Top 10 Finance Apps
Few things showcase the growing power of fintech quite like consumer-facing apps. Here we take a look at 10 of the most exciting from around the world
10 | M-Pesa
Initially released in 2007 by Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom, M-Pesa enables anyone in its operational territories with a mobile phone to access financial services. With a presence in Africa, southeastern Europe and India, M-Pesa has made huge strides in the financial enablement of the unbanked as well as cutting financial crime rates in cash-based societies. Customers can use the service to send and receive money, deposit and withdraw money, and pay for goods and services. As of 2019, M-Pesa had 37 million active users, around 400,000 agents, and seven operational markets.
HQ: Nairobi, Kenya (Safaricom)
Executive: Michael Joseph (CEO, Safaricom)
9 | Finch
Seeking to ‘rebuild the future of finance’, Finch has grown to become the top personal finance app in Australia. Its built in Finchsights feature keeps track of and compartmentalises spending habits, whilst also offering the option to compare with friends. On the business side, merchants can leverage Finch to add personalisation to the customer experience, incorporating data analytics to drive transaction clarity, the ability to split payment between merchants, and the potential to “get paid faster than ever”.
HQ: Melbourne, Australia
Executive: Shahirah Gardner (CEO)
8 | Venmo
Currently only available in the US, PayPal’s Venmo app offers a seamless option to send and request money from friends along with being inserted as a payment option for payment in other mobile apps. Capable of linking a user with their friends through contacts books, Facebook accounts, phone numbers and email addresses, Venmo streamlines an otherwise cumbersome process. Splitting dinner bills, reminding a friend that they still owe money for a festival ticket, and restocking with Poké balls has never been easier.
HQ: New York, US
Executive: Dan Schulman
7 | Alipay
Owned by Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese ecommerce and tech titan Alibaba, online and mobile payments platform Alipay has revolutionised transactions in Asia and beyond. Following expansions out of its native China to Japan, Australasia, Europe, Russia, and much of Asia, Alipay has been enabling Chinese tourism by ensuring they can access a clear and straightforward payment option that transcends language and cultural barriers. In 2019, Alipay partnered with Australian food and travel platform HarkHark to bring free mobile translation for Chinese tourists at Australian restaurants, boosting both their experience and opening new revenue streams for restaurants involved in the initiative.
HQ: Hangzhou, China
Executive: Simon Hu (CEO, Ant Financial)
6 | Liv Bank
As the neobank arm of Emirates NBD, the UAE’s leading bank, Liv has rapidly gained momentum as the region’s challenger of choice. As well as offering the functionality and ease of use common to its European contemporaries, Liv’s app features an intelligent chatbot that can intuitively provide information and advice about a customer’s bank activity, the ability to send money via social media, and an array of promotions and exclusive offers for local events that seek to personalise the banking experience.
HQ: Dubai, UAE
Executive: Jayesh Patel (Head)
5 | Revolut
Talk of the democratisation of money and improved accessibility for the unbanked have been key factors in the rise of cryptocurrencies, but the process of acquiring such currencies can appear convoluted and risky. Nervousness around such things will be greatly quelled by the ease of Revolut’s crypto exchange capabilities, enabling users to immediately and easily exchange state currencies into Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and XRP with real-time rates and the option to track individual cryptocurrency values via push notifications. As Revolut is a neobank, the feature naturally comes under a deeply user-friendly and intuitive UI.
HQ: London, UK
Executive: Nikolay Storonky (CEO)
4 | Robinhood
Trading on the stock market has always had a high barrier to entry; the endlessly convoluted charts and trackers referring to companies you might never have heard of by monikers that bear no relation to them is just one unfriendly component. Even for the brave souls who have read a manual on such things, the inherent risk coupled with such fine details has always been enough to dissuade this writer. Robinhood is seeking to change that. Having accrued 10 million customers in its native US, the app demystifies the trading process with an intuitive UI that caters to the uninitiated, lacks commission and FX fees, and can have you up and running with your first stocks for as little as £1.
HQ: California, US
Executive: Vlad Tenev (CEO)
3 | N26
Having accrued 3.5 million customers across 26 countries since its launch in 2013, German neobank N26 stands apart from its UK-based competitors with an extensive premium account offering. While many neobanks champion the ease of international spending through their accounts, N26’s Metal service offers an extensive range of benefits that frequent travelers would find genuinely useful. For €16.90/month, N26 Metal offers unlimited free withdrawals from ATMs worldwide, priority customer support, cover for cancellations, medical expenses, lost luggage and delays, significantly cheaper LoungeKey access at participating airports, and a host of travel discounts that would always be worth checking. Included in the latter portion of this offering are, among many others, a day’s free access each month to any WeWork location in the world, 20-30% off IHG hotel bookings, and 25% off an annual subscription to physical-to-digital mail forwarding service Caya.
HQ: Berlin, Germany
Executive: Valentin Stalf (CEO)
2 | Monzo
A resounding hit among digitally-savvy Millennials, Monzo has captured its market through a focus on simplicity and consistent functionality. An interesting diversion from the norm, and a service that emblematises the nascent capabilities of this new breed of bank, is the ability for account holders to be paid their salary a day early through a “no cost, no hassle” advance fronted by Monzo. Along with easing the burden of a long month and looming bills, the neobank also offers an in-app energy switching service with options hand-picked for their use of renewable electricity sources as standard.
HQ: London, UK
Executive: Tom Blomfield (CEO)
1 | Starling
Togetherness, elegance, flexibility and an inherent sense of excitement; a murmuration of starlings is an evocative sight. Such qualities are easy to identify in Starling Bank’s branding and offering, with the leading neobank providing all the hallmarks of modern banking which, ultimately, place the customer at the heart of decision-making while providing them with the tools to better control their finances and accounts. An intriguing element of Starling’s proposition is the ability to deposit money into an account via any UK Post Office, effectively yielding 11,500 branches for an otherwise entirely digital bank. Blurring the line between traditional and neobanking is a powerful tool in a financial world where most consumers are still very much in transition.
HQ: London, UK
Executive: Anne Boden (CEO)