Digital finance, using alternative data, offers an extraordinary opportunity for expanding access to finance for small businesses. Every time small businesses and their customers use cloud-based services, conduct banking transactions, make or accept digital payments, browse the internet, use their mobile phones, engage in social media, buy or sell electronically, ship packages, or manage their receivables, payables, and recordkeeping online, they create digital footprints. This real-time, and verified data can be mined to determine both capacity and willingness to repay loans. A rapidly growing crop of technology-focused SME lenders are putting the use of SME digital data, customer needs, and advanced analytics at the center of their business models, setting forth new blueprints for disrupting the SME lending status quo.
Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance is a flagship report that considers the opportunities alternative data presents to narrow the financing gap for SMEs. It takes stock of the range of data, and the range of institutions using the data to provide financial services to SMEs. It also notes the new issues and potential risks raised by this massive increase and diversification of data supply to financial sector stability, and to consumer protection; and offers some considerations for policy makers.