Bounce Back Loans: you asked, we answer

Sea fishing, Anglesey. Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

First published: 2 June 2020
Updated: 10 June 2020

Since 19 May, we’ve been offering Bounce Back Loans, through the Government-backed support scheme for small businesses negatively affected by coronavirus.

This scheme is brand new for everyone: the Government, small business owners, and the financial services companies who are offering the loans. Naturally, our members have lots of questions. We’ve answered many of them in our FAQs about Bounce Back Loans and our CEO has explained what’s been happening behind the scenes at Tide in his letters to all members:
Tide Bounce Back Loans / Update 2 / A letter to all members
Tide Bounce Back Loans / Update 1 / A letter to all members

Here are answers to more questions you’ve been asking us via social media and our in-app messaging service.

You said you’re prioritising existing customers and by age of business. How does this work with the waiting list?

In the first few days we were able to offer Bounce Back Loans, we beta-tested them just as we’d do with any new feature or product. We did this by offering loans to a small group made up of a selection of limited companies who are long-standing Tide members. Testing was important so we could make sure the technology we’d built worked properly and members could easily follow the steps to self-certify and withdraw their loan.

For roll-out after beta-testing, we reviewed various options and concluded that the fair thing to do is to operate on a first-come first-served basis: we’re assessing registrants according to when you registered on the waiting list.

Read more: Why aren’t you prioritising people for a Bounce Back Loan based on how urgently they need the loan?

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is a Government initiative open to all eligible small businesses. We believe it isn’t fair to discriminate against new customers so that’s why any small business owner can still apply for an account with us, and if they wish, register their interest in getting a Tide Bounce Back Loan.

Almost 90% of the businesses on our waiting list are existing rather than new members.

Tide Premium members already get a Flexible Balance and some have a Credit Line. Do they automatically get a Bounce Back Loan? They’re paying for Premium service so why don’t they get priority?

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is a Government initiative open to all eligible small businesses. We decided the most fair thing to do was to offer Bounce Back Loans to as many businesses as we can. That’s why we’re not prioritising people for loans based on what Tide membership they have. 

The monthly charge for Plus and Premium membership is for an enhanced service to support your growing business and for extra perks you don’t get with our free basic membership.

Read more: Why aren’t you prioritising people for a Bounce Back Loan based on how urgently they need the loan?

Why aren’t you prioritising people for a Bounce Back Loan based on how urgently they need the loan?

This would have been ideal. Unfortunately there are so many businesses in difficulty and we don’t want to delay lending by building a method to assess who is more in need.

We know how important these loans are for all businesses who’ve registered interest and we believe that the fairest and fastest process is to work through the waiting list.

How can I find out where I am on the waiting list?

The waiting list works like a queue, everyone who registers is listed in the order you signed up. We’re working hard to get through the list as fast as we can and we’ll contact you when you can access a Bounce Back Loan. We’ll also let you know if you’re not eligible.

We’re building an online tracker so you’ll be able to easily review your status. We need to build and test this tracker system and we hope it will be live before mid June. 

We’ve been letting people know their place on the list, however this is a manual short-term solution and many members have been asking for daily updates. This is causing delays in our response times and leaving members frustrated that we’re not going as fast as they’d like. You’ll soon be able to check your status with our tracker so it would be helpful if you could support us by messaging only with queries about using your Tide account or withdrawing your loan when we’ve offered one to you.

If I’m not eligible, will you tell me? 

Yes – we’re working on this right now. We know this is important so you can make alternative plans if you need to. In the next two weeks, we’ll begin emailing members if we won’t be able to offer a Bounce Back Loan.

When will I get a loan from Tide? I need a loan right now.

We want to let you know exactly when you can expect to get a Bounce Back Loan from us. So far we haven’t been able to predict dates because offering these loans is completely new to us and there are many variables. Instead of disappointing you, we asked you to wait. 

We know you need more certainty, but as with all other lenders, getting a Bounce Back Loan depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • Government rules on eligibility
  • checks including anti-fraud and Know Your Customer (KYC)
  • limits on lending set by the British Business Bank
  • raising money to finance the loans 

When you look at this process as a whole, it isn’t as simple as flicking a switch. The Tide team is working round the clock to align these factors to offer loans to as many of you as possible, as fast as possible. 

Because of these factors, we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to offer a Bounce Back Loan to everyone on our waiting list. We stated this on the webpage where you registered your interest.

If you need a loan and can’t wait, you can also apply or join waiting lists with other lenders. This is because you don’t ‘apply’ for a Bounce Back Loan with Tide, you join our waiting list. (Remember, you can only have one Bounce Back Loan.)

How is Tide funding these Bounce Back loans? Isn’t it Government money?

Great question! The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is 100% guaranteed by the Government. ‘Guaranteed’ means that if the lender doesn’t collect the loan, then the Government has to reimburse the lender. It doesn’t mean the money is given to lenders by the Government.

All loans that we provide through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme are funded by Tide and not the Government. This means we have to raise the money we lend through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Then we lend it to members, up to a limit set by the British Business Bank.

