Barclays is helping retailers get easier and quicker access to finance with a mobile app offering loans for businesses in less than an hour.

The launch follows research by the banking giant into small businesses and their attitude to loans, which found that almost two thirds of small businesses could grow their turnover with the help of a loan, but are not applying.

Barclays hopes the app will take some of the stress of lending out for small business owners and boost growth.

We asked three retailers how they funded improvements to their store:

Vip Panchmatia“We do use loans and lending services, but it is very difficult dealing with banks online, they need all sorts of information before they even consider an application and it puts people off. If Barclays are doing something like this then it should be welcomed. It was much easier in the good old days, you’d work with your bank manager and have a relationship – nowadays it’s all done via computers and you’ve lost that personal touch.”

Vip Panchmatia, The Wharf, Stroud, Gloucestershire

Peter Robinson“It’s important to sit down and discuss any substantial loan with a professional business manager. If it’s just working capital then maybe an app is fine to do it with. But if you need more, nothing beats the discussions with your business manager. It’s important to have a relationship with them, if they don’t understand your business and you don’t know what they want, then it won’t work for either of you.”

Peter Robinson, Premier Castle Stores, Dyfed, Pembrokeshire

Mark & Sam Coldbeck“This could be a good thing, but I’d strike a note of caution as well. I wouldn’t want them to lead retailers into debt. In the early days, we borrowed against the business, but we haven’t used lending services for a while. If we need to invest now, we wait until we’ve got the money in the bank and we build it into our figures. For new businesses, it’s important to have funds readily available, so from that point of view it’s great.”

Sam Coldbeck, Wharfedale Premier, Hull