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Battle of the US Challengers: Investments

Welcome back to the Battle of the US Challengers!

This the 5th installment to our 6-part series. So far we have examined our 13 Challengers according to their Digital Onboarding, Debit Card Management, and Wealth Management. The latter category spans over the last 2 episodes including this one. We first compared them on how they could help customers Save money and then Budget it. For our 3rd and last consecutive battle in Wealth Management we will be looking at another critical set of features: Investments.

Why Investments?

With Cryptocurrency booming worldwide and more and more people getting interested in investing their money, it is no wonder that customers are looking for ways to do that through their banks.

One the one hand, being able to make their investments through their bank simplifies for them the process since they won’t have to juggle between different applications or webpages. On the other hand it provides a sense of security as the same providers who are responsible for safeguarding your money will be responsible for your investments. This is especially important as it will additionally serve to offer that transparency many people are looking for cryptocurrency investments. Finally, investment features undoubtedly pave the way towards the democratization of investing, a topic that people consider too complex to get into.

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This is what pushed us to select Investments through digital banking as the battleground for our 5th fight. The 13 Challengers will be competing for the top spot based on their features for:

  • Opening an Investment Account
  • Buy/Selling Stocks & ETFs
  • Buy/Selling Cryptocurrencies
  •  Providing any additional investment tools.

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The contenders

Acorns

Aspiration

Betterment

Chime

Dave

Daylight

Envel

MoneyLion

N26

Revolut

SoFi

Stash

Varo

 

Of these 13 US Challengers, according to FinTech Insights only 7 will be competing in this battle: Acorns, Aspiration, Betterment, MoneyLion, Revolut, SoFI and Stash. The remaining Challengers – Chime, Dave, Daylight, Envel, N26 and Varo bank – offer no investment features for customers.

 

The Battle

 

Note: while we included the UX score for opening the investment accounts in these 7 Challengers, we didn’t consider it as a determining factor for the winner of this battle. While opening an investment account is a prerequisite for being a contender, the two different ways in which these accounts were opened – a few of them during the digital onboarding process, others as a separate process later – did not allow for an objective comparison. This explains the wide difference between the UX scores of these Challengers.

What impressed us?

  • Acorns customers during the process of opening their investment accounts automatically create investment portfolios. These are built according to their preferences regarding their investment risk, growth potential, level of expertise and how much access they wish to have.
  • Aspiration provides customers with the “Redwood Fund”, a fossil fuel-free fund which invests only in companies with sustainable environments that have growth potential on par with the Challenger’s environmental initiatives.
  • Betterment customers can create their portfolio according to their investment preferences (e.g., risk level). They can also open a retirement account by selecting an investment portfolio and their impact on the world (i.e. environmental, social) and if they want to opt in to auto-adjust its allocation.
  • During the process for opening their investment accounts, MoneyLion customers are asked about the level of investment risk, their preferences in stocks, the level of fluctuation and their affiliation to the stock exchange. Then their portfolio is created according to their preferences.
  • SoFi customers have the ability to create different diversified portfolios according to the types of shares these include. For example, they can create a Social Network portfolio which will incorporate stocks from companies like Facebook, Linkedin, Amazon, Apple. Also as per its name, the social spectrum of the Challenger allows them to socialize  to follow other investors and see their investments allocation.
  • Stash offers its customers a retirement program with an account and plan of their choice. This account is funded with either manual or automatic investments which are set to grow the money put aside. Additionally, customers are provided with custodial accounts for kids which function as accounts that will help teach children about investments and invest for them for future goals such as going to college.

The winner!

The winner of this month’s Battle of the US Challengers is… SoFi!

Clapping

Through an easy and intuitive process customers can in 44 steps open their investment account in a user journey that is UX-evaluated at 109 out of 1000 according to our Perfect 1000 scoring system. Customers can buy and sell Stocks, ETFs and Cryptocurrencies using a comprehensive and modern tool that simplifies the process. They can also monitor their bought stocks and cryptocurrencies or any other that they want as well as their price fluctuation. including following other popular investors and their investing movements.

SoFi Buy Crypto, Stock and overviewSoFi Buy Crypto, Stock and overview

The Challenger provides customers with the ability to create diversified portfolios, according to the type of stocks that are included. Car company portfolios for car company stocks, tech portfolio for tech companies only etc.. In addition, users can, if they want, follow other popular investors and see their investing movements.

Overview of the  pricing of Bitcoin in SoFi

Overview of the price fluctuation of Bitcoin in SoFi

To top it all off, SoFi represents the one of the only two Challengers in the US that allow the customers to own and trade cryptocurrencies; the other being Revolut. MoneyLion has also announced its intention to offer them as well in the future. SoFi offers an impressive 21 different cryptocurrency coins that its customers can choose from. The Challenger seems to have realized the customer’s infatuation with cryptocurrencies which have taken the industry by storm over the past few years.

Overview of other Investors in SoFi

Overview of other Investors in SoFi

And with SoFi’s victory we conclude the wealth management category of battles. What this battle clearly indicates is that Challengers banks are already beginning to understand the importance and opportunity that digital banking investment features represent. For non-expert users that have not ever considered investing, these Challengers offer an integration with their banking space to help them learn, try and experiment with it in a safe environment.

 

Tune in next month for our final battle: Support

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More Battles 

Here’s the US edition

And don’t forget the UK edition 

The Author

Sotiris Fousekas
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.

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