Banking fintech providers and startups to watch in 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up our transition to a digital and cashless society, causing more people to become reliant on technology as a means to manage their money. As customer expectations evolve and more companies populate the financial technology space, finserv companies are integrating technology into their offerings in order to set themselves apart from the pack.

Insider Intelligence has put together a list of the top banking fintech providers and startups – Monzo, Starling Bank, Ally Financial, Tandem, Tide, N26, and Atom. We’ll share why each of these companies have been able to outpace other competitors, and the implications of their success. 

Monzo

Since being founded in 2015, Monzo has created a name for itself as a UK digital-only challenger bank with a bright coral-colored card, and is now valued at nearly $US1.4 ($2) billion. 

Monzo’s mobile app aims to meet customer needs, offering budget tracking, cashflow advice, and the ability to make domestic and international payments. Their capability for customers to easily move money between accounts offers immense global appeal.

Monzo has been able to connect and build trust with the modern customer, by communicating in an informal, conversational tone. They have also used the Monzo Community Forum to build a brand community, listen to and engage with their customers, and contribute to the overall success of their brand.

Starling Bank

Starling disrupted the banking world in 2014, offering the benefits of incumbent banks, such as the ability to deposit cash and checks, plus added perks such as easy payments and instant notifications.

While Sterling has fewer customers than other challenger banks, it has more of their money, which suggests that customers are using this card for day-to-day expenses, and not just as a spending card.

Ally Financial

Ally Bank


Ally Financial went public on April 10, 2014, and has since drawn in over 8.5 million people with its high rates and low fees.

Ally is also know for their superior customer service. Diane Morais, Ally’s president of consumer and commercial banking products, echoes their company’s  sentiment when she shares, “It’s not okay to just be satisfied. Your money should be working as hard as it can.”

Tandem

Tandem is true to its name, given its capacity for customers to view all their money in one place. With open banking, individuals can access their spending and savings without logging into separate accounts.

Tandem’s simple interface makes it accessible to all, even those who aren’t as familiar with online banking. They also offer a “pocket accountant,” that analyzes all customer spending and offers custom tips to help save them money. 

Lastly, Tandem has the advantage of being connected with most major banks, which keeps them ahead of competitors that aren’t yet compatible.

Tide

Tide has attracted more than 200,000 customers since its launch in 2015, winning many over with their “three minute” business card sign-up and their robust mobile app that offers a number of unique features. 

Customers have the autonomy to freeze and unfreeze their card, check their pin number, and reorder a lost card. They can also integrate their transaction feed with accounting software in order to export their financial information as needed.

N26

N26, Europe’s first mobile bank, was founded in Berlin in 2013, and has since gained popularity among those who wish to transition away from incumbent banks, but prefer the security of a banking license. It also has excellent currency conversion rates, whch makes it ideal for international travelers. 

Their app is highly intutitive, and given that this company is relatively young, we can expect more innovation in the future. They are best known for their straightforward approach to banking, which has attracted many well-known investors, such as Silicon Valley’s Peter Thiel.

Atom

Atom is one of the inital challenger banks that got it’s start in 2016, by making banking easily accessible to customers through their smartphones and tablets. Unlike many of its competitors, Atom offers savings accounts and mortgages, and business loans, as opposed to currents accounts.

Atom offers a number of safety and security features. Instead of using the standard passcode and password combination, they use face and voice recognition to keep their customers’ money safe.

More to Learn

This comprehensive list of fintech companies merely scratches the surface of the fintech industry, which is growing in unprecedented ways.

And here are some related Banking reports that might interest you:

  1. The Banking-as-a-Service Report, which looks at five major BaaS providers, ranging from fintechs to 20-year-old legacy providers that we think represent a proper cross-section of approaches to offering BaaS.
  2. AI in Banking, which identifies the most meaningful AI applications across banks’ front and middle offices. 
  3. The Global Neobanks Report, which explores how the neobank market has grown rapidly, and what’s in store as the industry pivots from hyper-growth to sustainability.