The latest curse of the Insta generation has been revealed. How many of us while away hours on Insta or Pinterest, collating our lists of must-haves (guilty as charged!)? Coats, shoes, home decor, kids Christmas presents… now digital banks have apparently joined the list.
Figures from digital media agency equimedia, reveal that searches for “switching bank account” have seen significant recent increases, while new fintech banking providers, such as Monzo and Atom Bank, are seeing increased demand.
There has been encouragement from the Financial Conduct Authority for people to switch bank accounts since the switching service was streamlined four years ago, but once translated into real figures it’s actually not that much. Over the last four years, more than four million UK bank accounts have been transferred out of an estimated 65 million active current accounts – just over 6 per cent.
In the last year particularly, with online banking and new payment methods such as Apple Pay transforming the sector, fintech banks look well placed to take advantage of growing consumer interest.
As with the endless Insta and Pinterest lists, though, it’s important to try to translate this interest into real action, which is where switching banks often falls down.
Andrew Burgess, CEO and founder of equimedia, said: “It’s no surprise that consumers have shown a strong interest in these new innovative banking services, given changing consumer habits and online banking increasingly taking over as the primary channel to manage how we budget, save, shop and pay our bills.”
If you’re interested in switching to a fintech bank, here are our top five (but don’t forget Triodos, which has just launched the UK’s first sustainable current account – not exactly a fintech challenger but as the bank says itself, a challenger to the big banks, for sure).
Monzo says it is a bank “built for your smartphone”. It will update your balance instantly, send intelligent notifications and is easy to use. You can download the app now and join their waiting list for a prepaid card. They’ve just announced a new load of funding to roll out their full current account, having grown their customer base to nearly 500,000.
Monzo’s main competitor positions itself as a UK mobile-only bank and already offers debit debits, faster payments and a Mastercard (not pre-paid). In the same way to Monzo it offers real-time spending updates and a ‘goals’ feature. Both offer great rates for spending abroad and ATM withdrawals vs the high street banks.
Atom is one of the first fintech/ mobile banks and claims to offer ‘intuitive banking’. Will.i.am is the poster boy, so you can see the target market.
Revolut is a secure, mobile-based current account that allows you to hold, exchange and transfer money without fees in 25 different currencies.
Tandem is still building its offer but already offers a (limited access) prepaid card and a credit card, as well as a number of mobile features to track your spending and inform your savings habits.