Chime is the Overwhelming Leader Among Neobanks

In recent years, Americans have not only been conducting more of their banking online but have also begun moving to digital-only banking options. Often referred to as “neobanks,” these FinTechs typically feature a number of perks while charging few if any fees. While the number of such offerings has continued to rise steadily, it seems as though one stands head and shoulders above the pack in terms of customers: Chime.

According to eMarketer, Chime will have 13.1 million account holders in the United States this year, marking a 30.7% increase from 2020. Given this trajectory, eMarketer projects that the neobank will have amassed 22.7 million users by 2025. Sharing insight into Chime’s success, eMarketer’s senior forecasting analyst Oscar Bruce Jr. explained, “Chime has attracted hundreds of thousands of new users each month over the past year, largely because of its responsiveness to customer needs. Last year, it gave users access to their stimulus checks up to five days before they were scheduled to be released.”

Of the also-rans, there’s a new (albeit still distant) number two. The platform Current will have 4 million U.S. customers this year, nearly doubling the 2.1 million account holders it had in 2020. Commenting on Current’s recent momentum, Bruce stated, “Current offers free checking accounts with no overdraft fees, early processing of paycheck direct deposits, and point rewards on debit card purchases, among other benefits and services.” He also pointed out the neobank’s remarkable youth appeal, noting of Current, “It has attracted a young base of customers with an average age of 27, about half of whom have never had a bank account before.” That young-skewing figure is likely thanks to Current’s efforts such as partnering with YouTube star Mr. Beast to offer exclusive perks on the platform.

With Current’s rise, it has now has overtaken the Earth-conscious Aspiration, which will have 3 million users this year. Nevertheless, eMarketer anticipates that figure to double by 2025. Meanwhile, in fourth place with 2.7 million users is Varo — which actually became the first FinTech to gain a national bank charter. By 2025, eMarketer expects that the neobank-turned-bank will have 6.4 million customers, potentially matching Aspiration. Finally, “other neobank accountholders” amounted to 2.5 million.

Looking to the neobank market as a whole, eMarketer projects that accounts will nearly double over the next few years. From 20.2 million accounts in 2021, the site expects that figure to rise to 39.1 million in 2025. Similarly, while just 5.6% of the U.S. population used a neobank last year, by 2025, approximately 14.5% of the popular could be using such a service.

Although Chime’s massive lead may be deflating to some aspiring FinTechs, the popularity of the platform likely bodes well for neobanks on the whole. Once customers see the benefits that digital-only banking options like Chime have to offer, it stands to reason that they’d then feel more comfortable trying other offerings. Plus, with a new crop of neobanks focusing more and more on niche groups of consumers, there’s surely plenty of room under the tent. With all of that, it seems as though the neobank explosion will only continue from here.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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