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Digital disruptor banks in the UK - Statistics & Facts

Digital banks, otherwise known as disruptor banks or neobanks, are mobile-first, app-based banks that have no physical location. Because of the much lower overheads associated with running a digital business, online only banks can often offer much lower fees, higher interest rates, cashback and rewards to customers than traditional incumbent banks. With the digital banking industry having the potential to offer high returns to investors, and the need for new players to expand quickly and gain customers fast in order to turn a profit, funding of specific banks has been both aggressive and continuous. February 2020 alone saw two disruptor unicorns receive further funding, crowning one as the highest valued and funded digital bank in Europe.

In Great Britain (GB) approximately three quarters of adults use online banking. A combination of speed, convenience, ease of use and the continued rise of non-cash payments have meant that mobile banking apps have become household names within a matter of years. Banks including the London-based Revolut and Berlin-born N26 have seen customer numbers explode over a very short period in Europe, a trend that has been forecast to continue.

In order to gain as many customers as quickly as possible, some disruptor banks are rapidly turning their intentions to global expansion. For disruptor banks to truly compete, they have to work towards making profit. The need to make profit for mobile-based banks lies in direct correlation with the number of customers they have. Every open bank account has an annual cost of running. Calculated as a contribution margin, the more accounts that are open and active, the more likely banks will make money per account. In 2018, Revolut, Monzo and Starling banks of the UK all made a loss. Some disruptor banks such as Monzo and Starling have chosen to concentrate on a single market, while offering their customers free (or low fee) withdrawals and transfers abroad.

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App-only banks in the United Kingdom (UK)

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Starling bank


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