Australia's latest digital bank startup UP has launched with a shortcut via Bendigo Bank

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  • Australian digital bank startup Up launches with a smartphone app.
  • It avoids applying for a banking license in a deal with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
  • No account fees and withdrawals are free from most Australian ATMs.

The latest digital bank startup, Up, has avoided the lengthy process of applying for a banking license by partnering with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank as it launches via a smartphone app.

Up, which joins other Australian digital bank startups Volt and Xinja, has been created by South-Melbourne based technology developer, Ferocia.

“There’s been a lot of chatter about new-age banking alternatives arriving on the market,” says Ferocia and Up co-founder Dom Pym.

“But the team has just been focused on actually getting one live. Up exists to simplify peoples’ lives and help them to create financial freedom through technology, innovation and creativity.”

The UP app provides time of day on spending, a clear merchant ID, location, plus automated weekly spend tracking and spending analysis, including how much you’ve spent at one shop in the last year or from month-to-month.

The app also predicts upcoming charges automatically, pays them on time, automatically generates reports and can show how much has been spent with one provider over time.

There are no account fees and withdrawals are free from most Australian ATMs.

Among fellow digital bank startups, Volt has a restricted banking license and Xinja is expected to get one early next year.

Up launches with a savings interest rate of 0.75% plus a bonus rate 2% and a digital card from within the Up app. Up also supports Google Pay, Garmin Pay and Fitbit Pay.

“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s strong track-record provides us with credible banking partner, coupled with the creative licence to design Up in the most ‘non-bank’ way possible,” says Pym.

“It has meant we can offer customers a new way to manage their money ahead of everyone else.

“The alternative would have been to apply for a restricted banking license and be in the same boat as the neo banks — unable to launch in any meaningful way until at least 2019.”

Up also works with Mastercard for payments and Google Cloud Platform for hosting, as the first cloud-hosted bank in Australia.

The other co-founder of Up is Grant Thomas, former coach of AFL team St Kilda.

“In order to deliver a completely different banking experience, we needed to approach this with a completely different cultural play to the industry,” says Thomas.

“And this tech-led team is the perfect nucleus for this new banking community. From the moment you register your interest on the Up app, you’ll enjoy a vastly different customer experience.”

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