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What are challenger banks?

challenger banks

Over the past year, so-called challenger banks and neobanks have been making headlines by attracting big venture capital investments.

Those banks prove us that banking can be digital only. Let’s check the most outstanding challenger banks and neobanks in Europe!

Challenger Banks are “a new breed of technology-driven and customer-centric financial institutions”. Those banks offer cheaper, faster, customer-oriented financial products that have helped disrupt the industry.

1. UK Revolut

Launched back in 2015, Revolut is one of the largest challenger banks in the market. In March 2019 they reported they had hit 4.5 million customers, with 1.6 million being UK-based. They are one of the only challengers to allow customers to exchange money into cryptocurrencies and even a cashback with any purchase made on the Metal card.

2. Ireland. Fire

Thanks to their API it helps businesses to manage payments with digital accounts since 2009. It also supports a range of payment and financial services.

3. Germany. N26

N26 offers smart, flexible banking from your phone. Open a free bank account in minutes to get a contactless Mastercard and manage your money on-the-go. It has 3.5 million customers across 26 markets.

4. Netherlands. Bunq

Bunq was founded in 2015 in Amsterdam for both private and businesses accounts. Now it offers online financial services through the application online. Its users can request money from friends, split bills, and make payments in real time.

5. France. Nickel

Nickel is an alternative French banking service founded in 2014. Customers manage their accounts through a mobile app.

6.Belgium. Anytime

Founded in 2012 Belgium financial Startup Anytime offers to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals current accounts debit cards and other financial services.

7. Switzerland. Neon

Neon it is a fintech startup from Switzerland that offer to its users easy digital banking solution with fairer prices and no base fees for the account and card.

8.Spain. Bnext

Bnext is a fintech platform headquartered in Madrid, Spain.Bnext is the first supermarket for financial products, it reflects a new way of banking that challenges traditional banking from its foundations. With Bnext users can do almost everything they do with a bank, without having to use a bank.

9. Portugal: Banco BNI Europa

Founded in 2014, Banco BNI Europa offers digital low-cost banking platform and innovative banking products to its users. Their competitive advantage is strategic collaboration with other Financial Startups and organizations

10. Italy: Hype

First challenger bank launched in Italy by Italian Bank allows to its users to send and receive money at zero costs and use prepaid card.

11. Norway: Aprila Bank

Aprila bank also provides personal savings accounts as well as does invoice financing. Its competitive advantage are functions like data-driven credit risk management and an innovative distribution model.

12. Finland: Holvi

Holvi helps mainly entrepreneurs and freelances to run effectively their businesses providing them with invoicing option and bookkeeping.

13. Denmark: Lunar

Lunar Startup is popular in Denmark, Sweden and Norway within business accounts and individuals. It allows to transfer money and pay bills. It also has launched its travel card – and the chance to experience the world without fees.

14. Sweden: Klarna

Sweden financial institution currently works with more than 3,000 U.S. retailers. Globally, it serves more than 60 million consumers, has 130,000 merchant partners, conducts 1 million transactions daily and is close to $1 billion in annual revenue, according to the company. In the U.S. company focuses on loan offerings. It plans now to conquer New Zealand and Australia.

Challenger Banks have had quite the success in the past year, revolutionizing the way banking is viewed. Traditional financial institutions aren’t asleep at the switch when it comes to these new kinds of banks. They are launching digital banks of their own that could pose a threat to independent challenger startups. What do you think about this battle? If you have your question, please write it below, I would be glad to answer your questions or to introduce your project to my team at Astorts Group to be evaluated.

Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur and investor based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the Ceo of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) Approved Person and is has great experience as director of regulated companies. He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their life. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.


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