Cashplus has become the latest challenger bank to apply for a full banking licence. And while it joins the likes of Starling, Atom, and Monzo there is something very different about this application.
Challenger banks have been grabbing headlines in the Fintech industry for the past few years now. Their ease of use and mobile first approach has threatened to revolutionise the banking sector. The marketplace is crowded, but many seem more hopeful then hot contender.
To illustrate this point, I originally intended to write an in depth article about these new ‘banks', but was forced to shelve the idea, as despite all the promises, so far only Atom and Starling, have managed to get their act together and get accounts up and running. And even then, only the former doesn’t offer current accounts.
That's exactly what makes the announcement by Cashplus an interesting one. Unusually for this marketplace, Cashplus isn’t a trendy young start-up. In fact, the company formerly known as Advanced Payment Solutions, has been around for 12 years, made over £8 billion in payments, and safeguards over £200m of customer deposits.
Another rarity in the field is that APS/Cashplus, has been profitable for years. Rather than burning through investors’ money in the anticipation of future profits, it has been steadily growing revenues, and investing in improving its product portfolio.
What is particularly interesting, is that unlike its challenger bank rivals that only offer personal accounts, Cashplus also caters to business users and entrepreneurs, especially those that have fallen through the cracks of the modern banking system, and might have difficulty opening a business account from traditional high street banks. It could be these that stand to benefit most from the company's change in status.
In applying for a banking licence, the company is hoping to lend more to its 100,000 small business customers, as well as attracting new ones that require the services of a fully fledged bank.
Rich Wagner, chief executive and founder of Cashplus said:
We’ve been shaking up the banking sector from the outside as a digital challenger to banks.
Working from the inside will mean we have the scope to provide even more services for customers who’ve been overlooked by the traditional banks.
I’m fed up at the raw deal these customers have been getting so I’ve decided to get a banking licence to give them the best deal possible.
It is going to be fascinating to see how this area of the fintech industry develops over the next year or two, especially given that Starling which obtained it’s banking licence last summer, has been mooting the possibility of offering a business bank account too.