To this tech-savvy generation, traditional banking may in our minds conjure up images of endless queues then broken ATMs. However, a new generation of non-bank fintech startups known as ‘Neobanks’ is challenging these stereotypes by offering digital and customer-centric services for a seamless banking experience.
But, for customers, is the neobank experience all that it’s cracked up to be? Here’s a rundown as to how these neobanks work, what problems are they solving and how this one particular neobank Jupiter Money is revamping the whole ecosystem in India.
What are Neobanks?
Neobanks are new-generation banking solutions for both millennials and the Genz folks. Neobanks are financial institutions that provide customers with an inexpensive alternative to traditional banks. So we can consider them as digital banks that have no physical presence. In simple terms, Neobanks are financial institutions that give customers a cheaper alternative to traditional banks.
These financial institutions are an inexpensive alternative because they leverage technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide personalized services to customers. Also, while keeping operating costs to a minimum.
Unlike traditional banks, Neobanks do not have a. In the absence of a banking license, the neobanks cannot undertake banking activities like deposits and lending independently.
What problems Neobanks are solving?
Just like every theory is questioned and ideas are challenged to prove a point neobanks are doing the same. Neobanks are challenging and questioning traditional banking systems.
Neobanks bridge the gap between the services provided by traditional banks and the changing customer expectations in this revolutionary digital age. They are reshaping the face of fintech and may one day leave traditional banks behind in the race.
Most people want to have better financial lives and neobanks around the world are trying to help people with it. Neobank platforms guide and teach people about money thus, educating people financially and making everyone capable of fighting inflation.
The inception of Jupiter
Jitendra Gupta came into the startup ecosystem at an early age, he started his career as an article trainee at Lodha & Co. before working as a Staff Accountant at RSM & Co. He had also worked for ICICI Bank for seven years as the Chief Manager and Regional Sales Manager.
Owing to the experiences that he gained along the way he founded Citrus Pay in 2011, the startup was later merged with PayU resulting in the generation of 2.5 times of the revenue from the time of acquisition.
Jitendra Gupta being a part of the startup ecosystem for over a decade always felt that something was missing. He was desperate to do something to fill the gap. Jitendra worked for PayU for 3 years after gaining much expertise Gupta finally chose to apply his finance and banking experience to a disruptive idea of revolutionizing the traditional banking system.
Mumbai-headquartered Jupiter Money provides varieties of digital retail banking services, allowing users to open and manage their bank accounts from their smartphones.
The platform also integrates unique facilities for customers to monitor their wealth, offers real-time spending breakdowns with insights, and assists them with convenient savings inlets for customers to save for their purchases.
Furthermore, all of these things can be managed in real-time. Jupiter claims it does not charge any hidden fees, as many banks do. Jupiter is currently set against the challenge of maintaining the “fine balance between compliance and agility.”
“We wanted to deliver a personalised banking experience with the mindset of an internet company. Our customer service is not differentiated based on a customer’s balance, and we give them an instant resolution to their needs”says Jitendra Gupta, Founder of Jupiter
Funding and Investors
Jupiter has raised a total of $155 million in funding throughout its four funding rounds. Jupiter’s most recent round was on December 27, 2021, when the startup raised $86 million from QED investors and Sequoia Growth Fund, Tiger Global, and Matrix Partners, among several others.
Global Founders Capital, Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, and others are among Jupiter’s top investors. Until now, Jupiter has only acquired one company, EasyPlan, which is an AI-powered financial savings app.
Jupiter uses the mobile-first model to differentiate itself by introducing new products and services. Jupiter’s business model is based on Monzo, a digital mobile-only bank in the United Kingdom, and Nubank, a bank in Brazil.
If I have to break down what a mobile-first model is. A “mobile-first” strategy is building a desktop site first with the mobile version, which is subsequently adapted to larger screens (contrary to the traditional approach of starting with a desktop site and then adapting it to smaller screens). In general, a mobile-first approach involves designing your website with mobile users in mind, with the primary purpose of improving their experience on your site.
Jupiter currently provides four products that help people save money, effectively monitor their savings, and earn rewards. To provide banking services, Jupiter has partnered with Federal Bank, NPCI, and VISA.
Jupiter earns money through commissions when a customer uses a debit card, takes out a loan, or buys an insurance policy through its platform.
Jupiter’s beta app today continues to serve 100,000+ users on the long waiting list and it will eventually be made available to the general public as well. That is for now one can only use the app if invited.
Jupiter has launched the Bullet Money app, a micro-lending (‘Buy Now Pay Later) app that will provide customers with small-ticket loans of up to Rs 10,000 to use for UPI-led purchases. Bullet, like LazyPay, which Jitendra launched at PayU, has already received more than half a million downloads.
Gupta stated that Jupiter’s current largest issue is ensuring that the customer experience remains exceptional and that the company can iterate and improve the experience as it grows larger.
Jupiter’s main competition is epiFi. It was established in 2019 and is based in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. epiFi competes in the Fintech industry.
NiYO, like the others mentioned above, is regarded as one of Jupiter’s major competitors. This is another Bengaluru-based startup that was established in 2015. NiYO, like the other two businesses, competes in the Fintech area.
Neobanking scene in India
According to a report by KBV Research, The global neobanking market is expected to be worth $333.4 billion by 2026, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47.1%. However, neobanks, like all financial institutions, have advantages and disadvantages.
Here are a few advantages of neobanks for a quick rundown:
- Customers of neo banks include tech-savvy people, SMEs, and the low-ticket salaried class, which are not the focus areas of traditional banks.
- Lower costs as a result of the lack of physical branches and low capital investment.
- Lower fees/charges and easier customer acquisition.
Also, if we speak of the disadvantages, of course, this new banking style will not appeal to everyone, and that is understandable. The disadvantage of not having physical branches is that you cannot speak with someone from your bank face to face. Without proper communication, a lot of trust issues arise.
The progression is not that fast because most people are still not used to the concept and thus the industry is still at its nascent stage but, in the upcoming years, neobanks will create revolutionary disruption.
“With the current momentum, neobanks are likely to leapfrog in the coming years and become a financial services behemoth, and have a positive impact on the overall growth of the financial services sector in India”Jitendra Gupta, Founder of Jupiter
Is Neobanking a greater future in India?
Neobanks focus primarily on resolving customer banking issues, but they fall short of providing a better overall customer experience. In comparison to traditional banks, Neobanks’ onboarding process is very simple, paperless, and takes less time.
Traditional banks are beneficial to millennials, while neobanks are beneficial to small businesses. Unlike traditional banks, which rely on traditional product offerings and widen their large network of branches for the customer base, Neobanks use innovative new technologies such as AI and Cloud analytics, and they are simply an app for their audiences.
People who don’t have a lot of time to deal with the hassle and cost of going to visit physical branches and lead busy lives will benefit from Neobanks.
Neobanks have become a hot topic in the fintech community, and they’ve done a fantastic job of maintaining their visibility on a global scale, with more businesses and banks signing up with them every day. Everywhere we look, we see a new player whose goal is to simplify financial services while also providing additional benefits.