Online Banking Choosing Your Online Bank

Online banks and mobile banks chart their course, attracting more and more customers, and new brands are regularly emerging. From aggressive advertising campaigns, these new banking operators are trying to make traditional networks obsolete. But what are these online banks and neo-banks really worth? Are they reliable? Can they really replace traditional bank branches or are they complementary? Overview of players in this market and presentation of the specification of a remote bank compared to the traditional bank.

BECOME A CLIENT OF A REMOTE BANK
Before you commit, do not hesitate to ask questions by phone or email. Contact details are available on the websites of these banks.

What is the specificity of an online bank?
An online bank does not have “hard” bank branches to accommodate customers, such as traditional networks. The whole relationship is dematerialized – via the Internet or mobile phone – even though phone counseling may exist. Employees all work in the same place (in unique offices, often in the Paris region) to meet the demands of thousands of customers scattered throughout France. It is this particular operation that allows these institutions to offer much lower rates than traditional networks: they have no real estate costs (agency rentals) and the number of their employees is considerably reduced. Clients are guided, where appropriate, by advisors whose role is to do everything possible to ensure that clients become independent in their daily relationship with the bank.

The main advantage of these banks lies in their management fees up to 3 times lower than those of conventional banks. What marked the spirits at the start of these banks was the free credit card. This policy continues with the gifts offered at the opening of a current account (80 € offered, for example). In general, online banks do not charge a small fee (up to € 200 / year in conventional banks), transfers or direct debits. A large number of transactions are still invoiced (see “Paying Services”). Attention: the rates are low, but it is impossible to negotiate.

Is the opening of a current account conditional?
In terms of financial conditions, it is rare for an online bank or a neo-bank to require an opening payment, a minimum monthly income or savings. This is the case for N26, Revolut and Boursorama. From July 2018, this will also be the case for Axa Banque, which will allow its customers to open an account without any conditions (the € 750 minimum monthly income will no longer be required). The account Nickel opens in a tobacco shop, without conditions of income. It is even accessible to people hit by banking prohibition.

Most other institutions still require an initial deposit at the opening of the account: for example, 150 € at Monabanq, 300 € at BforBank and Fortuneo.

A minimum amount of outstanding customer accounts can also be requested. For example, to have free Visa card (not the basic one, granted without conditions), Boursorama Bank requires € 2,500 deposited on the accounts, ING Direct € 5,000. Fortuneo, for its part, requires new customers € 1,200 net monthly income or € 5,000 savings.

On the other hand, these banks do not require that you domiciliate your income at home or that you become their main bank, a practice common in traditional networks.

 

How to join?
Registering at a remote bank is quick and easy. All you have to do is scan or photograph your receipts (ID card and proof of residence and income). An advisor will then check these documents and, if all is correct, the account is opened in a few minutes and the credit card arrives by registered mail a few days later.

There is no commitment to hold the account. It is possible to close it by a simple email, without providing a reason, which is a real comfort compared to the formalism still in force in most banks (making appointments and signing a multitude of documents) .

If you open an account in an online bank to become your primary bank, do not close your old account right away. Take advantage of it – especially since the cost is lower – to test how it works, check that it is in line with what you expect and make sure you are comfortable with the absence of a physical advisor. “. After a quarter, for example, it will be time to decide whether you keep it or not.

What is found in the mobile applications of online banks?
Nothing is easier than managing your bank account on a daily basis! Because of their model without a counter, online banks always have a leg up on the historical signs.

More agile than the “old” banks, they have integrated the omnipresence of the phone in our lifestyles and consumption. For them, it has become a strategic instrument of conquest and customer loyalty. As a result, the ergonomics of their mobile application is regularly revisited and features are constantly improving. All these players are engaged in a race for technological innovation to differentiate their mobile offering from the competition.

The common base of all these apps is to offer services à la carte. After having crossed a “security lock” with a digital or facial recognition unlock (soon vocal), a simple glance is enough to consult his last operations, to know the balance of his account in real time (immediate alert after each flow or credit) or make transfers between his accounts. It is also possible to view a history of expenses by category or over a chosen period. A new feature allows you to refund a meal in the restaurant or a cinema spot to a friend via a simple SMS (sent from the application of his phone). This system is becoming commonplace among all these actors. Another innovative and practical service: block and unblock (momentarily or permanently) your bank card at will if it is missing in your wallet.

