A very common question that has been on the steady rise since the finical crisis if 2008, is What is a Challenger Bank?”  

The answer is simple. A challenger bank is a recently launched smaller bank that challenges the dominance of the long standing bigger “banking giants”. Challenger banks distinguish themselves from historic banks by modern finical technology practices, such as online only operations. 

After the crisis of 2008 the trust in banking became somewhat dented which create the opportunity for a new wave of financial institutes to make their mark on the industry. There are many challenger banks on the rise but only few have succeeded in really filling the void and delivering a positive client focused banking experience.  


Tech Savvy 

Some of the biggest problems with tradition banks is that they struggle to keep up with technology. In this day and age where everyone is heavily reliant on technologies such as their phones, tablets, laptops etc these challenger banks have tapped into this, creating user friendly banking apps. This move to a dominance in fin-tech have allowed these challenger banks to create a more innovative user experience.  


Smarter Banking  

Traditional banks means queens, bureaucracy and a time consuming process of opening a simple account. Challenger banks cut down that process exponentially by allowing you to register for an account online or through the mobile app in a matter of minutes. This is perfect for those that are time poor with hectic lifestyles.  


Weve rounded up our top 3 challenger banks on the market:  



Starling is a completely different kind of bank. Founded by Anne Boden in 2014, it gives customers the freedom to manage their money all from one app. Starling offers mobile UK personal, business and joint and euro accounts with smart money management tools such as real-time notifications, analytics into spending and the ability to lock you card if lost or stolen. It also has a Marketplace to give customers access to complementary financial products and services and a B2B payments services offering. Starling has a team of 500+ and serves 650,000+ customers. To date, it has raised £233 million. 




N26 was founded by longtime friends Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal in 2013. Frustrated by the lack of transparency, digital innovation, and personalized service and offerings at existing banks, they decided to build one of their own. They designed N26 to be a customer centric and mobile-first retail bank, allowing users to enjoy a simple, elegant and easy-to-use banking app anywhere, anytime. 

Now you can pay with your N26 Mastercard using Apple Pay in stores, online and in apps. It’s easy to use, secure and effortlessly mobile. 

N26 Black Card  

Made to roam 

N26 Black offers fee-free transactions around the globe, meaning you can shop, eat and explore as you would at home. 


N26 Metal Card 

N26 Metal is Europes first contactless metal debit card. Meticulously crafted and available to choose from in one of three colours: Charcoal Black, Quartz Rose and Slate Grey. Choose one to make it your own. 

As well as free unlimited ATM withdrawals, N26 Metal comes with travel insurance that keeps the world open for exploring and protects against unforeseen expenses. 

With the N26 metal card, you will have access to LoungeKey membership. Simplify your journey thanks to LoungeKey Airport Experiences membership with discounted access to over 1,000 destinations globally. 



Our mobile banking app is designed to save small businesses time and money. Manage your cards from within the app, set-and-forget your auto-categories, integrate with your accountancy software, then get back to doing what you love growing your business. 


Auto categories 

Tag income and expenditure with labels of your choice 


Multiple accounts 

Instant switching between separate accounts to keep your business organised. 


By Christine Ethnan