Top 10 digital banks
The global banking landscape is changing. Technology changes the way money is managed, dozens of digital-only alternatives to traditional banking have sprung up. Fintech Magazine presents its list of the Top 10 digital banks challenging the financial status quo.
10 | Neat
Part of a new wave of digital banks springing up in Honk Kong, Neat was founded in 2015 by David Rosa and Igor Wos. While the bank offers a personal current account service, which contains an option for a prepaid Mastercard aimed at users travelling abroad, Neat’s flagship service is its business account. Offering corporate Mastercards with competitive exchange rates, budget management software and transaction recording for expensing purposes, the Neat Business account is principally aimed at startups and SMEs, aiming to provide a versatile alternative to establishment national business banking options.
9 | Doconomy
The youngest and smallest online bank on the Top 10 list, Doconomy was founded in 2018 and operates from offices based in Stockholm, Sweden. Billed as a mobile banking service for everyday climate action, Doconomy helps its users understand the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. Its first solution, DO, was launched last year and is the world’s first credit card that allows users to track their carbon impact and compensate by investing in sustainable, positive impact projects. “We want to enable and encourage behavioral change. It should be easy to manage consumption and savings, as well as choose a more sustainable lifestyle,” says Doconomy CEO, Nathalie Green.
8 | Nubank
The leading fintech in Latin America, Nubank, is headquartered in São Paulo. The company launched its first product, a fee-free credit card, in 2014 and now has over 6mn users. To date, Nubank has raised in excess of US$420mn, including $180mn from Chinese internet giant Tencent in October 2018. The Tencent investment pushed Nubank’s valuation beyond $4bn, making it the third Latin American company in history to achieve unicorn status.
7 | N26
Founded in 2013 as Number 26, today the German digital bank and card provider has over 26mn users in 24 markets across the UK and Eurozone, with plans to enter the US market in 2019. N26 has raised more than $500mn from the world’s most established investors, including Insight Venture Partners, GIC and Tencent. Like most cutting-edge digital banks, N26 offers its users an online current account with an intuitive app, money management solutions and fee-free foreign currency withdrawals.
6 | Up
Founded in 2017, Up Banking is based in Melbourne Australia, and was designed, developed and delivered through a collaboration between Ferocia and Bendigo Bank. As standard, Up offers a standard card and current account service. Where the bank excels is in its financial insights, which are designed to give its users complete clarity on where and when they spend their money. From location, time and recipient identity, Up creates month by month spend analysis and insights for its users.
5 | Tangerine
Tangerine Bank, a subsidiary of ScotiaBank (the third-largest financial institution in Canada), was acquired in 2012, making it one of the oldest digital banks on the Top 10 list. Due to the backing of a larger traditional bank, Tangerine offers users a wider range of services than the traditionally specialised offerings from independent banks. A money back credit card, low-fee investing, business accounts, chequing accounts, GICs, Mortgages and tax-free savings accounts are among a few of the products on offer.
4 | Starling Bank
Based in the UK, Starling Bank was founded in 2014 by former Allied Irish Banks COO, Anne Boden. Setting itself up in opposition to other digital banking heavyweights like Monzo and Revolut, Starling has quickly racked up a number of awards for its slick service - winning Best British Bank, Best Current Account and Best Business Banking Provider 2019. Starling also specialises in business with the Eurozone, allowing users access to a free Euro account.
3 | Revolut
Founded in the UK by Russian entrepreneurs Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut is one of the leading faces of UK challenger banking, achieving Unicorn status in April 2018. Its online service allows users to convert money into 24 currencies, up to £5,000 a month, as well as use money management tools and engage in cryptocurrency trading. Revolut is currently pursuing or recently acquiring banking licences in the UK, US and Russia.
2 | Chime
Headquartered in San Francisco, the capital of the US West Coast’s fintech economy, Chime is leading the campaign to provide Americans with quicker, easier banking options than those offered by traditional banks. Because Chime deposits salaries and other payments immediately into consumer accounts once it receives notification of a pending deposit, users of its service can reportedly receive money two days faster than through traditional banks. Earlier this year, Chime closed a $200mn funding round and reportedly plans to use funds to continue its rapid growth, as well as introduce new products in the credit and lending space over the course of 2019.
1 | Monzo
Among the UK’s leading challenger banks, Monzo offers everything you’d expect from a digital bank - a well-designed app, free international payments, money management advice, etc. The company has also placed its vibrant, coral pink cards into the hands of over 1mn users, and by February 2018 over £2bn had been spent through the bank. In May, Monzo launched its new, Monzo Plus product as part of a campaign to make 2019 the company’s most feature-packed year to date. Co-founder and CEO, Tom Blomfield said: “We want to finish 2019 with a whole host of new features that make people say “I can’t believe banks haven’t always done it this way.” And over the next year, teams across the company are going to work on actually building those features.”