Who’s who in the new Aussie consumer bank zoo

Unlike the UK, fintech consumer banking applications have been a little late to the fintech party in Australia. But recent regulatory changes making it (somewhat) easier to launch a banking platform seem to be changing that. Today we’re bringing to your attention three Australian neobanks on our radar.

None have officially launched and it would seem there is a probable likelihood many will come to market at a similar point in time. Not ideal for any startup, but an increasingly reality given the pace of innovation these days. Of course that means differentiation will be critical.

Xinja

Problem they’re trying to solve

Founded by a team of ex-bankers, according to their website Xinja don’t think it’s quick, easy or fun to track your spending or save for what you want. Quick and easy I certainly agree with. I’d say the jury is still out on whether banking can ever be fun.

Likelihood of success

Xinja were one of the first fintech startups to announce to the press that they would be going after a banking licence post the capital relaxation announcement. If they are the first to successfully pull this off, it will be a significant tailwind in their favour.

What is harder to tease out from the information released to date is what that big product differentiator will be. Hook lines are great – and I’m interested for sure, but how this translates into actual product features and experience is still unclear. No doubt this is part of their pre-launch strategy.

Wildcard

Problem they’re trying to solve

Nathan Tesler and his team believe the Australian dream of home ownership is dead. They’re not far wrong, considering most house prices are north of $1M in Australia’s major cities and completely out of reach of first home-buyers.

Wildcard’s other hypothesis is that a good number of Aussies live pay-cheque to pay-cheque, with banks failing to help them get on top of their outgoings, through clunky, unintuitive interfaces and an over-reliance on pushing credit facilities.

Likelihood of success

Rather than get a bank licence, Tesler is opting to partner with a yet to be disclosed major FI. If he pulls this partnership off, then he’ll be one of few fintech startups who’ve managed to do so, giving Wildcard a strong runway on potential competitors. He also massively reduces his compliance burden, which is a key operating cost for a banking business.

How the team will successfully commercialise this venture through this partnership is yet to be seen. He’ll need to convince someone to pay for something – whether that’s the FI or the user. Could be an interesting BaaS play for sure, if he can get the pricing/value model right.

Douugh

Problem they’re trying to solve

Founded by Andy Taylor, Douugh’s website indicates it thinks banks are failing to educate people about how to manage their money, with many Australians stuck in a continuous loop of debt.

Likelihood of success

Sophie, Douugh’s virtual assistant looks to be the hero feature of this banking platform. While we get a snippet of Sophie’s interface on the homepage, not much more is revealed. The company hasn’t made any bold announcements to the media about its banking aspirations, however its call for potential partners suggests it may be looking at a white label play direct to FIs.

The education play is definitely interesting though. There is no question a large swathe of the market Douugh is after are currently unadvised. Digital advice wrapped into banking could be a serious differentiator.

Daily Fintech Advisers provides strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech. Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business.

One thought on “Who’s who in the new Aussie consumer bank zoo

  1. The emergence of neobanks have the potential to solve many underlying problems. This can be done through customer understanding and pivoting. Australia has the potential to improve its startup ecosystem! With an improved startup ecosystem, we can see more startups solving more problems much like many of its neighbouring countries.

    Liked by 1 person

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