What a strong few weeks it’s been for digital banking. At a time when former Barclays CEO said traditional financial institutions are having their “Uber moment”, the challenger banks who have created the moment are continuing to go from strength to strength.
First Atom Bank, the digital channel only bank which is due to launch next year, secured a £45m investment from BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank. The following week three digital banks around the world received their regulatory licences and raised significant funds.
And now, another digital bank, Number26 is expanding its services across Europe. The bank, which offers financial services only on a smartphone device, will be available in France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, and Spain immediately.
— NUMBER26 (@number26de) December 3, 2015
Founded in 2013, the Berlin-based FinTech startup partners with Wirecard Bank AG, which is regulated under German law, to offer their services. These include the ability to create an account in eight minutes and can be completed directly on the smartphone.The account links with a MasterCard that can be used worldwide to make purchases or receive cash at ATMs without incurring fees.
There are obvious perks that come with offering a smartphone banking service. Customers can send money to people via text or email. After every transaction the user receives an instant push notification to stay in full control of their money. Number26 technology also has a personal finance management feature that helps users keep an eye on their expenditure.
“Our vision from the start has been to build Europe‘s first bank account for the smartphone.We see traditional banks as having failed to adapt to the demands of the digital generation. The response to Number26 has been fantastic and we‘re thrilled to expand to further markets,” said CEO and founder Valentin Stalf.
The expansion brings the total number of countries where Number26 is active to eight, following its initial launch in Germany and Austria earlier this year.
“The markets we chose to enter now are perfect examples of a bad user experience and overpriced retail banking products. It’s here where we start to build the first true pan-European bank. The problems affecting banks in Europe, such as bureaucracy, outdated technology and inefficient structures, are well present in those markets. Thus the timing couldn‘t be better for a digital solution to banking,” said CFO and founder Maximilian Tayenthal.
Starling Bank has become the first digital-only bank to join the Faster Payments Scheme as a direct participant. Traditionally, new bank entrants join the scheme via a sponsor, or another bank.
Marca Wosoba, Head of International Development at World First, looks at the changes and disruptions in the financial sector, and identifies the importance of strategic partnerships.
Fresh off securing $63m in funding and appointing a new CFO, the Stockholm-based provider of contactless and mobile card readers has partnered with China's payments giant, UnionPay, on increasing card acceptance for European SMEs.