How to choose and judge the application that suits you?
To select the application that suits you or at least the one you feel most comfortable with, give yourself a little time or give yourself a test period.

Know that there are subjective criteria such as download time, the graphic universe, the quality of navigation and presentation, the course to follow with some finger pressure. So many details that will affect your satisfaction and the use you will make of it.

Other more objective criteria concern the menu of services. At the end of November 2017, a WA office study called User Experience and Mobile Banking screened 10 remote banking applications. As a result, Hello Bank, Orange Bank and N26 offer the largest number of features to date. On the other hand, it is Monabanq, ING Direct and Fortuneo who propose, to date, the least.

In early 2018, D-Rating, a rating agency specializing in the analysis of companies’ digital performance, unveiled its ranking of French banks. In first position, all brands combined, we find N26. The second is Boursorama Banque, followed a few places further from Hello Bank, Fortuneo and ING Direct. These are the youngest brands that have a modern, flexible and scalable digital application. Their arrival in the landscape gave a boost to the mobile applications of the first generation “remote” banks. This competition forced them to review and improve their digital offer.

To stand out from existing players, new entrants play the card of zero paper, technical innovation and singularity. Their customer journey was thought only for a mobile. If, in terms of innovations, the neo-banks manage for a few months to go it alone, they are constantly caught up by their elders.

 

What about payment by phone?
The contactless payment with smartphone is democratized, even if it is not yet available at all online banks. This is a reality at N26, Hello Bank, Fortuneo, Orange Bank and Boursorama Bank. These establishments offer Apple Pay systems for Apple brand phones and Paylib for Android. Axa Banque and ING Direct do not yet offer this type of service. As for the connected watch, it is compatible with the applications of Revolut, N26, Hello Bank and Monabanq.

Can I open a professional account?
Not yet everywhere. Only Axa Banque, Boursorama Banque, Monabanq and N26 agree to open a professional account. But it is the next issue for distance learning institutions that should all eventually allow their business clients (autoentrepreneurs or companies) to also domiciliate their company accounts. Unlike personal accounts, these business accounts are not free, but they are cheaper than in traditional networks.

Two online banks specialize in corporate accounts: Qonto and Manager.one. These institutions do not open current accounts for individuals.

Are there welcome offers, sponsorship gifts?
It is not essential to be an online bank to offer new customers a welcome bonus, preferential conditions or an exemption (permanent or temporary) of fees! Some traditional networks are sometimes involved in commercial operations for the traditional network or to promote their e-agencies.

An “aggressive” marketing policy in this regard, however, is mainly the result of online banking. These promotional operations being sometimes punctual, find out more about these banks’ websites in order to enjoy them the day you are interested.

Currently, for example, some banks credit the opening of an account with a financial gift: € 80 at Boursorama Banque, Hello Bank, ING Direct and Fortuneo, € 160 for the current account and € 80 for a savings account at BforBank or 120 € at Monabanq. At Axa Bank, no welcome bonus for new clients, except for students who have their account credited with 40 €. In addition, this bank offers 250 € bonus for the domiciliation of salary.

Warning: some welcome gifts are subject to conditions. For example, Orange Bank offers its new customers only 80 € for 3 payments or withdrawals made with the Visa card and / or the Orange Bank mobile payment before the end of the month following the opening of a first account.

In online banks, it is also customary to reward godparents and sometimes godchildren. For example, Hello Bank and Monabanq offer 100 € to the godfather (and up to 170 € to the godchild), Axa Banque (from July 2018) 80 € to the godfather and 80 € to the godchild for any opening of an account equipped with a card and a bank booklet. For its part, BforBank credits the account of the sponsor of 120 €. Fortuneo offers 150 € to the godfather and godson. N26, she offers 15 € for a sponsorship.

Are remote banks reliable?
Yes, without hesitation. In France, they all enjoy the approval of the Prudential Supervisory and Resolution Authority (ACPR), which guarantees their seriousness and protects your savings. In addition, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the national regulator, oversees the general conditions and compliance with procedures and obligations related to banking status. In principle, these authorities guarantee the security of the services offered and the respect of personal data.

