Bó, the digital bank developed by U.K. High Street lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is being closed down by the British state-backed lender NatWest, following a six-month opening launch, according to a Yahoo Finance UK report.
One of Britain’s largest banks, Bó had been positioned to compete with FinTechs like Monzo and Revolut. Instead, RBS said Friday (May 1) that it would “wind down Bó as a customer-facing brand” in only a half-year since the neo bank was rolled out to the public.
RBS is looking to focus resources on Mettle, the second of its two digital-only challenger brands. Bó and Mettle will be merged and will target the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) market.
“The circumstances have changed,” RBS CEO Alison Rose told Yahoo Finance UK on Friday. “We’ve always said that we will look to innovate. Clearly, in the current situation, we’ve had to make prioritization choices around where we should invest and what we should do to support our existing customers.”
Roughly 11,000 “friends and family” customers will now have a minimum of two months’ notice before their accounts are closed, Rose said, referring to Bó.
“Bó was something we were testing and learning from,” she said. “It was launched in the app store, but we never undertook a consumer launch or introduced any type of acquisition targets.”
The demise of Bó collides with other high-profile firms that didn’t work out in the battle among big banks and digital-only challengers.
Bó was first launched by RBS in September 2018 to address the increasing popularity of newer electronic banks like Monzo, Revolut and Starling.
In related news, the European Union issued new rules for contactless payments, which caused confusion among neo banks like Bó. The Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulations said a bank has to verify a person’s identity whenever they make a payment that totals 100 euros ($109.45). If a customer goes over that limit on several card payments, then they have to enter a pin.