What’s a Challenger Bank?

I am a little confused by the concept of a challenger bank. What is it? What’s its function or its primary objective – what’s it challenging?

As a new business, you come across many obstacles. How you choose to view the obstacles can be the death of a fledgeling business, or, in some cases vindication that you have touched a raw nerve within the business sector you have chosen. This is the case for

All that was required was a bank account. Approached the high street, passed the criteria and then stop. Why? Not sure, it’s only a guess but I think it’s to do with the business offering. Quite clearly given what does, we are going to step on their toes and I empathize with that standpoint, however short sighted it is, vindicated then! So, the next step, try a challenger bank.

Challenger bank, mention no names, but after sitting in branch for what seemed an eternity, passing the various criteria checks, including the all-important live or die by the credit check – stop, do not pass go, do not collect £200. Must refer this upstairs – someone will be in touch etc, 24 hours later. Back came the answer, I turned off after unfortunately.

I, therefore, go back to my original point, what is a challenger bank and exactly what are they supposed to be challenging???

Living in a world where things are rapidly changing, disrupting the norm etc. are these so-called challenger banks, challenging the way in which banking is done, i.e. ethically or is it just a cost cutting exercise. For years the banks have been ripping us off with all sorts of things, overdraft fees, PPI, foreign currency exchange, just to name a few. So, are these challenger banks just trying to sell us the same services in a cheaper format, or are they really trying to make a difference?

I am yet to understand the notion of a challenger bank – I understand the concept of an ethical bank, and there are several that are attractive propositions but challenger banks are riding on the back of technology to make things cheaper or in some cases offering a more relaxed service, but the offering and criteria remain the same as the traditional providers.

Does challenger mean, re-brand and use tech? They all seem to work within the realms of banking rules laid down by the little club, set up by the establishment many years ago. They use the same criteria the same rules. If I am wrong, show me.

As founder of, part of our working ethos is to challenge and make a real difference. My personal aim is to challenge and give the consumer a fair crack of the whip. You can make a profit for the business and provide a product for the consumer that is fair.



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