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RBS officially launches digital bank Bó and says it has signed up around 3,500 customers

RBS hopes that Bó will attract “a few million” customers.

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Image provided by RBS

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has today (Wednesday) officially launched its digital bank Bó, as it looks to take market share from challenger banks like Monzo,Revolut and Starling.

RBS said it has signed up around 3,500 customers but is hoping for an uptick in customers when it launches an advertising blitz early next year.

It will offers customers current accounts- which come with a bright yellow payment card- through its app.

Bó CEO Mark Bailie, a long-standing RBS executive who was latterly Chief Operating Officer, told the FT he is hoping to attract "a few million" current accounts to Bó- which will have no branches but offer all its services through its app- over the next four to five years.

Bailie said: “In this digital, contactless age, people need support managing their money more than ever. It is all too easy to lose control. Our data suggests that three quarters of people in the UK are living financially unsustainable lives. We want to help change this."

 “We are launching Bó to help people build the habits and routines that will allow them do money better day-by-day and week after week so they can fund their lives and lifestyles in a more sustainable way."

 “As we’re part of NatWest, people can rely on Bó to keep their money safe. But as a digital bank, built entirely on a separate cloud-based technology, Bó is also able to harness new technology and develop rapidly in line with our customers’ needs and expectations."

 “With Bó we have an opportunity to help address a genuine societal need and to be a positive force in our customers’ lives. Our aim is to transform the nation’s attitudes and behaviour around money and I’m hugely excited to see what we can achieve.”

Jonas Templestein, Monzo co-founder, told the FT he was not overly concerned about the impact Bó would have on Monzo's own growth and said that Monzo had "created a positive shift in the industry".

Templestein said: "It would be foolish to present them having [millions of] customers already is not a bit of an advantage. But equally I think there's some advantages we have."

Potential customers can apply for current accounts through the Bó app, which is now live on both the Apple App Store and Google's Play store. 

Bó is hoping that features like instant spend alters, budgeting tools and 'Piggy Bank' savings pots will help lure in customers. Bó launched earlier this month but today is the day RBS publicly launched the bank.

Bó is one of two digital challenger brands launched by RBS this month, along with business-focused bank Mettle.

The launch of the two digital challengers by RBS signify a fightback from traditional back against digital disruptors.

It has been reported by the Daily Telegraph that RBS tried to buy Monzo in 2017.

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