Neobanked - 020 Moving in Tandem

Global expansion and product closures.

Throughout 2020 I’ll be publishing a newsletter called Neobanked. Issue 020 is below and you can subscribe here. Any thoughts or ideas are always welcome, get in touch!

Welcome to Neobanked, a newsletter focused on the quickly evolving UK digital banking market. I hope to gather enough interesting tidbits and news to share this every two weeks.

For me, Neobanks are digital-only offerings that apply internet economics (i.e. zero marginal costs) to the banking sector. My focus will be on companies such as Monzo, Revolut, and Starling.

Through this newsletter I hope to cover each of these companies as they continue to grow within the UK and beyond. Some of the regular features will include user number growth, new product/feature releases, and links to relevant interviews and analysis.

News this week

Revolut launches in Japan

Now available in over 35 countries, Revolut will add the full suite of products to Japanese accounts in the coming months. My thesis remains: at a certain scale, Revolut will become a private global payments network; a no brainer if customers need to transfer money internationally.

Tandem closes credit card products

The challenger offered credit cards and savings products from launch, with a closed book of mortgages purchased from Harrods Bank. They will now close the credit card line after switching to a subscription proposition that proved unprofitable. Tandem will now focus on growth of savings deposits and new lending products.

Monzo discusses their approach to financial abuse

With a rise in financial / economic abuse throughout the pandemic, many customers are seeking support from their financial institutions. There remains lots to be done but Monzo discusses how they’ve approached this delicate area.

New and upcoming feature releases

Numbrs pivots their business model

Previously monetised through commission for product referrals, (the bank account aggregation and insights app) will now become a subscription service with “100% neutral and bank-independent financial analysis”. The new proposition will first roll-out in Germany and the UK in Q4 2020.

Starling launches kid-focused debit card, named Kite

Aimed at children aged 6-16, the Kite card is linked to a parent / guardian account and costs £2 per month. The card isn’t a full bank account but has full budgeting, notifications, and merchant blocking functionality and is FSCS protected by the main account.

Tandem, Monzo, Starling, and Revolut were the founding UK neobanks - representing a shift in the banking model and inspiring countless others. Tandem’s highly differentiated strategy was a bold bet that didn’t pan out. The others have seen tremendous growth, achieving strong product-market fit, but now face very different challenges.

Written on September 20, 2020