by Sotiris Fousekas on
16th September 2021
15 min read
Welcome to the Final Battle of the US Challengers
It has been another great journey for our team, discovering the potential of Challenger banks in the US. We immensely enjoyed traveling the US planes in search of top Challenger for the last 6 months.
Our Battles ranged various topics:
For our final Battle of the US Challengers, the battleground will be Support
Support is a fundamental category for any customer product but it is especially important for products that are critical to the customers wellbeing. There is nothing more important to customers than feeling safe about their finances and that their money is protected and cared for by the bank. While the bank’s security certainly plays a vital role in increasing customer trust and providing that sense of security, Support is extremely important as well.
Support is being there for customers when they need to be assisted, educated and protected. It often also means being there when the customers are in a vulnerable state. Whether they simply need to ask a question about a process, get advice on how to boost their saving attempts or urgently dispute a transaction and shield their accounts from various threats, support teams should be by their side. Customers need to feel protected and a responsive and helpful Support goes a long way to that.
It is, however, a tricky issue for Challengers as by their definition they do not offer a fundamental Support channel: bank branches. They are required to offer the same level of customer support primarily through their digital channels, which can be an impressive feat. Yet, their popularity indicates that what they offer to customers is truly something that they need.
For the above reasons, we decided that Support will be the last Battle fought. Specifically we will be examining the support digital banking features the 13 contenders offer.
Our aid one last time will be .
What impressed us
- Out of the 13 US Challengers, according to , 10 of them offer Chat bot support. Only Aspiration, Betterment and Varo bank do not offer any chat support features. All of the remaining 10 Challengers offer both chat bot and representative support.
- Community blogs. It is always exciting to see Challengers building not just digital banking offerings but also self-serving communities where customers can discuss with other customers and representatives about issues and concerns they might have. Besides serving to solve current customer issues quickly without the necessary involvement of representatives it also boosts trust for customers and transforms banking into a social experience where customers find compassion, understanding and help from people going through the same problem. Kudos to Revolut, Envel.
- Place in queue: it is always important for customers to be notified of the amount of time they have to wait and invest. SoFi lets customers know their place in line as they wait to talk to a representative.
- Check Service Status: Revolut offers its customers the ability to check the status of all its online presence for any downtime. If for example, they have an issue with their debit card payments they can check if there is a customer-wide issue with the Challenger before notifying the support team in the case that this is an issue with their personal account.
- SoFi Learn: the Challenger provides customers with a space where they can be educated about important financial lessons through informative articles. For example, they can know all about what the credit score is, its importance, the status (good or bad) of their credit score and some action to improve it.
And the winner is….
Envel and Revolut. We have another double crowning!
Congratulations to both US Challengers!
The two US Challengers both offer extensive support features and help to their customer base. Firstly, they offer intuitive chat bot support through which customers can quickly talk to automated agents and receive an answer to their questions or problems. The chatbots are quite helpful and can navigate them to other parts of the application where their issue will be resolved or be guided to the blog for a guide. And if that doesn’t solve their issue or it is more complex, they are able to ask to talk to a live representative.
Additionally, both Challenger have created blogs where customers can find educational information and guides on any financial or banking issue they need as well as easy solutions to their problems.
However, what makes these 2 banks stand out is the community spaces they have created for their customers. These are online places where customers can chat to each other and help one another when they face similar problems or have issues other members have tackled in the past. In such communities customers can feel safe and protected as they find a space where other people can hear them with compassion towards their problem. At the same time a space is provided for discussion on important financial matters that concern them, possible solutions, as well as what they would like to see from their bank.
Finally, the Challengers provide their customers the chance to chat not only between them but also representatives of the bank to discuss what they feel the future of their banking should be like. They can leave feedback, suggest improvements and write down ideas that would supercharge their experience.
That’s all folks! With our final fight we finish a great chapter that began back in April: the Battle of the US Challengers. It is a fitting way to be ending such a series with an episode where two banks are showcased and take the win by offering online spaces which serve to truly benefit customers.
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Here’s the US edition
And don’t forget the UK edition
Sotiris is VP of FinTech Insights Product, crafting the roadmap and operations. New metrics, new ways of presenting the data, deep-diving into the analytics and the continuous evolution of the product, based on FinTech Insights user’s feedback, are his main areas of focus.