I've always loved seeing how, from the GFC's ashes, waves of inspiration have arisen to reinvent the way finance and banking works, with an intrinsic philosophy to be fairer and more transparent to consumers. There is no better example of this than the partnership TransferWise and Up just announced.
In a nutshell, Up customers will be able to transfer money to anyone around the world, directly from their Up accounts, with the cheapest fares, AND they will know what they pay before confirming the order. Sounds simple? So simple we had to wait until 2019 to enjoy these kind of services.
However, as much as I want to see fintechs, neobanks and smart ideas succeed, I still believe their path to prosperity will be challenging. Up boasts an exciting 130,000 customers in 12 months of operations. So what can get in their way?
We talk a lot about consumers' inertia and loyalty to traditional players. Studies keep showing they will make the switch to other banks, but I'd rather see studies showing they have already made the switch.
I also realise that even though I live and breathe fintech, I have been targeted by these players only to a very limited extent. And a quick survey among my colleagues (a sample I recognise is not accurately representative of the Australian population but still includes very relevant profiles for fintech businesses) showed me that the majority of them haven't either.
Could there also be a marketing inertia in fintech? These new players have a significant innovation edge over traditional players, and the advantage of offering a fresh offer. They should capitalise on that to capture as many consumers as possible now, because the pace at which traditional players catch up will arguably accelerate, even if new players continue to diversify their portfolio with innovative products.
Capturing innovators and early-adopters is one thing, but reaching any business' goal of the early majority is another challenge.
What do you think? Any comments? I would love to discuss this with you at our fintech event on November 26th in Sydney, where we will discuss the various ways to engage with Australian consumers to encourage fintech adoption, and decrypt how we can remove the barriers to open banking adoption in Australia. Please get in touch if you would like more information or register: firstname.lastname@example.org
International money transfer service TransferWise has launched TransferWise for Banks in Australia, allowing banks, credit unions and other financial institutions to integrate TransferWise’s API directly into their own infrastructure. The first bank it is partnering with is Up, a neobank launched 12 months ago which operates under Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s ADI.