The AltFi view on fintech super apps: The European race is on!

By AltFi on Monday 3 May 2021

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

As fintech apps add more and more products to their apps, have we already seen the first 'super app'? Or is it still a distant dream?

The AltFi view on fintech super apps: The European race is on!
Image source: AltFi.

Weekly Leading Article

Hardly a day goes by without a fintech releasing a new product or service, taking them a step closer to becoming a one-stop-shop for all their customers’ financial needs. First, we unbundle. Then we re-bundle.

In Asia, more specifically China, the likes of AliPay and WeChat have clocked up nearly 1 billion users apiece by blending digital financial services with other useful services such as e-commerce. 

Will the West follow a similar trend? Who will be the winner? Do they currently walk among us? And do consumers in Europe and North America, the two largest markets for financial services, even want this?

Just last week, AltFi exclusively revealed that Revolut is set to take its ‘super app’ one step closer to being truly a ‘super app’.

The fintech posted, then hastily deleted, a blog post revealing that its paying users would soon be able to remove any Bitcoin they held in Revolut, with some caveats, of course. 

In recent years, Klarna, one of the biggest fintechs in the world, has pivoted towards becoming a ‘super app’ by bundling the shopping experience directly into its mobile app, an increased attempt to shed its purely buy-now-pay-later origins.

The fintech also offers select users savings accounts and offers full bank accounts for its customers in Germany, all thanks to the full Swedish banking licence it obtained in 2017.

Klarna is even branching out into the software-as-a-service sector, offering its open banking platform to businesses in 24 countries, including cryptocurrency broker Safello.

Similarly, Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) was granted a full banking licence by the Australian regulator at the end of last year and was given the green light by the UK regulator to offer investment and digital wealth products.

And it’s not just European fintechs jumping on the ‘super app’ bandwagon.

As the ‘original fintech’, US payments giant PayPal has a pretty good head start on its rivals. It’s got 361m users after all. 

After sticking in the payments swimlane for two decades, recently it’s started branching out, joining forces with Coinbase to allow the cryptocurrency platform’s users to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum and other coins using its payment network. Further expansion could be on the cards.

With tens of millions of users between them, all of those mentioned above have proved their worth far beyond the humble fintech enthusiast customer.

But to reach true ‘super app’ status, a lot of explosive growth will be needed ahead. The race is on.

The AltFi Leader is a new weekly view for 2021 from our editorial team. We’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts, feedback and constructive criticism: editorial@altfi.com

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