Who’s Who in Alternative Banking Solutions, Page 3

  • Diana Asatryan
  • May 1, 2017
  • 0

4. N26

If you’re a Bank Innovation-regular, than you know that N26 has been on our watchlist for some time.

After receiving its banking license this year, the Berlin-based neobank kept up the momentum by expanding to 17 European countries outside of its native Germany. Aside from launching an array of digital-first products — like its premium account, N26 Black, which includes extra protection as well as optional health insurance, or its first-of-a-kind business bank accounts for freelancers — the bank has seen an incredible user growth, hitting 300,000 customers in mid-March, up from 100,000 in January.

The neobank has successfully “digitized almost every banking product retail clients demand, i.e. investment solutions and consumer credit,” CEO Valentin Stalf told Bank Innovation:

As global innovation is developing rapidly, alternative lenders play a strong role in being part of the gathering. It is not only a chance to serve customers that traditionally had problems getting credit. There’s huge potential to trigger change within traditional models – to the benefit of customers who in most cases are looking for new ways of banking. We will see risk models change massively over the next years, making it possible to offer credits at more competitive prices and completely digital.

The bank’s focus remains on further expansion in Europe, as well as launching new financial products, including a business account for registered companies. “After launching N26 Business for freelancers and self-employed, we received many queries for a similar product from smaller companies,” according to Stalf. “Our goal is to be the Fintech Hub, offering [the] best banking products and services within one app and with a few clicks only.”

5. Plaid

Plaid is the strongest advocate of open banking on this list, some may argue.

The company, launched in 2012, offers a set of APIs used by such fintech standouts as Robinhood, Wealthfront, Zenefits, and Venmo, and, in 2016, released an ACH authentication API for Stripe.

The goal is to help create a truly open and inclusive financial services ecosystem, Plaid CEO Zach Perret told Bank Innovation.

“There is still a long way to go toward building a truly open, innovative, and interconnected financial ecosystem, but there has been tremendous progress made over the past twelve months,” he said. “We work with financial services companies, fintech startups and technology companies and are focused on creating the interoperability needed to help create the parity needed to build the future of financial services.”

To achieve that, the company targets historically faulty banking processes. Just last month, Plaid partnered with a fintech heavyweight Dwolla to offer a fully tokenized ACH payment integration for its clients.

While tokenization has become standard in some areas of financial services, like the credit card industry, it’s been slower to become standard practice for ACH,” Perret said. “With this partnership, Dwolla customers won’t need sensitive user information – such as a consumer’s credentials – to ever hit their servers, and within minutes of onboarding and authenticating, any developer can start accepting ACH payments.”

The company, which raised more than $59 million in total funding to date, is now focused on “being a trusted intermediary in the dialogue surrounding data access” for financial services.

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