The neo-banks appeared in the early 2010s, taking advantage of the opening of financial flows allowed by Open Banking. Eager to bring new proposals to the financial sector, they rely on mobile technologies to offer new types of banking services for individuals and professionals.
As mentioned in the introduction, what has made the emergence of neo-banks possible is the phenomenon of Open Banking. The two Payment Services Directives, implemented in 2007 and then in 2015 respectively, have allowed institutions other than traditional banks to be able to process financial flows. This openness will obviously have motivated a large number of people to create their own financial services. It was during this period that a new type of payment-related business appeared:Fintechs. These Fintechs are young start-ups that want to offer their own financial services, by collaborating with payment issuers such as Visa or Mastercard.
A neo-bank is ultimately a type of Fintech, aiming to replicate what a traditional bank could offer while bringing new types of services and solutions. Neo-banks have well understood the huge importance of smartphones in the daily life of the world population. Without physical branches as it is the case for traditional banks, they are based on a fully digital system with a mobile application as the main support for the user.
One of the main arguments in favor of neo-banks is the ease of opening bank accounts. In the traditional system, it takes about 15 working days to open an account. With neo-banks this procedure is much shorter, from a few minutes to a few days depending on the offers of each bank. The aim is to make the opening and management of financial accounts more flexible, for individuals as well as for professionals. No proof of income is required to open an account and the operating costs of a neo-bank are lower than those of traditional banks. Finally, the mobility provided by the mobile applications available to users makes consulting and managing finances intuitive and accessible everywhere. There is no need to go to an ATM to check your account balance: everything is directly accessible on the dedicated applications. It is even possible to make transfers directly from this application.
One of the major challenges for neo-banks will be to provide professionals with real alternatives to the classic operation of merchant contracts. In this period of health crisis, merchants are all the more attentive to new solutions that could allow them to capture more potential customers, and a fortiori to conclude more sales.
Some neo-banks have therefore decided to specialize in offers for professionals, as is the case with Olkypay. It is indeed not so simple for an entrepreneur to open a business bank account with a traditional bank. They have to go to a branch with a lot of documents such as the KBIS, proof of address, projects and results forecasts, and so on. Even after this step, he will have to wait longer than those offered by the new banks.
One of the main arguments of the neo-banks is the ease and speed of opening accounts. The merchant can create a business account from his computer or cell phone, without any commitment or transaction fees. The neo-banks propose offers adapted to all types of companies, adjusting each time the services included in it to correspond as well as possible to the expectations of the companies and independent.
Another argument in favor of neo-banks' offers for professionals is their diligence in terms of technology. As Fintechs, neo-banks master and promote the technical advances of the payment world. They are forged in a digital era and do not hesitate to integrate new technologies in their proposals while keeping certain elements of the more classic offers.
It will be possible for a merchant with a neo-bank account to have access to almost all the financial services available today. The majority of offers include business cards for employees, online or physical card acceptance solutions (fixed or virtual payment terminals, VAD, etc.), advanced management tools accessible online, etc. Everything is done to offer a maximum number of relevant services while gradually including innovations related to payment such as instant transfers and SEPA direct debits.
The objective of neo-banks is definitely to compete with traditional banks by making the means of accessing financial services more flexible while relying on technological progress to propose new and innovative offers. This approach has convinced tens of millions of users in Europe, making neo-banks a real alternative to the traditional banking system. Their impact in the professional field is also undeniable and we will have to carefully observe the evolution of the commercial world in correlation with that of neo-banks.