• Pablo Fernández

Neobanks and you: are you a match?


This article was originally published by Stéphanie Gallo Triouleyre.


There is no shortage of reasons to support neobanks: responsiveness, customer experience, pricing, innovative management tools, etc. However, these solutions are not suited to all business profiles, nor to all entrepreneurs.


According to the study published last spring by the Observatoire du financement des entreprises (OFE) on access to banking services for VSEs and SMEs, it seems that very few of them have signed up with a neo-bank. 94% of those surveyed stated that they only use one or more "traditional" banks (such as Crédit Agricole, Caisse d'épargne, BNP, Crédit mutuel, etc.). Only 5% of companies say they use several banks, including at least one online bank (or neo-bank). And only 1% use the services of a neobank only.


Despite their lightning-fast development, these neobanks have clearly not yet reached the professional market. Or, to put it more positively, they still have a huge potential ahead of them.


Autonomy

" Neobanks have some interesting features for companies, says Julien Maldonato, partner in industry and financial innovation consulting at Deloitte. Firstly, the pricing aspect, with offers that are well placed in relation to traditional banks, even if the latter have made efforts to align. "The expert also points to the subject of customer experience with solutions that are natively designed for digital and mobile use. On the agenda: a simple visualisation of the main indicators or dashboards.


Another major advantage is their responsiveness and availability in terms of account opening, modification or creation of new payment methods, among others. Germain Michou-Tonning, director of partnerships at Qonto, promises, for example, that an account can be opened in a few clicks and activated in less than an hour. "Our customer service is open seven days a week to meet the needs of professionals who work on their accounts over the weekend," he also points out.


And then, neo-banking goes hand in hand with innovative services, a strong argument for those who love new technologies. "For example, they offer the possibility of attaching invoices directly to a debit or credit, which greatly simplifies accounting. Some also allow you to edit your invoices and estimates directly from the digital tool," says Audrey Blameble, founder and managing director of Come2Mind Consulting, a management consulting firm specialising in financial services. Neobanks have developed partnerships with other innovative fintechs in order to provide their customers with a wide range of financial and administrative management services as part of an innovative ecosystem. "Ultimately, the result is an increasingly successful one-stop shop. This is what seduced Thomas Billet, a freelance graphic designer and Shine customer: "I send my invoices from the app and I receive notifications when the payment arrives. It really simplifies my day-to-day management. "


All digital

The real power of neobanks is that they imagine the new uses of entrepreneurs even before they are aware of their needs," says Arnaud Richard, lawyer and former legal director of Boursorama. For entrepreneurs who are comfortable with digital tools, who like to be autonomous and to be able to intervene quickly themselves, without going through an advisor, neobanks can be an excellent solution. "But they are not suitable for all profiles. This is the case, of course, for entrepreneurs who are not at ease with the digital world, for example, and who prefer regular contact with their regular bank advisor.


Similarly, they may not be suitable for all those with recurrent cash or cheque deposit needs. Only some neo-banks offer cheque cashing and hardly any offer cash cashing. "It is true that for certain sectors, such as bakers for example, for whom cash is still very present, neobanks are not suitable for the time being as the main bank", admits Germain Michou-Tonning.


Then, there is the thorny issue of financing. Although these new actors are commonly referred to as neo-banks, most of them do not have a banking licence and are in fact payment institutions. "This means that they cannot grant overdraft facilities or credit. This is not necessarily a problem for a self-employed person or a small business that will not need any particular financing," points out Estelle Brack, strategy consultant, chief economist and specialist in banking and financial systems.

For larger companies, however, this can be a real brake. "We saw this with the health crisis, during which traditional banks scored points with the EMP. In this situation, it is not unattractive to use a neo-bank to take advantage of the ergonomics of payment services, but it is still better to have a bank that is capable of making a loan for the day when you might need it," adds the expert. But beware of double billing!

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