This year has certainly started off with a bang in the Fintech industry, with more Fintechs raising greater than $100 million than ever before. And we’re just wrapping up the first quarter of 2021! Like many industries, the pandemic has dramatically accelerated digital transformation and consumer adoption of digital Fintech tools, and that’s certainly apparent in investors’ interest.
This should scare traditional banks. Even JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon admitted recently that “Banks … are facing extensive competition from Silicon Valley, both in the form of fintechs and Big Tech companies.”
One challenger bank that’s seen tremendous growth this past year — coupled with an enormous $220 million Series D led by Andreessen Horowitz — is Current. And joining us on this week’s Fintech Growth Talk podcast to share his insights and reflections on the recent Fintech explosion is Current’s VP of Marketing, Adam Hadi.
Current has actually been around for six years, nearly a lifetime in the Fintech world, and Hadi attributes its longevity and success to meeting an unmet need in the marketplace. As a mobile-first platform, Current didn’t face any legacy costs in terms of backend systems, which gave them an initial advantage. This low overhead set them up to be able to develop their business model, which is the bank’s real differentiator, says Hadi. Where traditional banks make money from collecting deposits and lending, Current’s profits mainly come from interchange fees, fees charged to merchants for debit and credit card transactions.
That is, Current profits each time their customers spend money, while customers are encouraged to use Current’s services because they don’t have to worry about any hidden, overdraft or minimum balance fees. This is ideal for the underbanked — people who generally live paycheck to paycheck, work in the gig economy, or are generally low-wage. This demographic has been largely ignored by traditional banks because they’re not as profitable as more affluent customers, but Current’s business model enables them to make money without it coming out of the customers’ pockets.
This business model also has empowered Current to develop features and services that traditional banks can’t or won’t. Hadi believes this is rooted in their technology…