German digital bank Fidor has formally launched in the UK, adding to the growing digital bank landscape with others like Atom, Mondo, and Starling all hoping to disrupt the traditional UK retail market. Founded in Germany in 2009, Fidor bank utilizes a full range of social media, crowdfunding and P2P lending techniques and digital currency services to appeal to consumers that are not content with the status quo.
According to Fidor, in the UK the bank will first provide flexible saving bonds and competitive flat fee for international money transfers. After a few months the bank hopes to introduce a checking account, debit card, corporate account and will also integrate third-party services. Commenting on the business model of the bank, Matthias Kröner, CEO of Fidor Bank said,
“We’re putting the community at the heart of Fidor. This personalised approach to banking gives every customer a voice in how our bank is run, as well as giving them unprecedented control – setting their own interest rates, or naming the current account card that the bank will use for example, are just some of the options we’ve explored.”
While the UK retail banking market is dominated by a few key players that will be difficult to displace, there is clear momentum towards greater competition in the market from more traditional players as well as a host of new age digital banks. Though time will only tell if Fidor and other digital banks can succeed in the UK, there is no doubt that they are bringing a new dynamic to a once stagnant marketplace.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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