25 Digital-Only Banks to Watch

Check out this round up of digital banks from around the world and see how these pioneers are redefining the banking industry by connecting with a new generation of mobile-first consumers.

This list was compiled for one reason only: to provide readers like you with a convenient collection of resources that you can use to analyze digital banks and the products/services they offer. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but if you feel strongly that a firm is missing, you can leave us a comment (no emails, please).

What was the selection criteria? We only chose true online/digital-only banks with a unique brand that is marketed as a stand-alone solution. It has to be more than just a mobile app for a traditional bank; it has to be promoted as an alternative to branch-based banking. If the digital bank is linked to a branch network through its parent company, then branch access can not be celebrated as a main selling point (e.g., Capital One 360). After all, one of the fundamental strategies of a digital bank is to reduce costs by eliminating the brick-and-mortar channel.

We have not included online savings banks like Atom in the UK. We are only listing digital banks that offer checking/current accounts or the equivalent — a transactional account that is intended to take regular deposits and accommodate day-to-day spending/payments.

Only those digital banks that have officially launched publicly have been included, and the list is limited to financial institutions that conduct the bulk of their marketing in English.

Ally

Website: www.ally.com
Launched: 2010
Employees: 7,825
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: Interest-bearing online checking account, with no monthly maintenance fees, 24/7 live customer support, Zelle integration, and free ATMs on the Allpoint network.

B

Parent Company: Clydesdale Bank & Yorkshire Bank
Website: www.youandb.co.uk
Launched: 2016
Employees: n/a
HQ Location: United Kingdom
Notable Features: A current account that pays interest on balances up to £2,000, and an instant savings account. Offering both debit and credit cards, incorporating Touch ID, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Bank Mobile

Parent Company: Customers Bank
Website: www.bankmobile.com
Launched: 2015
Employees: 140
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: An all-digital checking account with mobile check deposit, P2P mobile payments, mobile photo bill pay, PFM tools, fee-free overdraft protection, and 0.75% APY on savings.

CBD Now

Parent Company: Commercial Bank of Dubai
Website: www.cbdnow.ae
Launched: 2016
Employees: n/a
HQ Location: UAE
Notable Features: Online account opening in five minutes, with a debit card hand-delivered within 24 hours.

Chime

Parent Company:
Website: www.chimebank.com
Launched: 2013
Employees: 46
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: Visa debit card, automatic savings program, no fees, real-time alerts and daily balance updates. Offers cashback rewards on purchases, and 1.75% on savings.

Digibank

Parent Company: DBS
Website: dbs.com/digibank
Launched: 2016
Employees: n/a
HQ Location: India
Notable Features: eWallet, mobile payments, mobile investments, “digisavings” and an AI-powered virtual assistant.

Fidor

Parent Company:
Website: www.fidorbank.uk
Launched: 2009
Employees: 75
HQ Location: Germany
Notable Features: A current account that pays interest rates influenced by Facebook likes, and an active “Smart Community” platform for discussing financial matters.

Finn

Parent Company: Chase
Website: chase.com/finnbank
Launched: 2017
Employees: n/a
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: Checking + savings tied to a prepaid debit card. Customers can use a phone to open an account, make deposits, issue checks, track spending and set up savings plans. Users can rate transactions.

First Direct

Parent Company: HSBC
Website: firstdirect.com
Launched: 1989
Employees: 691
HQ Location: United Kingdom
Notable Features: Arguably the first true “direct bank” on earth, and one of only a few worldwide to offer a full range of banking products including home loans, personal loans, investments and insurance.

GoBank

Parent Company: Green Dot
Website: www.gobank.com
Launched: 2013
Employees: 892
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: Online checkbook, “Fortune Teller” PFM tools, “Money Vault” savings, P2P transfers, and 40,000 free ATMs. Users can add money to their account at Walmart.

HelloBank

Parent Company: BNP Paribas
Website: www.hellobank.be
Launched: 2013
Employees: 184
HQ Location: Belgium
Notable Features: One of the largest and most sophisticated digital banks in Europe, offering a current account, insurance, loans, savings and brokerages services.

Koho

Parent Company:
Website: www.koho.ca
Launched: 2014
Employees: 38
HQ Location: Canada
Notable Features: Users can send transfers, pay bills, save automatically, use ATMs and manage their spending with PFM tools.

Loot

Parent Company:
Website: loot.io
Launched: 2016
Employees: 32
HQ Location: United Kingdom
Notable Features: A current account with contactless Loot Mastercard card that includes PFM-style savings goals and budgeting tools.

Mashreq Neo

Parent Company: Mashreq
Website: www.mashreqneo.com
Launched: 2017
Employees: n/a
HQ Location: UAE
Notable Features: Credit cards, debit cards, current accounts, personal loans, remittances, foreign currencies, global stock trading, gold trading, foreign currency investment capabilities, and the Neo Chatbot, which is integrated with Facebook Messenger. Customers can an account in less than five minutes with Mashreq Neo.

