There have been significant developments in Financial Technology products (FinTech) in recent years. There have been numerous mobile only challenger banks launched which offers a competitive alternative to the main UK high street banks.
Opening an account with a high street bank can take many weeks. With these challenger banks it is often a case of downloading the app to your mobile device, supplying evidence of ID – by taking a “selfie” and a copy of photo ID such as a passport or driving licence and uploading it, and within a couple of days the account is up and running.
Watch out for names such as Starling Bank, Monzo, Revolut or Tide Bank – to name just four.
Features often include real-time payment notifications on your phone, meaning an alert is received every time there is activity, in or out on the account. This makes it easy to keep track of spending, and also makes it easy to spot potentially fraudulent transactions.
Starling Bank for example offers both business and personal accounts and a Euro bank account too. Business and sole trade customers can manage their accounts online as well as through the app. There are no monthly account fees. Starling is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so up to £85,000 of funds is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
The high street banks are fighting back – NatWest has recently launched Bó – a smartphone based digital account. It is not possible to pay bills or direct debits through the account though and a salary cannot be paid into it. It might be useful as a second account for those that don’t want to take a chance with one of the new kids on the block.
One thing is for certain – there will be lots more changes in the banking arena in the not too distant future.
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