The European banking sector is witnessing a growing demand for digital banking services. Compared with incumbent providers, digital banks offer a wider range of flexible, mobile-ready benefits that appeal to user convenience. Globally, the digital banking platform market is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.2% during the forecast period (2021 - 2026). The rapidly evolving digital transformation in the banking industry, as well as the demand for smart mobile devices and digital banking services among consumers, are some of the major factors driving growth in the market.
Best For: Full banking services
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in London, Monzo is one of the most popular and feature-rich digital banks in Europe that enables customers to launch a fully-fledged UK bank account from the comfort of their smartphones. Users can choose between a wide variety of accounts, including free and premium ones. Multi-account management, credit cards, and stable savings are a reason why Monzo stays on top of the list. Customers also have access to loans, overdrafts, and security options. A personal account on Monzo also supports modern transactions, including shared tabs, utility and bill management, and versatile savings options. Monzo also offers a physical debit payment card that has proven popular with customers.
09: Starling Bank
Best For: Versatility
One of the first digital banks to be launched in the UK in 2014 by Welsh tech entrepreneur and former Allied Irish Banks COO, Anne Boden MBE. Starling Bank focuses on current and business account products. Headquartered in London, Starling Bank is a licensed and regulated bank and provides a contactless debit card as well as the personal and business accounts. Alongside these, Starling Bank also appeals to families with its joint and children’s accounts. Other services include multi-currency banking and savings options. With a growing customer base that includes 370,000 UK businesses and a 100% digital sign-up process, Starling’s popularity in the marketplace shows no sign of slowing down.
Best For: Budding investors
Eager to make its mark on the USA, Revolut has a reputation for innovation among Europe’s digital banks in that it offers conventional and experimental features. It has just secured a broker-dealer license for the US market that will enable its customers to have a wide range of investment and trading options. The Revolut and Revolut Metal cards have also gained traction among the new-generation banking customers. The fully-metal card gets customers 1% cashback on all transactions.
Best For: Freelancers
Holvi is a European digital bank created for self-employed individuals. It claims to simplify the different aspects of self-employed accounting. The digital account becomes a platform where freelancers and entrepreneurs can collect earnings, pay expenses, and manage their finances. With a passport or national ID, anyone can start an account at Holvi. It does cost a little, but users get accounting and bookkeeping benefits such as invoicing, a business debit Mastercard and tax filing support services.
Best For: Insurtech benefits
Classed as both a fintech and an insurtech operation, Berlin-based N26 provides a free basic current account and a debit card, with an available overdraft, investment products, and premium accounts for a monthly fee. Founded by Maximilian Tayenthal and Valentin Stalf in 2013 and fully licensed in 2016, N26 has more than seven million customers across 25 countries, and 280,000 5-star-ratings in the Apple and Google Play stores.
Best For: International transfers
The London-based fintech company Wise was founded by Estonian businessmen Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus in January 2011. Previously known as TransferWise, it became popular as a money transfer platform, and then widened its services to include banking products. Wise enables users to create a free personal account and enjoy the various benefits. In addition to standard features like global ATM support and local currency support, Wise works with Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Best For: Human customer service
With the mantra, “At Anytime, you do not speak to Robots,” this is one digital bank that has shunned the notorious AI chatbots, placing customer services at the core of its business. A subsidiary of Orange Bank SA, Anytime provides personal and business accounts for customers. The simple sign-up process gives users access to online payments in France and abroad, along with cheque support.The banking platform also offers many financial management features for businesses and SMEs.
Best For: Fast sign-ups
Officially launched in 2017, Bnext was registered officially as a bank in February 2020 by the Bank of Spain and is headquartered in Madrid. With more than 400,000 customers, it is one of the most prominent players in the Spanish fintech sector. In addition to traditional finances like loans and insurances, Bnext also offers Bitcoin and Ethereum trading options, while opening an account takes seconds. The bank is also famous for its no-hidden-fees policy.
Best For: Cashback
Curve ranks highest among digital European banking customers seeking maximum cashback services, offering a generous 1% on every purchase, on all cards. Curve also combines all payment methods into one card, making it easier for customers who only have to recall one PIN. There are two modes of cashback: one for regular purchases and the other for select popular retailers. Unlike other banks, however, Curve does not offer support for ATM transactions.
Best For: Investing
With an estimated 300,000 users in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and founded in 2015, Lunar has raised more than $100mn in funding drives. It is a specialist digital bank that is investment-focused. Customers are provided with a comprehensive view of their spending, but because Lunar is an investment-focused bank, it is largely marketed as a second bank for those that want a financial hub specifically devoted to investment banking.