You’re now spoilt for choice when it comes to using technology to manage your personal finances. Clunky legacy systems run by traditional banks are giving way to companies or apps creating bespoke technology to help you save, budget, spend, protect and invest your money in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible.
There are plenty of international fintechs tailoring their product/s for the Australian market, but we’ve focussed on Australian fintechs. Financial services is Australia’s largest industry, and we have a healthy regulatory framework that gives consumers confidence that their money will be safe.
We’ve divided the biggest players in Australian fintech into the following categories:
- Banking – Store your money
- Payments – Spend your money
- Lending – Borrow money
- Budgeting – Save your money
- Insurance – Protect your money
- Trading – Trade shares with your money
- Investing – Grow your money
- Superannuation – Retire with more money
- Cryptocurrency – A new kind of money
Banking/Income: Store your money
The growth of fintech has paved the way for digital banks called neobanks. There are no physical branches, and their lower overheads and entirely digital platform mean competitive fees, innovative features, and a user-friendly interface. While they’ve been around for years in other countries, they’ve only recently made their debut on the Australian fintech scene.
Known for their impressive user experience, Up offers customers a highly detailed spending history, the option to round up your transactions and deposit those round-ups in your savings account. They also have no account fees or foreign transaction fees.
Volt currently offers savings accounts, but they don’t have transaction accounts (yet). You don’t need to deposit a minimum amount to access their competitive interest rate, and they offer a saving ‘challenge’ to help customers get into the habit of stashing money away.
Xinja sells itself as completely independent, meaning they aren’t backed by a large Australian bank or financial institution. They don’t charge any account or card fees, and travellers benefit from no ATM fees and no currency conversion fees. Additionally, they offer an easy way to split and request payments.
Other neobanks: 86 400, Judobank, Douugh. Read our comprehensive review of Australian neobanks here.
Payments: Spend your money
Beem It is a free instant payment app that is owned by three of the big four banks (CommBank, NAB and Westpac). You can make regular payments through Beem It, but the unique benefit of the app is the ability to split payments, track requested payments, and tally and track group expenses. All you need to do is link an Australian Visa or Mastercard debit card, and you’re ready to go.
The current darling of the Australian sharemarket, Afterpay has fast become a viable alternative to credit cards. The company allows customers to ‘buy-now, pay-later’ for online and in-store purchases (without a credit check) and charges four installments. The first installment is charged up-front and the remaining three are debited fortnightly from your credit or debit card. You need to be over 18 and have a credit or debit card, and spending caps vary depending on how long you’ve used the platform.
Another in-store and online ‘buy-now, pay-later’ company, Zip Pay offers more flexibility and a longer payment schedule than Afterpay. Customers can take longer to pay back what they’ve borrowed and can make repayments weekly, fortnightly or monthly, as long as the minimum repayment of $40 is made each month. Zip Pay charges customers a flat fee and each customer can have one purchase or multiple purchases up to $1,000 limit. Zip Pay has a sister company called Zip Money.
Other payments fintechs: Openpay, and Commbank-backed Klarna.
Lending: Fintechs that let you borrow money
Wisr is Australia’s first neo-lender, which means everything is online. They offer a range of personal finance solutions, including loans between $5,000 and $50,000, a digital round-up tool which allocate spare change to credit card debt, and debt consolidation loans. Loan interest rates are personalised rates depending on your credit rating, and they pride themselves on combining the best of emerging fintech with the reliability of traditional lenders.
Another 100% digital lender, Symple aims to change the lending by offering lower rates and creating a fast and simply user experience. Without physical branches and manual processing centres, they’re able to offer lower rates to those with high credit scores, and money can be in your bank account the very next business day. They can offer a rate estimate in under two minutes, their application takes seven minutes, and you can receive a response in a minute.
Other lending fintechs: Plenti (formerly RateSetter), SocietyOne, Athena Home loans, MoneyMe
Budgeting – Fintechs that help you save your money
Frollo is a free personal finance and budget management tool that allows users to securely link all of their financial institutions together, including their bank accounts, investment portfolios (including super), overseas assets, and even loyalty points. Frollo also has a “take a challenge” feature, where you can set yourself a savings challenge and receive in-app savings prompts and notifications to help you reach your goals. Frollo is also the first fintech to become an accredited data recipients (ADR) under the new consumer data right (CDR). This mean we might be seeing more of Frollo as open banking expands in Australia.
Pocketbook is one of the original Australian budgeting apps that links with your bank accounts, credit cards and loans. It keeps track of your spending and gives you a unified view of your personal finance, and automatically sorts transactions into categories such as groceries, bills, loan payments, travel and more. Users can easily see which category takes up most of their spending which can help change spending habits and optimise saving plans. There are also bill reminders and a recommended budget to get you on track.
With an impressive set of features, MoneyBrilliant can be a little overwhelming, but when you figure it out, it’s a useful tool to help plan your personal finances and understand your spending habits. MoneyBrilliant has provided budgeting and cashflow management services for several years. More recently they have added bill management, bill optimisation, ‘people like me’ The premium version of MoneyBrilliant isn’t free, it costs $9.90 per month after a 30-day trial period.
