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Revolut Nets Perfect Score In Digital Banking Rankings, Where Does Black Banx Stand?

kokou adzo

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Undergoing constant change, financial technology continues to be a consumers’ market, with new digital banking technologies continuing to emerge on a regular basis. With a myriad of fintech platforms, it is then understandable when it becomes overwhelming for customers to narrow down which digital bank’s services would be best to meet their specific needs.

Attempting to make the choice a little bit easier, PYMNTS, a wholly owned subsidiary of What’s Next Media & Analytics that specialized in data, news and insights on innovation in payments and the platforms powering the connected economy, has established the Provider Rankings of Digital Banking.

Here, PYMNTS ranks Digital Banking Apps using a proprietary combination of publicly available information plus app usage data. Scoring factors include: channel coverage, up-to-date downloads, monthly average users, sessions per user, and average session length.

Recently, London-based global neobank and financial technology company Revolut was able to net a perfect score of 100 and is subsequently ranked as first in PYMNTS’ rankings.

What Does This Mean for Leaders in Fintech Like Black Banx?

While the intent of PYMNT to narrow down digital bank options to the “best” ones for the benefit of customers is admirable, the reality is that there are presently over 26,000 fintech startups worldwide. This had reportedly increased significantly over the past few years, up from only around 12,000 fintech startups in 2019.

According to Statista, there were 11,651 fintech (financial technology) startups in the Americas as of May of this year, making it the region with the most fintech startups globally. In comparison, there were 9,681 fintech startups in the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) and 5,061 in the Asia Pacific region. In 2023, the United States ranked first in terms of the number of fintech unicorns globally, having roughly five times more of these companies than the United Kingdom, which ranked second.

As such, being deemed as the “best digital bank” is not absolute, particularly when not all companies or platforms make their usage, download, and other information public, both for the sake of ensuring customer data is secure and simply because the priority is ensure that they are always at peak operating capacity and continue to meet customers’ banking needs comprehensively and on time.

One such company doing so? The Black Banx Group. The Toronto-based global digital banking company comprising a group of financial institutions serves over 33 million private clients in 180 countries with locally-tailored products and services across multiple channels.

Established in 2014 by German billionaire Michael Gastauer and subsequently launched to the public in 2015, Black Banx has been operational for a little less than a decade but has experienced substantial growth on a yearly basis. In the first nine months of 2023 alone, the group has welcomed over 11 million new customers and generated US$158 million profit before tax with US$1.5 billion revenue.

A unique aspect to Black Banx that differentiates it from the likes of Revolut is that it continues to be funded by one major single shareholder, Gastauer’s own Gastauer Family Office (GFO). This has given the group a degree of independence unseen in more typical fintech structures like that of Revolut which, according to Gastuer, has been key in enabling Black Banx to grow rapidly and have this growth fund the company’s continued pursuit of innovation and continue making better offerings for customers.

“Being able to keep a small board and having only one major shareholder helped us in the first few years when Black Banx was growing rapidly to make decisions fast, which is important for young companies. As the company grew and had more complex decisions to make, our board and corporate governance structure grew to the level that we are today.” 

He adds, “Since 2020, Black Banx has seen a consistent growth in its revenues and profits. Despite a large portion of our revenue being reinvested to fund our growth, we have still been able to generate profits and grow our profit margin over the last few years.”

Not being tied to numerous investors, and subsequently having to prioritize profit for those said investors, Black Banx has been able to keep its services, for the most part, available for free.

In comparison, among the few downsides of “best digital bank” Revolut has been the fees associated with some of its financial offerings. Just last month, the company reportedly raised the monthly fees for its premium customers to as many as £2 more depending on the plan customers are maintaining. In contrast, the majority of the accounts offered by Black Banx involve no monthly fees to maintain, while transactions done between Black Banx accounts are also absolutely free.

Like any thriving company, Black Banx considers inclusion in PYMNTS’ digital banking rankings and earning a perfect score or near it as affirmation of the usefulness of the digital banking solutions it offers.

However, ranking or not, the priority for Black Banx is to ease international banking for as many people as possible, with a special emphasis on the population who have little to no access to traditional banking and, for some reason or another, has also not been reached and provided solutions by high-ranking digital banks.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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