Times are tough for digital financial services, online banking and neobanks.
In the fold, for the most part, of traditional players themselves abused, they are the first to pay a high price for the crisis linked to the coronavirus, when it is not simply their lack of profitability.
Over the months, the list of disappearances grows.
Apart from C-zam, the banking service of Carrefour Banque, which communicated on the end of its operations in mid-July, most of them are quietly ceasing their activities aimed at individuals, while announcing that they are retaining services for professionals.
"A clever way of not officially closing shop," says Maxime Chipoy, president of Moneyvox, an online banking services comparison.
This is the case of the start-up Morning, owned by the bank Edel (Leclerc group), Ditto Bank (Travelex), Ferratum Mobile Bank (Finnish group Ferratum) or even Boon, the neobank of the German group Wirecard in France. origin of a resounding scandal this summer where she is suspected of fraud and falsification of her accounts… And others could follow.
Present only online, without a “hard” agency to receive their clients, these digital players seemed to be better equipped on paper to face the crisis.
In reality, it is quite different.
"They spend a lot of money to recruit new customers and still lose a lot of cash, which is never good in a period of crisis when the general managements demand accounts and seek to make their investments profitable", analyzes the president of Moneyvox .
Charge for previously free services
If the balance is too distant and uncertain, the parent company prefers to stop the costs.
Otherwise, it will do everything to make its digital subsidiary more quickly profitable.
How? 'Or' What ?
By charging for services hitherto free.
And on this subject too, the neobanks are rather discreet.
According to Moneyvox, several of them have just changed their terms and conditions.
It remains on the margins but it could pave the way for others.
Thus, if you are a customer of ING (formerly ING Direct), be aware that any request for a duplicate of a bank statement has become chargeable since September 1 (1.50 euros per document posted).
The subsidiary of the Dutch banking group, which aimed for profitability this year, no longer foresees it before 2021. At Hello Bank!
(BNP Paribas group), it is the copy of checks that has been paid for since July 1: 12.90 euros if the check has been issued for less than a year and 27 euros beyond according to Moneyvox which has scrutinized their bank documentation.
For others, price changes are more subtle.
They consist in reducing the number or amount of free operations.
The French subsidiary of German mobile bank N 26 still offers "a bank account with no monthly fees" and "without deposit or income conditions" but now forces its N 26 Standard customers who have not domiciled their income with it to pay 2 euros withdrawal fees from a distributor from the fourth monthly transaction instead of the sixth previously ... When we know that N 26 offers a payment account without the capacity - for the moment - of loans or savings, to domiciliate its income should make you think ...
As for the British neobank Revolut, the most popular with travelers for its ultra competitive rates, it has been imposing, since this summer, exchange fees of 0.5% from 1,000 euros instead of 6,000 euros in transactions, notes Moneyvox.
And since August 12, it has doubled even on weekends at 1%.