The majority of large distance banks are subsidiaries of traditional banks, insurance companies or mobile operators. Axa Banque is a subsidiary of the insurance company Axa, Boursorama Banque de la Societe General, BforBank Crédit Agricole, Fortuneo Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, Hello Bank of BNP Paribas, ING Direct of the Dutch bank ING, Monabanq Credit Mutuel CIC, Orange Bank of the Orange telephone group. The big banking groups did not want to miss the train of the modernity and, often in parallel with the opening of e-agencies, they created remote banks able to seduce the new generations of customers. If they play on all the boards today, they certainly anticipate, in the long run, a predominance of online banking and a closure of traditional agencies.

 

ONLINE BANK EVERYDAY
Online banks are known to offer free services, but many transactions or special requests are billed. Check their rate.

Free services
The seductive argument of online banks is first and foremost to offer certain services that do not cost a penny. Most do not charge for online transactions, account maintenance fees, holding a basic international bank card and withdrawals at ATMs.

In addition, the conditional fees that undermine the free base card remain well below the maintenance fees charged by traditional networks: a hundred euros per year, on average, for an international card.

Pay services
It is wrong to think that everything is free at online banks. The latter are far from being philanthropists. Although they are obviously not highlighted, many services are paid. However, these rates are often softer than in traditional banks. Moreover, these banks without a counter do not offer “turnkey” flat-rate bank packages deemed useless and expensive. They charge “à la carte”. The customer pays only what he consumes.

This positioning of moderate rates is regularly confirmed in the various rankings and comparisons. This is an important asset because, according to the UFC-Que Choisir’s 2018 survey on bank rates (all banners combined), the inflation rate continues with an average annual cost of € 211, up 2, 2% compared to last year.

Before opening an account in a remote bank, it is important to take a close look at the list (always long and detailed) of the rates charged for banking operations and services. It’s best to spot the ones you use most frequently to see if they will not inflate the base bill.

For these remote banking players, there is a basic premise for the construction of their fee schedule: the more independent and independent you are, the less you will be charged for aids and services. Be careful because some positions are sometimes very lucrative for the bank. Thus, all transactions or special requests, for example related to payment incidents or malfunctions of the account (rejection of a check or direct debit, intervention fee, debit balance adjustment letter) are billed at the price strong, at the maximum legal rate. As much as knowledge!
Is the bank card always free?
The general philosophy is most of the time to make you a gift of the basic payment card. But the category of the card depends on the income or outstanding. In some online banks, this free charge is conditioned by a minimum level of income or savings. High-end cards often pay off, but they are always cheaper than in a network bank.

Attention: it is necessary to respect the conditions of use of the card related to its frequency of use like means of payment. If this is not the case, some banks levy fees.

Is there an account maintenance fee?
When we look at the fee structure of these establishments, we do not find systematic account maintenance fees (except at C-Zam, 1 € per month). They appear if you do not draw often enough (in the month or the quarter) your rectangle of plastic or do not respect the conditions of income or savings.

The charge amounts to € 5 per month at Orange Bank, if you make less than 3 payments per card (or mobile) or withdrawals in the month.

Same rate at ING Direct, if the account has less than € 1,200 in payment or less than € 5,000 in outstanding amounts each month.

This nuanced and multi-speed pricing is a subtle way of getting paid.

Are bank overdrafts allowed?
The majority of establishments without a counter accept to practice the overdraft authorized, and all are on the same scale: 7 or 8% per year. When the amount is exceeded, the overdraft becomes unauthorized and is charged 16%.

Namely: impossible to have an account in the red at the neo-banks N26, Revolut, Nickel and C-Zam.

Are withdrawals paid or limited to a network?
In France
Unlike network banks seeking to induce their customers to withdraw cash from “home” ATMs, online banks do not practice this policy because they simply do not have it. Overall, withdrawing cash in France will not cost you a cent. But, as always, there are counterexamples. At Nickel, any withdrawal is charged € 1. On the side of C-Zam, we charge the customer € 1 per withdrawal “displaced”, that is,other than in the ATMs of Carrefour Banque and BNP Paribas. Finally, at N26, withdrawals are free up to 5 per month, then cost 2 € from the 6th operation.

In the euro zone
The withdrawal of cash from a distributor in a euro-zone country costs nothing in the majority of brands (Axa Banque, Fortuneo, BforBank, Boursorama Banque, Orange Bank), but some of them stand out. This is the case of N26 which (as in France) makes its customers pay € 2 per transaction as of the 6th withdrawal per month. Revolut charges 2% of the amount over 200 € withdrawn in the month (400 € for premium customers). As for Nickel, it levies (as in France) systematically 1 € with each outflow of money.