Other budgeting fintechs: Spriggy (budgeting for kids) Spendee, Moneytree, Pocketsmith, Wiselist, PictureWealth
Insurance: Fintechs that help you protect your money
No one gets excited about insurance, but this opaque industry has been given a refresh by these new Australian fintechs.
Like other fintechs, Huddle has used technology to streamline costs and provide an elevated customer service. They’ve applied artificial intelligence, machine learning and community thinking to the insurance company model, allowing customers to submit claim forms and pictures online, and to receive money or vouchers for replacement items within minutes.
Trov’s genius insurance product lets users insure individual items and turn their insurance on and off as needed. Trov caters to those who aren’t able to access home and contents insurance, or only want to ensure a few items with a specific time-frame in mind. Users download the app, set up profile and payment details, upload images of their chosen items, and choose the protection period for their precious items. People can use Trov for a specific time-frame such as when they’re moving house, travelling with valuables, or they can choose to leave their protection on indefinitely.
Australians have a massive appetite for investment (who doesn’t want to grow their money?), but this area of personal finance hasn’t always been accessible. The fintechs below have made growing money easy for everyone, whether you’re a short-term trader or and long-term investor
Trading: Fintechs that help you trade your money
This online trading platform is billed as Australia’s cheapest online broker, and charges a flat brokerage fee of $9.50 per trade. SelfWealth doesn’t offer US shares (as of September 2020), and the platform is self-service. Users have to select their own investments and need to manage and rebalance their own portfolios, which can be daunting for novice investors.
Self Wealth offers its own ETF and there is no minimum account balance required.
Stake is an Australian owned platform for trading U.S. shares only (you can’t trade in ASX-listed shares on the platform). It’s known as the ‘Robinhood of Australia’ and investors can get exposure to thousands of stocks and ETFs on the platform, including sought-after U.S. shares like Apple, Amazon and Tesla. You don’t pay to trade, but you’ll pay a 0.7% currency conversion fee every time you transfer money into the platform.
Other trading fintechs: recently launched trading platform Superhero.
Investing: Fintechs that help you grow your money
Medium and long-Term investing
The biggest change in long-term investing in Australia has been the rise of ‘robo advice.’ Just like a human advisor, robo advisors use sophisticated algorithms to manage your investing and asset allocation – all while keeping costs low.
Stockspot provides access to professional investment services without the high costs of using a traditional financial advisor. The company uses software and algorithms to determine an investment strategy that matches individual goals and risk appetite, and continuously monitors and rebalances the portfolio in line with market movements. There’s a minimum $2,000 investment and Stockspot only buys low-fee Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), as well as offering a mobile-app and a sustainable investing option.
Raiz encourages micro-investing through a small minimum initial investment ($5). Users can invest into their Raiz account through round ups, recurring investments, and lump sum deposits. Money in your Raiz Investment Account is invested into a mix of exchange traded funds (ETFs), but, unlike Stockspot your money is put into a pooled bare trust, and there is no personal advice on how you should invest. If you’re investing small amounts be aware that the monthly $2.50 fee isn’t included in the return calculation so you’ll need to track after-fee performance yourself.
Also see: Goodments, Sixpark
Superannuation: Fintechs that help you retire with money
Zuper is a fintech superannuation fund that aims to make superannuation more approachable. The marketing is trained on the younger generation, and allows members to mix and match between Future Technology, Future Green and Future Health. All their investments are tobacco free, and members can remove fossil fuels. The colourful, fun-to-use platform allows users to check balances and payments so you can keep on top of what’s likely your largest investment.
Spaceship offers an investing platform called Spaceship Voyager, but their main offering is a technology-focused superannuation fund. The portfolio offered by Spaceship is marketed to millennials and Gen-Z and includes Australian and international shares with an emphasis on the tech sector.
Cryptocurrency: fintechs letting you access a new kind of money
There’s a vast variety of cryptocurrency fintechs around the world, including Coinbase, Binance, Bitstamp and Kraken, but consumers may feel safer investing within Australia’s regulatory environment. These are some of the bigger players in cryptocurrency in Australia.
Independent Reserve allows customers to buy, sell and trade Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies in Australia and New Zealand. They have a robust, secure and regulated platform, and have partnered with KPMG to create a ‘crypto tax calculator.’
Coinjar is a Melbourne-founded bitcoin exchange and wallet provider, and has been in operation since 2013. They’re Australia’s longest-running digital currency exchange, and have over 400,000 users. Users can trade, store, spend and receive Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on a simple interface.
CoinSpot is an Australian-based exchange that allows you to easily buy, sell or trade more than 200 cryptocurrencies, and is great for newcomers wanting to buy cryptocurrency in Australia. It’s very easy to create an account, and they have industry leading security processes, and they have 24/7 support.
Other cryptocurrency fintechs: Blockbid, BTC Markets, BuyaBitcoin, Spendher (for female investors)