It is starting to get to the point now where more and more stories come out seemingly weekly about yet another banking scandal. Another data breach… Another notch toward the impending collapse in trust of the traditional high street bank. Step forward, the alternative banking apps.
It’s now becoming a well known fact that Millennials are not only part of the future but also a large part of the “now”, too. The oldest of the millennial category are now reaching their 40s; a very large proportion of the UK population is now within this demographic and the tendency of this demographic is to try new, innovative and “disruptive” technologies to help them improve their lives. Now, in an era of further distrust by banks; there are online alternatives sprouting up all over the place to try and claim their slices of this massive market.
Disrupting the trend
Like Purple Bricks is doing for the housing industry, AirBnb did for the travel industry and now apps such as Revolut, Monzo and Atom (to name a small few) are doing for the banking industry, it’s all about that word “disruption”. We are entering an age where old institutions that are slow to adapt to changing market environments are being hit by high tech alternatives. But what is so attractive about these apps and why are people preferring to move away from the larger, more traditional banks in favour of these small Fintech startups that seemingly don’t have a large amount of credibility?
It’s all about trust
You don’t need me to tell you about the massive financial crash that saw thousands of people suffer across the country whilst bankers were still paid their large bonuses. Pile that in with stories of data breaches, libor rate scandals and a general feeling of distrust among all of the major institutions, consumers are starting to turn their back. And they’re doing so by moving – in their droves – to these Fintech disruptors. The trade-off? Lack of credibility is made up for by ease of access, transparency of service and a general feeling of “let’s try something new for a change”.
But with this in mind, these Fintech alternatives mean serious business, too. It only takes a quick Google search to learn that Revolut has grown with massive strides; hitting 2 million users as of June 2018 and there’s no looking back either. They have recently managed to raise $338m over 10 rounds to start cementing themselves as a real alternative to the larger high street banks – they mean serious business. As do the many other Fintech alternatives out there already aforementioned.
It’s not totally over
One thing to note however is that many people aren’t absolutely ditching their loyalties with the Barclay’s and Lloyd’s of this world just yet – many people with a Fintech banking account still hold on to their main current accounts with the mainstream banks. You will also be wrong to think that the larger banks are just rolling over and letting this happen without a fight, too.
Most of the institutions now have their own banking apps that makes it much easier for you to manage your accounts via your smartphone – which is seemingly the way that everything appears to be moving nowadays. The interesting milestone to keep an eye out for is when people do start completely leaving their high street banks for a Fintech alternative and completely severing their ties with big corporate banks.
Conversational aspects are so important to an increasing number of people and this is shown by the many different apps that are available to connect to your Facebook Messenger account. Plum, among many others, is a savings account that connects to your bank account and your Facebook Messenger account. Using your spending history and commands that you give it through Messenger, it uses an algorithm to work out safe amounts to take from your bank account and deposit into a savings account. You then receive daily updates via a Facebook message and can withdraw or deposit more through Facebook, too.
This shows that to facilitate a change, you don’t even need to provide a mobile app. It seemed that the large institutions had mortgages and credit cards as their saving grace but even that doesn’t seem too likely anymore with online mortgage providers and credit card companies also appearing in the Fintech space, making the need to stroll into your high street branch even less necessary. How are these banks going to combat this? Time will soon tell.