The 4 credit card challengers looking to disrupt the market in 2021

By Aisling Finn on Thursday 29 July 2021

Alternative Lending

Credit cards and fintech seems like a match made in heaven, here are the top alternative credit card providers in 2021.

The 4 credit card challengers looking to disrupt the market in 2021
Image source: Rupixen/Unsplash

Fintechs have disrupted the digital banking industry, trading and investing, wealth management, pensions and the property market to name but a few and now they’re turning to one of the last mainstays of the financial industry: credit cards.

The credit card industry has been painfully slow to innovate and adapt to change and now a handful of fintechs are looking to make waves in the sector.

With the rise of buy-now-pay-later (or Deferred Payment Credit as the FCA is now referring to it), consumers are getting increasingly comfortable with alternative credit providers.

So, here is our list of the top 4 credit card challengers looking to disrupt the industry in 2021.

Zopa 

The OG fintech Zopa made its first foray into the world of credit cards in October last year after it secured its full banking licence.

Zopa’s colourful card boasts a handful of novel features, including a ‘Safety Net’ option that ringfences part of a customer’s available credit for emergencies, and real-time credit balance updates.

The card also includes all the fintech-y features one would expect from a new card+app product in 2020, including instant notifications on purchases, spending categorisation, the ability to freeze the card and block certain types of purchases like gambling.

Zopa’s credit card comes with a representative rate of 34.9 per cent APR variable based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

Earlier this year, the fintech teamed up with ClearScore to bring open banking to the credit card industry.

By combining real-time open banking data held by ClearScore and Zopa, users will be able to find out immediately if they are pre-approved for a Zopa credit card, with the credit card offered via ClearScore’s marketplace carrying a personalised APR and limit depending on a customer’s creditworthiness and personal financial situation.

Find out more about Zopa’s credit card here.

Jaja Finance 

Founded in 2015, Jaja is one of the longest-running credit card disruptors out there, but it’s had a pretty tumultuous time.

The Jaja card has no annual fee but does charge foreign exchange fees when spending abroad and the interest rates vary depending on what you plan to do with your card. 

For purchases, the card carries an interest rate of anywhere between 18.9 - 34.9 per cent, for money transfers it’s 13.9 - 29.9 per cent and for cash advances, it’s 18.9 per cent. The upper credit limit on a Jaja credit card is £20,000 and the minimum is £250.

Back in 2019, the fintech bought the Bank of Ireland’s (BoI) British credit card portfolio for £530m in a bid “to “become a major player” and also signed a partnership with the bank to become its UK consumer credit card issuer.

As well as scooping up the BoI’s UK credit card customers, Jaja also bagged the AA’s and the Post Office’s existing credit card users as part of the £530m deal.

But those deals weren’t exactly plain sailing. A series of teething problems saw the alternative credit card provider put its own credit card on pause and there were reports that AA and the Post Office’s customers that had been transferred over to Jaja were struggling to access their own money. 

At the time of the acquisition, Jaja had a 6,000-person-long waitlist for new customers here in the UK, although the fintech is not currently accepting new customers.

Find out more about Jaja’s credit card here.

Tymit 

Launched in 2019, Tymit offers its customers a buy-now-pay-later style credit card, with users able to split their transactions three, six, 12 or 24 equal monthly instalments, with interest only charged on purchases over three months.

 Customers are charged anywhere between 12 - 22.7 per cent on purchases between £500 and £15,000.

The credit card disruptor also doesn’t charge foreign exchange or monthly and annual fees.

To open a Tymit account, customers must be over the age of 21, be a UK citizen and have an Android or iPhone to download the app.

Earlier this year, the fintech partnered with fellow fintech Marqueta for its card issuing and payment processing.

Find out more about Tymit’s credit card here.

Bip 

Accessible credit provider NewDay released Bip to help access a previously untapped corner of the market.

Bip is the UK’s first digital-only credit card, which officially launched just earlier this week, offering customers the chance to add their new credit card straight to their digital wallet. 

The credit card disruptor offers no annual, foreign exchange or late payment fees and just one interest rate, 29.9 per cent APR.

New customers can simply sign up for the credit card on the app, in a completely digital and paperless application process that takes only a few minutes.

Bip allows customers to add their own spending caps and receive alerts and warning notifications when they are getting close to spending their limit, as well as an optional freeze cap that halts all transactions after a certain amount has been spent.

The new credit card also enables customers to calculate how much they can save on interest, helping users to understand the impact of increasing or decreasing payments would have. 

Find out more about Bip’s credit card here.

Did we miss anyone out? Or is there a credit card challenger you think we should be keeping an eye on? Let us know editorial@altfi.com

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Companies in this Article:

ClearScore
Financial Conduct Authority
October
Zopa