Outside the euro zone
As soon as it comes to cash out of the euro zone, all brands are aligned on the same rates that rise significantly. This billing is therefore far from painless. This detail is important for those who often travel to other continents. For the majority of players, the rating often includes flat-rate fixed costs (often € 1.50 or € 2.00 per withdrawal) plus variable costs of between 1.7% and 2% of the transaction amount.

The least greedy turns out to be Hello Bank, because it allows to take advantage of the Global Network BNP Paribas Group allowing free withdrawals in more than 50 countries.

Namely: some brands (Monabanq, N26) have lower rates on foreign currency withdrawals for a premium customer with a card or a high-end account.

Without a counter, how to deposit cash, a check or get a checkbook?
The absence of direct and physical contact requires changing one’s habits, especially when depositing checks and cash.

Deposit a check
At Hello Bank (BNP Paribas) and Monabanq (Crédit Mutuel-CIC group), it is possible to deposit check or cash slips in branches and ATMs of the bank branches of their parent bank.

For others, the only solution is to send checks by mail. Recently, some banks online (BforBank, Hello Bank) offer to scan the check, to take a photo with his laptop or fill online a digital slip in his client area. But you still have to mail the check.

Pour cash
For lack of counters, the deposit of cash is generally impossible (except for some banks online subsidiaries of a network bank). It will be necessary to settle to deposit the liquid on the bank account of a traditional bank then to make a transfer towards the account of the bank on line.

Receive a checkbook
Even if the use of this means of payment tends to decline in favor of the payment card, the checkbook remains necessary in everyday life (registration to a cultural or sports association, money back to a friend …) . Be aware that sending by registered mail is paid as in a conventional bank.

Namely: the latest-born neo-banks (N26, Nickel) do not offer a checkbook.

Order a bank check
It can be requested for free online (Hello Bank), but it costs 5 € if one is helped by a counselor (Fortuneo).

The billing of the sending of this check goes from 5 € (ING, Fortuneo, Monabanq) to 12 € (Axa Bank).
Without an agency, how to contact an advisor?
To compensate for the absence of physical contact with the advisor, these banks without a counter use all other means of communication.

All are reachable by telephone 6 days out of 7 with more extended time slots than the opening hours of agencies. It is possible to call on weekdays until 9 pm, sometimes even 10 pm. On Saturday, closing day in many conventional networks (some are open in the morning), most online banks are on the bridge between 9 am and 6 pm. It is sometimes possible to interact with his interlocutor by interposed screen.

Contrary to the banks with counters, the advisors of these platforms are not appointed, except at Axa Banque (for VIP customers) and Monabanq. However, the history of your accounts and the access to your file allow a “continuous and personalized” follow-up. Some brands (Hello Bank) claim a team of specialized interlocutors to meet specific requests (pension, life insurance, credits).

Other communication channels are at your disposal to contact the bank: the virtual adviser (who never sleeps), emails, SMS, instant messengers via the bank’s mobile application and social networks ( Facebook, Twitter).

To seduce, the neo-banks put the package on their digital offer accessible on mobile, often faster and more intuitive than their website. For their part, the most “old” play the card

What is the price of a means of payment insurance?
This very useful but optional protection is ultimately quite expensive for online banks and the gap between the annual subscriptions of the different brands is important: from € 12 to € 99. To watch closely!

How much does it cost to replace a lost or stolen card?
Do you lose your card and need to replace it? It will cost you, according to the signs, between € 6 (N26) and € 15 (ING Direct).

Namely: the reminder of the secret code of the card is charged 7 or 8 € (Boursorama Bank, Axa Bank, Fortuneo), but free at ING Direct, N26 (with an unlimited change in its code) and Nickel.

New: more and more banks offer to activate, free of charge, from the online personal space, the option of momentary blocking of the card. This new option is safe if you think you have forgotten your card somewhere and you want to give yourself time to find it or go get it. It is a reversible (waiting) solution that is very useful before proceeding to a definitive opposition.

 

SPECIFIC OFFERS
In addition to the simple operation of the bank on a daily basis, some online institutions offer a range of investments and loans, more or less expanded.

