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The new digital challenger banks: Putting the “love” into banking

Neo Banking
Caroline Hawkings Managing Director 21/11/2019

Five years ago, if someone asked if you “loved” your bank you might have looked at them in bemusement.

Their salient and recognisable brand assets have catapulted them into social consciousness"

Just thinking of a traditional high street bank might automatically make overdraft charges, international fees and branch closures spring to mind— not to mention the financial crisis and the bailouts that followed.

However, in the last two years new entrant digital banks such as Monzo, Starling and Revolut have challenged the sector. While they might not yet have been successful in winning significant shares of primary banking accounts, they are clearly having an impact.

Data collected in Savanta’s BrandVue Financial Services brand tracker of the UK finance industry, shows rocketing numbers of consumers are aware of these brands and are actively considering using them.

Not only that but a significant proportion of current customers say they actively “love” their bank — a remarkable claim for an industry which has traditionally sparked indifference at best.

What makes the challenger banks so well-loved?

It would be fair to say that the new digital challenger banks have attempted to address a list of banking pain points consumers had come to accept. From confusing fees for using cards abroad to delays in payments showing up on statements. They’ve also moved beyond transactional banking to help consumers manage their finances more easily. Monzo for instance offers features like in-app energy switching and allowing account holders early access to their salary in a bid to try and get more people paying their salaries into it.

Not only are the challenger banks offering new benefits to consumers, their fresh branding with bright colours and unique names set them apart from the traditional high street banks.

The new digital challenger banks have brought new features and their salient and recognisable brand assets have catapulted them into social consciousness and, as our data clearly reveals, they have built a strong emotional connection with their existing customers.

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