A new wave of digital banks has fundamentally changed the banking industry in recent years. Customers can now choose from a much wider range of innovative banking services.
Disruption in the European digital banking and fintech sector has been particularly intense. New neo-banks and challenger banks have emerged and attracted many enthusiastic customers.
For example, London-based Revolut grew from 1.5 million to 10 million customers in just two years. Berlin-based N26 doubled its customers to more than 5 million in the two years to February 2020.
Here at Veriff, we’re lucky enough to work with many digital banks from across Europe. We help to secure their online systems and provide robust identity verification. These firms tend to be very tech-savvy in their approach to business.
So how do you choose which digital bank is right for you? There are many factors to consider and details to wade through and it is of course a very personal choice. Here we consider what makes a neo-bank great and we compile our list of the seven best digital banks in Europe.
There are three main factors to look at in the first instance when choosing a digital bank. These are: ‘security’, ‘fees and charges’ and ‘practicality’.
Our list of the seven best digital banks in Europe features companies with an impeccable reputation, high customer satisfaction scores and FDIC coverage so your money is protected.
At its essence, creating a list of the 7 best digital banks in Europe is a difficult task. All the neo- and challenger banks that are out there have unique offerings. They also appeal to different customers from different countries. It's not easy to categorise them by number of customers, revenue figures and reach.
Instead, we've compiled a list of seven digital banks which innovate and inspire the market. This could be because of their size, unique features or reputation.
So, without further delay, let's dive in…
Revolut was founded in the UK and currently operates in 33 countries. It is by far the largest digital bank, with more than 25 million users.
Revolut's popularity comes from the fact that it offers very low fees. It also offers a wide range of services. As one of the best digital banks in Europe Revolut is known for its forward-thinking approach to banking, customer focus, and ability to adapt to its technology and services to customer demand.
Number of users: More than 25 million
Lithuania-based Valyuz is a leading electronic money institution. The firm has a fast, simple and user-friendly application process. Valuz's technical know-how and great customer service make it one of the best digital banks in Europe.
Banking with Valyuz allows users to:
Monzo is headquartered in the UK and has more than 7 million customers. It is another strong contender for the best digital bank in Europe.
Number of users: 7.2 million
Starling Bank from the UK is often referred to as the ‘darling’ of the digital banking world. In 2019 the firm's personal account won the Best British Bank and Best Current Account 2019. Their business account has also won awards.
Starling was founded by experienced banking chief Anne Boden in January 2014. Many analysts praise Starling’s business model and approach to customers.
Number of users: 2.7 million
Germany-based N26 is a fully-fledged and licensed bank with more than 8 million users. It gives its users free retail and business accounts with no hidden fees. It also has deposit insurance of up to €100,000.
N26 is famous for its unique ‘Space’ feature that allows customers to create sub-accounts for whatever purpose they want. These ‘Spaces’ allow users to set financial goals and track their progress towards their target.
Number of users: 8 million
Hello bank was created in 2013 by BNP Paribas. It is known for keeping up with the latest trends and technological innovations. It has also been applauded for the way its banking app complements busy consumer lifestyles.
Hello bank's basic banking current account costs just €1 per month. That includes web, app and phone banking, a debit card, standing orders and direct debits.
Number of users: 390,000
A great example of this Gen Z focus includes the bank's use of Google Maps 'Location Intelligence'. This allows users to take full advantage of merchant location technologies. This represents a new and significant milestone in digital banking.
Take a look at our blog about the 10 Best Digital Banks in the UK, for more examples of great fintech innovation.
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