As one of the world’s largest financial centers, London has accommodated a host of international banks for the last couple centuries; more recently, it has seen the rise of a strong fintech startup ecosystem. With the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the U.K.’s tech innovators are once again forging a path for fintech entrepreneurs across the globe looking to cash in on the new digital currency craze.
But beyond digital coinage, London’s fintech innovators offer financial services similar to many established banks—but using an online/mobile platform for faster, more convenient/user-friendly, and cost effective services, thereby making it easier for users to move their money around. The following are 13 of London’s innovators in this space you need to know about in 2017.
iwoca was designed to give small businesses requiring access to funding a digital alternative to complicated application forms, fees and stressful repayment commitments. To date, the company has already loaned £200 million (USD $259,218,000) to U.K. businesses.
PandaPay eliminates the social awkwardness that comes when the check arrives after dinner out with a group of friends. The mobile app easily—and fairly—splits restaurant bills, while eliminating wait time and paper receipts.
NoviCap’s platform allows users to put up their company’s invoices for sale for investors to compete for—once purchased, it deducts a 10% fee from the invoice and funds are transferred to your bank account. The company has been featured by Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, to name a few.
Monzo is essentially a bank that operates through a mobile app. Notable features include spending notifications, budget management tools, receipt storage, and more direct money transfers than conventional banks—all without traditional service fees.
TransferWise aims to remove hidden costs from international bank transfers by transferring money from one currency to another as close as possible to the actual exchange rate. The company currently has over 1 million users and is backed by high profile investors such as Sir Richard Branson.
Trussle was designed to help users more efficiently find the best mortgage deal—the platform searches over 11,000 deals from 90 lenders to find the perfect offer. Not only does it remove the need to manually research numerous companies, the solution also allows users to track their mortgages and compare them with other offers.
Nutmeg is an investment firm that combines the best elements of a high-end investing service with the cost effectiveness and ease-of-use of an online offering, resulting in an experience superior to one of traditional banks. The solution is particularly useful for ISAs and pensions; however, it can also be used for general investment purposes as well.
Currency Cloud enables global payments with a rich set of currency conversion and payment APIs, removing the need for banks and their associated transaction fees. It also allows users to purchase foreign currency through its exchange.
FINTECH Circle is an organization dedicated to supporting the burgeoning fintech space with a myriad of resources such as education materials and funding opportunities. Some of the member firms in its FINTECH circle portfolio include ANZ, Coles, BNP Paribas, The BlackMore Group, and PostFinance, among others.
Intelletec is a recruitment agency that specializes in sourcing qualified candidates for fintech startups. Some notable focus areas include cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum), payment services, and online security.
Revolut is a mobile wallet app with a twist: users also receive a physical MasterCard, to which they recharge via a debit account. The card/app can be used abroad with no fees and can also transfer money, create budgets, and track expenses.
Azimo is arguably the cheapest way to send money abroad—the mobile app allows physical cash to be sent abroad to one of 70 countries for free in just a matter of hours. The company boasts over a million users and has been featured in CNN, The Economist, and The Guardian.
Payfriendz is a free mobile app designed to facilitate more laid-back money transfers between friends. Users can check their balances in real time and even send/request money with GIFs.
As of 2017, there really is a large variety of Fintech companies centered in London. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. You will also notice that in London there seems to be a movement to try and reduce fees as much as possible, make transfers quickly and accurately, and an attempt to move away from your physical wallet and towards an online (or mobile) wallet. Watch out for these companies, because one day you may be banking with them.
From apps for sending money abroad to smart invoice financing platforms, these 13 fintech startups are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to London’s digital finance pioneers. Be sure to keep them on your radar in 2017 and beyond.