MoneyLion to use $160m funding to add savings, stock trading products


Personal finance app turned challenger bank MoneyLion, which has more than 5 million users, is seeking to lock in customers through a host of new financial services. On Tuesday, the company raised $160 million to build out its platform through a high-yield savings account and stock trading platform, two products that will roll out later this year. It’s also planning to refine its cash advance tool. 

The six-year-old company is continually adding products, including banking, investing and financial help, into a single platform for all its customers’ financial needs.  It’s a blueprint to create a customer for life, said a spokesperson for the company. Edison Partners and Greenspring Associates co-led the funding round, while Capital One, MetaBank and the FinTech Collective all participated. According to the company, the latest funding round puts the company at more than $200 million in financing. MoneyLion didn’t disclose terms of the funding or valuation.

“The strategic investment from these leading financial institutions validates our mission and approach,” said Dee Choubey, CEO and founder of MoneyLion, in a release. “More than just a challenger bank, MoneyLion is a membership destination that’s given its more than 5 million members a chance to once and for all take control of their financial futures.”

Instacash, MoneyLion’s cash advance tool, also will undergo a revamp. Customers can take up to $250 as a payday advance if they have a direct deposit set up with MoneyLion’s checking account. MoneyLion charges no interest on the advance.

MoneyLion hopes the new products will drive more customers to MoneyLion’s existing financial services as well. The company offers a checking account with a partner bank and cashback rewards. MoneyLion’s digital investment service allows customers to choose the level of risk they want and it operates through direct debit.

MoneyLion also is a personal lender, with loans of up to $500 at 5.99% APR for a minimum term of one year. The company has originated more than 200,000 loans since 2013, a lucrative business that MoneyLion would like to see grow.

See also: What MoneyLion learned from its augmented reality experiment

In addition to loans, MoneyLion generates revenue from a subscription model and through referrals to other financial providers. It offers two tiers of memberships: core and plus. The core version is free and includes bank accounts, credit monitoring, cash advance and cashback tools. The plus version costs $19.99 per month and includes access to its lending product, which MoneyLion advertises as a way to boost credit scores. It’s also building gamification into its interface, and customers will soon earn cash back for logging into their account. A spokesperson for MoneyLion said the company wants to be the Netflix or Costco of financial services, offering a subscription model that younger generations see as normal. 

In its efforts to become a comprehensive financial platform, MoneyLion faces well-heeled competitors, including Chime, Varo, U.K.-based Monzo and Germany-based N26, along with robo-advisers like Wealthfront and Betterment. When it comes to trust overall, it’s a lot to ask consumers to differentiate between the startups,” said Aite Group research director Alois Pirker in a recent interview with Bank Innovation. “To them, tech is tech.”