serves to fund SMEs with lines of credit when banks won’t play ball, or when their processes are too long and laborious to meet a company’s instant cash-flow needs.

PayPal has offered a working capital program of its own since 2013 through which it lends money to small businesses — it has loaned more than $3 billion in the years since. PayPal actually has an existing commercial partnership with Swift Financial, but by taking the company under its wing it says it will be able to “better serve small businesses by enhancing our underwriting capabilities to provide access to affordable business financing solutions to more businesses to help them grow and thrive,” according to Darrell Esch, VP and general manager for SMB lending at PayPal.

Basically, Swift Financial’s technology will serve PayPal with additional data to garner a better understanding of a business’s strengths, in turn allowing PayPal to sell them add-on financial services.

“We know and value Swift’s technology platform and people, and we believe their talent and capabilities will further strengthen our overall merchant value proposition,” continued Esch.

PayPal is one of a number of tech companies that have opened up lending businesses to encourage spending. Amazon recently revealed that it had loaned SMEs $3 billion since the launch of Amazon Lending back in 2011, $1 billion of which came in the past year alone. And back in November, Jack Dorsey’s Square revealed it had passed $1 billion in loans after launching Square Capital in 2014.

Payment companies such as PayPal make money from transactions between merchants and customers, so it’s in PayPal’s interests if merchants are able to grow their businesses and increase sales. That is why it launched its lending program back in 2013, and that is why it is now ramping up its efforts with the acquisition of Swift Financial.

“Increasing access to capital is vital to the success of small businesses and is a strategic offering for PayPal, which drives merchants’ sales growth, increases processing volume, and reduces merchant churn,” added Esch.

Esch added that he expects the acquisition to be finalized later this year.