Which savings products can you access?
In general, the older the online banking, the more rich and complete is its investment and financing offer. The pioneers have had time to gradually expand their range. It is precisely with these extra products that they earn their living and pocket nice tidbits.

Unlike ATMs, you will always have less choice. It is besides a marketing strategy assumed of these actors. The offer is deliberately simple with only one product offered per family investment: a savings book, a life insurance policy, a mortgage or a consumer loan. Most of these banks do not all offer the Housing Savings Plan (PEL), the popular savings account (LEP) or the products intended for young people (Youth booklet, student loan).

In the near future, mobile banks and fintech (finance startups) want to develop even more interaction by leveraging your data. Their objective ? Develop financial coaching via mobile to direct you to “home” savings products or partner stores. Soon, predictive intelligence will allow all this with sending more messages, advice and notifications from them.

Namely: the neo-banks – the latest arrivals on the market – do not offer financial investments. Once they have a place in this banking landscape, they will undoubtedly come to clear these new tracks and shake their elders with innovative offers.

Are bank booklets competitive?
For the most “old” online banks (Axa Bank, Boursorama Banque, ING Direct, Fortuneo), bank booklets have proved to be an effective weapon for winning customers. Even today, despite falling rates, these “super” booklets show the best pay, beating the booklets of network banks. But beware of these displays aguïhants, often trompe-l’oeil: at the option of promotions carefully distilled throughout the year, this rate spends only one time and concerns a limited deposit amount. Reserved for new and / or old customers, this offer usually only applies for 2, 3 or 6 months for a payment limited to 25,000, 50,000, 75,000, or even 100,000 €. Afterwards, this doped rate deflates and is found at the level of the normal basic remuneration which stagnates below the 1% mark. Be sure to read the conditions of the offer.

What about life insurance contracts online?
It is, with the bank booklet, the flagship product of remote banks. The subscription to the life insurance policy is of course 100% online.

Only offered by the first generation of brands, these contracts proved to be of good quality over time. Funds in euros show good performances. In 2017, yields were between 1.7% and 3% while the average market yield was 1.8%. True to their reputation, online banks continue to play the “low cost” card. They do not charge entry fees, on-payment fees or even arbitration fees. Management fees are more moderate than elsewhere. These contracts give access to a wide range of units of account, all with à la carte management (free, profiled).

Only Hello Bank and Axa Banque “sell” the contract of their parent company; others have partnerships with an outside insurer.

What is the price of a means of payment insurance?
This very useful but optional protection is ultimately quite expensive for online banks and the gap between the annual subscriptions of the different brands is important: from € 12 to € 99. To watch closely!

How much does it cost to replace a lost or stolen card?
Do you lose your card and need to replace it? It will cost you, according to the signs, between € 6 (N26) and € 15 (ING Direct).

Namely: the reminder of the secret code of the card is charged 7 or 8 € (Boursorama Bank, Axa Bank, Fortuneo), but free at ING Direct, N26 (with an unlimited change in its code) and Nickel.

New: more and more banks offer to activate, free of charge, from the online personal space, the option of momentary blocking of the card. This new option is safe if you think you have forgotten your card somewhere and you want to give yourself time to find it or go get it. It is a reversible (waiting) solution that is very useful before proceeding to a definitive opposition.

 

SPECIFIC OFFERS
In addition to the simple operation of the bank on a daily basis, some online institutions offer a range of investments and loans, more or less expanded.

Which savings products can you access?
In general, the older the online banking, the more rich and complete is its investment and financing offer. The pioneers have had time to gradually expand their range. It is precisely with these extra products that they earn their living and pocket nice tidbits.

Unlike ATMs, you will always have less choice. It is besides a marketing strategy assumed of these actors. The offer is deliberately simple with only one product offered per family investment: a savings book, a life insurance policy, a mortgage or a consumer loan. Most of these banks do not all offer the Housing Savings Plan (PEL), the popular savings account (LEP) or the products intended for young people (Youth booklet, student loan).

In the near future, mobile banks and fintech (finance startups) want to develop even more interaction by leveraging your data. Their objective ? Develop financial coaching via mobile to direct you to “home” savings products or partner stores. Soon, predictive intelligence will allow all this with sending more messages, advice and notifications from them.

Namely: the neo-banks – the latest arrivals on the market – do not offer financial investments. Once they have a place in this banking landscape, they will undoubtedly come to clear these new tracks and shake their elders with innovative offers.

