Neobank Volt has begun onboarding the first customers on its waitlist, 11 months after receiving its licence to operate as a bank. 

Now in beta, the challenger bank is offering 2.15 per cent interest on savings accounts, with a wider public launch planned for 2020. 

Volt received its full banking licence back in January, ahead of many of its neobank competitors who have already launched publicly.

According to Business Insider, Volt’s launch strategy differs from the other neos because the company is lining up partnerships to help it grow more rapidly and ultimately become profitable. 

86 400 (named for the number of seconds in the day) was granted its banking licence in July and 48 hours later had its app live in the app store for friends and family to download. Two weeks later users on the bank’s waitlist were invited to download the app. While the bank’s full public launch arrived in September, just one day after Xinja secured its banking licence and immediately started rolling out transaction accounts to its early customers. 

Up was the earliest Australian neobank to launch. It had a headstart on its rivals because it operates under Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s ADI — meaning it didn’t need to spend time convincing APRA to give it a banking licence. The bank had 2,500 customers participating in its public beta before its official launch in October 2018. Today it has more than 150,000 customers.

Throughout the year Australia’s newest banks have launched in phases. First to friends and family, then to a waiting list of early customers, before opening the product up to the general public and firing up their customer acquisition campaigns. This allows them to test the platform and iron out any bugs. 

Questions remain over how quickly customers will embrace the newcomers and whether or not they will be able to attract deposits that will act as a cheap source of funding for their lending products. But with key regulatory and technology challenges out of the way, 2020 is shaping up to be an interesting year of competition in the banking sector.


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