Skeptical of online banking? 10 arguments to change your mind

Mobile banking, online banking, neobank, account without a bank… difficult to navigate. Behind all these new appellations, a multitude of new establishments, more or less young and more or less large. However, their popularity is only growing and their advantages are becoming clear against physical banks.

In 2021 and at the end of the health crisis, many French people have looked into the issue. Some opened a secondary bank account to try, others found their balance and migrated all of their business to a bank account at an online bank. What are the benefits for them? Why should you turn to online banking? We take stock.

These ten arguments are listed in a non-exhaustive way. For the simple reason that the profiles of each client differ. Some points will speak to you more than others. For the sake of similarity of the offers, we will talk as much about neobanks (like N26) as online banks (like Boursorama Banque) and bankless accounts (like the Nickel account). We will also clarify when a category of mobile banking is not part of an argument put forward.

1) Better manage your expenses

Our first argument is not about prices, as you might think. It concerns the applications of certain online banks and neobanks, fast and simplified, which offer tools to better understand their expenses, create budgets and know their available balance in real time.

Most online banks and neobanks offer an immediate debit card, which does not allow you to be overdrawn, but queries the account with each interaction. Thus, it is impossible to put yourself in bad shape by making a blind payment. Then, via the application, you can find your expense history classified according to the purchase categories (health, food, travel, etc.).

An interesting feature at the neobank N26 is called “Spaces”. It allows you to create sub-accounts in order to distribute your budgets. With them, it is easier to save for a project such as a trip, or secure enough funds for your rent, your food expenses, or your Netflix, Spotify subscriptions, etc.

2) Get a card quickly

Whether you are leaving for a trip abroad, returning to France after an expatriation or in the urgent need to create an account for your child or for your activity as a micro-entrepreneur, there are many reasons for the need get a bank card quickly. However, traditional banks do not have the reputation of being quick for this registration process. At online banks and neobanks, opening an account can take just a few minutes.

Boursorama Banque, for example, which offers a series of free bank accounts and cards, offers an entirely online registration process. The documents requested, such as your identity document and proof of address, can be scanned by a simple photo taken with your smartphone. Then the documents and your registration request are processed within a short time.

To go even faster, you will have to go through a neobank like N26. This will allow you to open an account in just a few minutes. Its offer is more limited than Boursorama Banque but in return offers the possibility of ordering a card in less than an hour and being able to start paying thanks to the virtual card generated via the application and used via the wallet of your smartphone (Google Pay or Apple Pay).

A final possibility, especially for foreigners, is the Nickel account. This “bankless” account, which belongs to BNP Paribas, is a joy to 2 million customers in France. It is possible to obtain a bank card from a tobacconist, just as it would be possible to obtain a Free SIM card from a self-service touch screen terminal.

Discover the Nickel account

3) Take advantage of additional security

Online banks and neobanks were the first to turn to mobile payment. To thwart the security problems of contactless payment (which does not require a secret code), they turned to the smartphone and the possibility of paying more securely.

To go further, especially when shopping online, neobanks like Revolut and N26 offer to obtain a virtual card for their purchases. If it is hacked, it will be possible to delete it. Your physical bank card will be protected.

Revolut mobile payment

Virtual bank cards © Presse-citron.net

4) Faster assistance

Being able to talk in physics with your advisor can be a real guarantee of confidence. In particular to open a savings account, obtain a loan, invest money … But remotely, it is not easy to be able to obtain assistance quickly, through online services.

Online banks and neobanks have competed in speed and offer chat services where an assistant takes care of you in a few minutes. Depending on the banks, customer service can be very good and responsive. This is the case with Boursorama Banque, BforBank, N26 and the Nickel Account.

Discover N26

5) Can’t see your advisor?

Still on the topic of customer service, maybe you’ve never seen your advisor or only once in several years. That’s a shame. Among the banking expenses of the French each year, the cost of an appointed advisor plays a large part. As with all everyday expenses, avoiding paying for services you don’t use is always relevant.

6) Reduced price

Let’s come to that. The prices of online banks and neobanks can be much more attractive than those of a traditional bank. There are several reasons for this. First, the most solid: online banks save money by not having agencies and advisers appointed. Leaving thousands of branches and employees behind can drive prices down and negotiate lower rates for savings products as well.

