UK Neobanks Expand Offerings as New Player Enters Space, UAE Digital Bank Targets Gen Z

digital banking

In this week’s top neobank news for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), United Kingdom digital bank Monese launched a feature to help improve the creditworthiness of credit-poor individuals, estimated at 5.2 million in the country, ultimately facilitating their access to loans at affordable rates.

Read more: UK Challenger Banks Facilitate Loan Access With Credit Builder Tools

According to the London-based FinTech, the Credit Builder service will enable its existing customers in the U.K. to build their credit history and improve their credit score with the three main credit agencies and lenders in the country.

Monese Vice President of Credit Garrett Cassidy said at the onset of the pandemic access to credit emerged at the top of the list of features customers — many of whom are “gig workers, side-hustlers, creatives and go-getters” — said they needed the most from an account.

“The problem is that many of them are locked out of credit because they are credit invisible, so we can say with some confidence that our customers need Monese’s Credit Builder,” Cassidy said.

The Monese announcement comes on the heels of the launch of other credit-building features by rival digital banks in the U.K. in recent months. Both Tide and Cashplus products are targeted at their small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients and will help businesses build a corporate credit score for easy loan access.

Read interview with Cashplus CEO: UK Challenger Bank Helps SMBs Build Credit History and Access Loans

This week also saw the arrival of a new player into the U.K. neobank space. AltPay, a business-to-consumer (B2C) digital bank, aims to “take away the hurdles of traditional banking and provide a focused product that will serve the primary needs of regular people and commercially savvy entrepreneurs,” the FinTech said in a statement on its website.

The company also plans to launch a card program sometime this year that will be available to individuals and companies operating in the European Economic Area (EEA), with access to a broad range of products, including contactless technology and real-time access to account balance via physical or virtual cards, contactless technology, refundable and non-refundable cards.

Outside Europe, Savii, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based neobank for teens in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region announced on Monday (Jan. 24) that it had launched its services in Bahrain after raising an undisclosed pre-seed.

Founded in 2021, the young startup has been working together with Gen Z representatives to tailor the product offering to their needs, while equipping them with financial literacy tools to help them become financially independent.

After the launch of its first product, a loyalty app through which teen customers can earn cash by recommending the product to their peers, the company is gearing up to extend its offering by rolling out a prepaid debit card and digital wallet that enables customers to make purchases both online and in-store.