New digital bank “Up” launches in Australia

Alison Banney 9 October 2018 NEWS

Up is backed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and offers tech-driven savings tools, round ups and a 2.75% p.a. interest rate.

New digital bank Up has officially launched in Australia today following a successful two-month beta trial with more than 1,500 customers. Up is a fully-digital, cloud-hosted bank run through an app offering multiple savings accounts, called Life Savers, with an interest rate of up to 2.75% p.a. and no fees.

The Up app enables users to create multiple Life Saver accounts to organise their individual savings goals, and offers up to 2.75% p.a. on each account up to a combined balance of $50,000. There are no deposit requirements or withdrawal restrictions to meet to earn this bonus interest rate. However, the 2.75% p.a. is an introductory rate for the first four months of opening the account only, and after this the rate will drop to 0.75% p.a.

Saving and budgeting tools

The app's Naked Truth feature offers rich, real-time data on when and where customers are spending their money. Instead of a transaction appearing in a customer's transaction history under the merchant's trading name, which may be difficult to recognise, Up lists transactions by the name of the store or restaurant so they're easily identifiable. Plus, it lists the exact time of the transaction, the location and even the merchant's logo.

Up leverages the user's transaction data to provide helpful Weekly Spend push notifications with spending insights unique to each customer. These weekly notifications provide customers with a snapshot of their spending for the week, and how it compared to previous weeks. It also organises transactions into categories each month, for example entertainment, food and bills, to help users meet their savings goals and stick to their budget.

Up co-founder Dom Pym said, “There’s been a lot of chatter about new-age banking alternatives arriving on the market. But the team has just been focused on actually getting one live. Up exists to simplify peoples’ lives and help them to create financial freedom through technology, innovation and creativity."

Backed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

Up is backed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and the banking products offered via Up including its Life Saver accounts are issued by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Up is a digital bank, but isn't quite a neobank as a neobank by definition is a bank that doesn't rely on any existing legacy systems or services run by existing banks. In comparison Xinja, volt and 86 400 are three examples of digital banking startups striving to become neobanks and receive their own banking licence. So far, volt is the only neobank to receive a restricted banking licence.

“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s strong track-record provides us with credible banking authority, coupled with the creative licence to design Up in the most ‘non-bank’ way possible. It has meant we can offer customers a new way to manage their money ahead of everyone else. The alternative would have been to apply for a restricted banking licence and be in the same boat as all other upcoming digital banks – unable to launch in any meaningful way until at least 2019.”

Up offers Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Garmin Pay and FitBit Pay, and is expected to announce further partnerships at its Sydney launch event later this week. Up is available to download from the App Store or Google Play, and you can follow the prompts to set up your Life Saver account/s.

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