Are bank booklets competitive?
For the most “old” online banks (Axa Bank, Boursorama Banque, ING Direct, Fortuneo), bank booklets have proved to be an effective weapon for winning customers. Even today, despite falling rates, these “super” booklets show the best pay, beating the booklets of network banks. But beware of these displays aguïhants, often trompe-l’oeil: at the option of promotions carefully distilled throughout the year, this rate spends only one time and concerns a limited deposit amount. Reserved for new and / or old customers, this offer usually only applies for 2, 3 or 6 months for a payment limited to 25,000, 50,000, 75,000, or even 100,000 €. Afterwards, this doped rate deflates and is found at the level of the normal basic remuneration which stagnates below the 1% mark. Be sure to read the conditions of the offer.

What about life insurance contracts online?
It is, with the bank booklet, the flagship product of remote banks. The subscription to the life insurance policy is of course 100% online.

Only offered by the first generation of brands, these contracts proved to be of good quality over time. Funds in euros show good performances. In 2017, yields were between 1.7% and 3% while the average market yield was 1.8%. True to their reputation, online banks continue to play the “low cost” card. They do not charge entry fees, on-payment fees or even arbitration fees. Management fees are more moderate than elsewhere. These contracts give access to a wide range of units of account, all with à la carte management (free, profiled).

Only Hello Bank and Axa Banque “sell” the contract of their parent company; others have partnerships with an outside insurer.

What are the solutions and tools for investing in the stock market?
If you like to “manage” your portfolio of securities independently and independently, “historical” online banks are ideal, especially since some have started on this niche (Boursorama Banque, Fortuneo).

Their strengths? Post exchange fees and transaction fees cheaper than those of conventional banks. In addition, they provide easy and simple access to a wealth of useful information (economic news, financial markets history, value analysis …) to manage your portfolio in real time.

As for the universe of collective investment schemes (UCITS) available online, it is quite broad: 9,000 funds at Fortuneo, 6,000 at Boursorama Banque, 3,000 at ING Direct, 2,000 at Axa Banque and BforBank.

Stock market activity is non-existent among neo-banks.

What is the offer for mortgage loans?
In 4 years, this offer has been expanded. Real estate loans are offered at Axa Banque, Boursorama Banque, Fortuneo, ING Direct and Hello Bank. From now on, it is possible to perform an online simulation, to formulate a request and to obtain an answer in principle in a few hours, all without needing to domicile his income or hold a current account.

In just a few years, the underwriting process for this loan has been considerably simplified and improved. Everything is digitized and is done online with signed documents to scan or photograph.

The offer is intentionally basic. It almost always concerns the financing of an old good without any possibility to negotiate the rate, which depends on the amount and the duration. No fees are charged. These actors do not all offer, as is the case in a bank with counters, a “tailor-made” arrangement with a combination of regulated loans (savings plan housing, loan at zero rate), loans assisted (Housing Action, Department , city) or a loan to buy a new property or build a house. The financing of “dry” works is sometimes not possible (Fortuneo, ING Direct). Note that the Fortuneo home equity gates will only open if you have at least 10% personal contribution. Better always watch the offers of traditional banks which, in turn, are aggressive and competitive in this field.

Precision: no real estate credit for new entrants like Nickel, C-Zam, N26, Revolut and Orange Bank.

What are the other possible credits?
The vast majority of online banks offer personal loans at competitive rates. On the other hand, they are less likely to distribute revolving loans (Axa Bank, Boursorama Banque, Hello Bank, ING Direct, Monabanq).

Namely: no offer for this loan is marketed at Nickel, N26 and Revolut.

What are the few investments offered online?
Placement via crowdfunding platforms has made its way through the back door at online banks. This solution is offered by Hello Bank and Fortuneo.

Similarly, investment in real estate investment products such as REITs and OPCIs is rarely available. And when it is, detention is never direct. The purchase of units is done through life insurance policy account units (BforBank, Boursorama Banque, Fortuneo).