Monese

Parent Company:
Website: monese.com
Launched: 2013
Employees: 66
HQ Location: United Kingdom
Notable Features: Current account with a contactless prepaid debit card, free international payments, and PFM budgeting + savings tools.

Monzo

Parent Company:
Website: monzo.com
Launched: 2015
Employees: 184
HQ Location: United Kingdom
Notable Features: Real-time breakdown of spending habits, quick mobile money transfers, integration with other day-to-day tech like Uber.

Moven

Parent Company:
Website: moven.com
Launched: 2011
Employees: 40
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: Checking/current account with prepaid debit card, with PFM budgeting tools and advanced real-time alerts. Moven is now exploring platform-level partnerships with traditional institutions such as TD Bank in Canada.

N26

Parent Company:
Website: n26.com
Launched: 2013
Employees: 253
HQ Location: Germany
Notable Features: A checking account with debit card, digital money transfers, cash withdrawals at ATMs, and a rewards program. Changing a PIN, setting payment limits, and locking or unlocking functionality online and abroad.

Neat

Parent Company:
Website: www.neat.hk
Launched: 2015
Employees: 21
HQ Location: Hong Kong
Notable Features: P2P payments and PFM spending analysis tools. Manage all account and card settings within the app — setting or changing a PIN or blocking a card.

Pepper

Parent Company: Bank Leumi
Website: www.pepper.co.il
Launched: 2017
Employees: 60
HQ Location: Israel
Notable Features: One of the few digital banks that gives uses an actual checkbook (delivered by courier). Offers a credit card, “Pepper Pay”, a savings account, “Pepper Invest”, personal loans and PFM tools. The “Personal Feed” provides a dashboard summary of the account and recent transactions, and includes fun questionnaires and other articles.

Revolut

Parent Company:
Website: www.revolut.com
Launched: 2014
Employees: 220
HQ Location: United Kingdom
Notable Features: Contactless Mastercard with fee-free transactions in over 130 countries. Global payments and P2P transfers. Buy and exchange cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Simple

Parent Company: BBVA Compass
Website: www.simple.com
Launched: 2009
Employees: 343
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: One of the very first stand-alone digital-only banks in the U.S., offering a checking account alternative with robust PFM tools including savings goals, “Safe to Spend” reporting, and shared accounts.

Simplii

Parent Company: CIBC
Website: www.simplii.com
Launched: 2017
Employees: n/a
HQ Location: Canada
Notable Features: The digital-only arm of CIBC, offering a full suite of financial products to the consumer market — chequing, savings, home loans, investments and access to over 3,400 CIBC ATMs.

Starling

Parent Company:
Website: www.starlingbank.com
Launched: 2014
Employees: 114
HQ Location: United Kingdom
Notable Features: A mobile-only bank account with “Pulse” at-a-glance account updates, savings goals, PFM tools, real-time alerts, and robust security tools including TouchID.

Tangerine

Parent Company: Scotiabank
Website: www.tangerine.ca
Launched: 1997
Employees: 1,071
HQ Location: Canada
Notable Features: The world’s first mainstream direct bank to be launched on a digitally native platform. Initially known purely as an online savings account, Tangerine (ne: ING Direct Canada) has expanded well beyond its roots — chequing, credit cards, home loans, home equity lending, RSP loans, investments, RSPs and RIFs.

USAA

Parent Company:
Website: www.usaa.com
Launched: 1922
Employees: n/a
HQ Location: United States
Notable Features: USAA is one of the most unique and unusual financial institutions on earth. They are a member-based organization exclusive to the U.S. military (active and retired) and their families. They only have one “branch” serving roughly 7 million accounts. Through USAA Federal Savings Bank, members can access their accounts by mobile device, mail or phone — similar to First Direct in the UK.

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This article was originally published on January 8, 2018. All content © 2018 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

Comments

  1. Ian James says:

    Most of these aren’t exactly ‘digital only banks’ at all, but simply a department of an existing bank masquerading as digital bank. Other than Fidor, there is no differentiation across any of them, and some such as Starling, all talk and bluster with very little value. Most of these are entireness pointless. And as ‘Open Banking’ initiatives are launched in the UK, I guarantee, that like the heavily advertised and Government endorsed current accounting switching initiative (4 million out of 80 million accounts have ‘Switched’), it will be a dismal failure.

  2. Which is why, Ian, that these are all digital banks to watch.

  3. Ali Cem Cenker says:

    Enpara.com of Turkey….

  4. Enpara.com is not in English.

  5. Michael Bagniewski says:

    You forgot VARO Money. They have a nice app, offer savings and personal loan products. The debit card was delivered to me via overnight FedEx delivery, for no additional fee. Check them out.

  6. Juls Muncal says:

    Which of these banks allow a customer to open an account purely online or straight-thru processing, meaning no need to go to a bank-branch for fulfillment of other account-opening requirements?

  7. Great question Juls.

  8. I am biased, but I suggest that you include Bank of Internet (NASDAQ BofI). The roots of BofI digital banking go back to 1994 (see

    https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/07/22/how-bofi-holding-revolutionized-the-banking-indust.aspx

    BofI today is a single office digital bank with a full complement of banking products.

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