Because the Government guarantees the loans, they need to have control over how much all accredited lenders are lending. When we reach our lending limit, we re-apply to the British Business Bank for an increase so we can continue lending. 

I registered interest on the first day. Why aren’t I nearer the front of the queue?

After we launched the registration page on our website, we emailed all Tide members to let them know. Within the first day we had more than 15,000 registrations, so if you signed up on the first day or two, that’s why there are thousands of people ahead of you in the queue.

How do I remove myself from the waiting list?

If you’ve applied for a Bounce Back Loan elsewhere, or you no longer want a Bounce Back Loan from Tide, it’d be helpful if you could let us know. Message us by email (hello@tide.co) or in the app and we’ll remove you from the list.

Your website said we have to be ‘pre-approved’ for a Tide Bounce Back Loan. What does this mean and why are you no longer using this phrase?

When we launched our Bounce Back Loans, we said that after you registered your interest, you’d get a notification if we were ‘pre-approving’ you for a loan. We decided this was confusing – it’s a phrase we use internally at Tide but it’s not a normal expression that makes sense to everyone – so we stopped using it. 

‘Pre-approved’ just means that based on the information we already have about you, we can offer you a loan subject to you successfully completing the self-certification questions. It’s as straightforward as that. If we need any extra information from you, we’ll be in touch.

Bounce Back Loans from all lenders are self-certifiable – you have to confirm your eligibility for the loan, for example by confirming that your business has been negatively affected by coronavirus. 

Based on the current amount Tide has available to lend, how many more Bounce Back Loans do you expect to deliver? You say you’re lending in batches – how often are new batches created and how many are in each batch?

We aim to offer a Bounce Back Loan to everyone who registered with us who is eligible. We’re currently scaling up to deliver hundreds of millions of pounds in loans.

Next week – the second week of June – Oliver, our CEO, will write to all members again with an update on our lending. We’ll continue to write these updates regularly. 

Update: You can now read Oliver’s letter:
Tide Bounce Back Loans / Update 2 / A letter to all members

Remember, we’re aiming to offer loans to as many of you as possible – but we can’t promise that we’ll be able to do this. To find out more about the various factors that affect our lending, read the FAQ: When will I get a loan from Tide? I need a loan right now. 

Read more: How is Tide funding these Bounce Back loans? Isn’t it Government money?

You said you’ve been getting many more messages and calls than normal. What are you doing to answer all the queries?

We’ve increased our Member Support team to make sure we can respond to all members who need our help, whether you’re asking about the loans or anything else about using Tide.

As well as hiring more staff and training them quickly, we reorganised our priorities so that Tideans (our word for Tide staff) from across the company were able to jump in to help our Member Support team. 

We’re working 24/7. Because we’re working remotely to comply with coronavirus guidelines, there are more of us able to help and for more hours. It’s not just Member Support who are working 24/7, our Credit team is working weekends, bank holidays and evenings to get loan offers out to you.

I’ve seen some abusive posts on social media. What is Tide doing about that?

We know this is a stressful time and many people are within days or weeks of losing their businesses. The majority of the 40,000+ people on our waiting list have been very patient. We appreciate this and we’re working as fast as we can. 

We support free speech but if anyone posts messages that are abusive, wrong or threatening, we’ll take steps to address this and protect our staff.

Some of you have told us that some lenders appear to be prioritising customers who are vocal on social media. We believe the fairest way to work is in order through our waiting list – voicing impatience or frustration on social media doesn’t make someone a higher priority for a loan than everyone else.

Have any businesses already received Bounce Back Loans from Tide?

Yes, we’ve offered Bounce Back Loans to a large number of members and the majority of them have already withdrawn from their loan offer. 

We want to be open and clear about what’s happening so next week (second week of June), Oliver, our CEO, will write to everyone again with an update on our lending with as much information as possible. 

Update: You can now read Oliver’s letter:
Tide Bounce Back Loans / Update 2 / A letter to all members

Are you prioritising limited companies over sole traders?

The beta-test members who first received Tide Bounce Back Loans were limited companies. When we announced this, we’re sorry if this was confusing and it seemed like we’d offered loans to all limited companies who’d registered. Our small beta-test batch were owners of limited companies who had been Tide members for a while.

Since then, the Government has made changes to the law about Bounce Back Loans so that all accredited lenders can lend to sole traders as well as limited companies. We’re delighted about this update to the rules because we know it’ll help so many of you who’ve told us you’ve ‘fallen down the cracks’ of the support from the Government. We’re now working on making the loans available to our sole trader members as soon as possible.

Read more

If the answer to your query isn’t covered in this post, take a look at our FAQs about Bounce Back Loans. And in case you missed it, read our CEO’s letter to all members (published on 22 May) where Oliver explains what’s been happening behind the scenes at Tide.

Update: Read Oliver’s most recent letter:
Tide Bounce Back Loans / Update 2 / A letter to all members

Have your say

How is the coronavirus affecting you and your small business? We’re keen to hear from you – get in touch with us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

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Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

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