The UK fintech space could be getting a bit more crowded with an ever-growing number of challengers attempting to disrupt the UK banking and financial sectors. Most recently, US powerhouse JP Morgan entered the British High Street with its banking and financial services app - Chase. It’s been the first international expansion of JP Morgan’s consumer bank brand in its 222-year history. There are no bank branches, just an app that customers will simply download.
It doesn’t sound like anything new, the UK has an array of fintech ‘challengers’ that have successfully entered the banking services market: Monzo, Starling, Revolut, Wise. None of which have had a physical presence on the high street and according to Which? - banks and building societies have closed (or scheduled the closure) of 4,299 branches since January 2015, at a rate of around 50 per month.
Britain has a very well-banked market, so trying to put the dent into the dominant position of the ‘big four’ banks - Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and taxpayer-backed NatWest - on top of the already flourishing fintechs, could prove to be a struggle in gaining a market share. With so little room to compete in the UK, Chase is touting 5% interest to customers – by some distance ‘the highest rate available on the market today.’ There is, of course, a ‘catch’. That rate will only apply to ‘small change round-ups’ – when the amount deducted from a debit card purchase is rounded up to the nearest pound.
To add to the overcrowding, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan has said, his biggest rival will not be the fintech of Britain, but could come from Silicon Valley and big tech companies such as Amazon and Apple. Amazon is already embedded in many aspects of financial services — even if it is not formally regulated by the Bank of England, which grants banking licences to firms that hold deposits for customers.
There might still be room for growth in fintech as EY found that 51 per cent of Gen Z and 49 per cent of Millennials named a fintech as their most-trusted financial brand — not a good sign for the branch-heavy big four. However, it is a good sign for the online-only banks and financial platforms, including Chase, that there is still room left for growth in the UK fintech industry.
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