The second reason is competitive. The market, especially in France, is saturated. The pressure to display the best prices, especially for bank cards, is so strong that several establishments have launched themselves with a free offer. Boursorama Banque offers almost all of its cards free of charge. Among neobanks like N26, the free card is still very popular and in demand.

7) Costs abroad

Here is another reason to subscribe to an online bank or a neobank for an economic question. Abroad, on vacation or expatriate, you will be able to benefit from an international card. Online banks like Boursorama, Ma French Bank (La Banque Postale) or even the Nickel Account even offer 100% free withdrawals (without commission or exchange fees).

Discover Boursorama Banque

The costs abroad are not the only advantages of an international card at a neobank or an online bank. Depending on the card chosen, it is also possible to take advantage of insurance and assistance in the event of a problem, flight delay or even theft of luggage.

8) Take advantage of additional services

To appeal to new customers, mobile banks do not hesitate to offer welcome bonuses, as is the case with Boursorama Banque with up to 80 euros free.

But in the long term, it is also preferable for it to offer many additional services in parallel to the traditional services and products of a bank. Some, like Revolut, have turned to a marketplace with discounts at merchants, a platform for the purchase of plane tickets and hotel reservations, or the purchase of cryptocurrencies and shares.

Current account

Conditions: No income condition – Welcome and Ultim cards

Annual fees: € 0 • Initial deposit: € 300

Check deposit: ✔ • Cash deposit: ✘

Bank card

Monthly cost of the card: 0 €

Euro zone withdrawals: Free • Euro zone payments: Free

Withdrawals in foreign currency: 1.69% • Payments in foreign currency: Free

Proposed cards


Mobile payment

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9) Do you want a metal card?

This is the banking trend of the moment. Leave aside the Visa Premier or Mastercard Gold plastic cards. Neobanks, to attract customers to their paid offers, have deployed metal cards. Without too much delay, online banks like Boursorama and its Ultim Metal card followed suit.

Lately, it is the Nickel account which presented its Metal card. It has been available since September as the cheapest metal card on the market. With its 14 grams and its stainless steel design, it is a real gem, like those of Revolut and N26.

Discover the Metal Nickel card

Compte Nickel MetalCompte Nickel Metal

© Nickel

10) Traditional banks, soon online

On June 16, 2020, Societe Generale took the lead. An update of its application allowed it to introduce a series of new features and present a redesigned interface, closer to that of an online bank. This was symbolic of the general trend of traditional banks which have not said their last word.

Our last argument, therefore, focuses on the fact that all establishments will soon offer sufficiently optimized and fast digital tools. Societe Generale owns Boursorama Banque and will not hesitate to take up its innovations. The same goes for BNP Paribas with Hello bank! and the Nickel account.

The context is all the more significant given that the ING bank, ready to sell its French branch, is going to cut thousands of jobs, particularly in Belgium, and continues to close many branches. Societe Generale also, after its merger with Crédit du Nord, should depart from 3,700 employees. In 2017 and 2019 already, the establishment laid off 3,450 and 1,600 positions respectively.

Current account

Conditions: No income condition – Welcome and Ultim cards

Annual fees: € 0 • Initial deposit: € 300

Check deposit: ✔ • Cash deposit: ✘

Bank card

Monthly cost of the card: 0 €

Euro zone withdrawals: Free • Euro zone payments: Free

Withdrawals in foreign currency: 1.69% • Payments in foreign currency: Free

Proposed cards


Mobile payment

SEE MORE

1

Current account

Conditions: No income condition

Annual fees: € 0 • Initial deposit: € 10

Check deposit: ✔ • Cash deposit: ✔

Bank card

Monthly cost of the card: 0 €

Euro zone withdrawals: Free • Euro zone payments: Free

Withdrawals in foreign currency: Free • Payments in foreign currency: Free

SEE MORE

2

Current account

Conditions: No income condition

Annual fees: € 36 • Initial deposit: € 150

Check deposit: ✔ • Cash deposit: ✔

Bank card

Monthly cost of the card: 0 €

Euro zone withdrawals: Free • Euro zone payments: Free

Withdrawals in foreign currency: 2% • Payments in foreign currency: 2%

SEE MORE

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