 

DEMATERIALIZED BANKING LANDSCAPE AT A GREAT V SPEED
An Ipsos study, published by the Société Générale in February 2018, indicates that if the French are using digital more and more often, they claim the right to the simultaneous use of both possibilities: digital and human contact. Thus, the study notes, if digital is privileged for everyday operations such as transfers or money management on a daily basis – essentially for the reactivity it allows – human contact, on site or remotely, remains irreplaceable, regardless of age, when it comes to more sensitive transactions such as solving a problem, the request for advice or the purchase of a mortgage. “The bank therefore remains a profession whose added value is based in part on human contacts”, concludes the study … which smells good the Coué method and says a lot about the concern of traditional banks vis-à-vis banks in line !

Faced with increasingly fierce competition, traditional banking networks are trying to persuade their customers that the all-digital is not a panacea … while multiplying the dematerialized services on the Internet or mobile. An attitude that can be judged all the more contradictory as most online banks have in fact been created by traditional networks. The fact is that nearly 4 million people in France already have an account in an online bank and, according to several studies, by 2020, it is more than 10M

By the way, is this idea totally right? Are some customers not willing to do without human contact by adhering to all-digital? If, of course, respond online banks that see the number of their customers increase constantly. Logically, the younger generation is now a leader among customers … but in a few years, it will have aged and everyone may be ready to have an online bank. Matter of habit. Meanwhile, dematerialized banks have understood the message and opt for the soft method by offering their customers a minimum of human contact. It’s a bit the opposite of traditional banks, which offer a little digital and a lot of human: they rely on a lot of digital and a little human.

What does the online banking landscape look like today?
The so-called “online banking” sector may seem confused to the neophyte considering the many organizations claiming this name, eager to profit from the success of the formula. Type “online banking” on a search engine and you will get a multitude of company names that do not all have much to do with cloud banking, but rather represent an alternative to conventional networks. Real online banks are not so numerous.

The e-agencies of the major networks
For example, the dematerialized agencies of the major banking networks can not be considered as such: the direct agency of Société Générale, the online agency of BNP Paribas, My online banker of Caisses d’Epargne, Nordirect du Crédit du North, The Postal Bank at Home, e-Banquepopulaire or e-LCL represent the dematerialized network agency, but function in the same way as the “physical” agencies. More original: Tookam, Crédit Agricole Mutuel Pyrenees-Gascogne, in addition to offering a fully accessible service on the web, supports responsible and solidarity projects in the region.

These e-agencies sometimes give discounts on rates, but not always, and in any case, not as cheaply as the real online banks that have “broken prices”. On the other hand, they offer the possibility, like online banks, to contact an advisor at extended times.

These e-agencies were created to satisfy the desire of some customers (the youngest, in general) wishing a dematerialized report to their bank and wishing to contact a customer advisor outside of office hours. A clientele that could well escape to turn to the original versions cheaper, all the more easily since February 6, 2017 and the obligation for banks (registered in the Macron law) to offer a free service to help banking mobility.

Online banks “first generation”
The first real online banks first accessible via the Internet were created in the early 2000s. Axa Banque, ING Direct and Boursorama Banque were followed, from 2010, by Fortuneo, Hello Bank, BforBank and Monabanq. Many consumers already use these banking platforms as their sole institution, while others are in a transitional phase, with a classic account and an online account. In fact, it is now possible to have only one bank account in an online bank because they become more and more general by offering, alongside the current account, loans, savings products and sometimes also insurance products.

The “neo-banks”
News on the market, they offer current accounts with classic credit card primarily accessible via mobile applications latest generation (on smartphone), but are also accessible via the Internet. Among these mobile banks: N26, Revolut (from the United Kingdom), Orange Bank (formerly Groupama Banque), Nickel (held by BNP Paribas) and C-Zam (in the fold of Carrefour Banque et Assurance). To be activated, the account C-Zam must be bought in the stores of the group. Management can then be done online.

EKO, from Crédit Agricole, is a low-cost basic service offering, to be subscribed in network agencies or online. It includes a checking account, a credit card and a mobile application for € 2 / month. EKO, clearly created to counter the competition generated by the low pricing of banks online, is dedicated to customers able to manage their account on a daily basis independently, while continuing to receive advice from consultants “in the flesh” for their financial projects (savings, credit).

Hush (from Luxembourg), Groupe BPCE and the Postal Bank should be the next to create mobile banks in France. We can estimate that these last generation banks belong to the group of remote banks (they also practice very advantageous rates since they have no agency fees and are very easy to access), although they are dissociated by a range of services much less extensive for the moment than that proposed by the majority of banks online.

Leave a Reply