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Neobanks are coming into full swing in India.
And it’s great to see all the innovative ideas and completions they bring in. Because this is the future, not the conventional banking system we currently have. These Neobanks are easy to get started, equally safe, and much more cost-efficient.
Here are some of the top Indian Neobanks you can try your hands on.
And no, Paytm Payments Bank isn’t one of them.
Before we get into the list, here’s a little introduction about Neobanks.
What is a Neobank?
A Neobank is a digital-only bank without any physical presence. There is no branch where you can deposit cash, no paperwork, no physical visits.
But a Neobank isn’t actually a bank if you take RBI regulations in the note. In fact, any of the below services don’t claim to be a bank. They are financial apps and services. They don’t have the infrastructure to hold your deposits.
These Neobanks use other conventional banks as their treasury, so to speak. Your account with these Neobanks is hosted and regulated by the financial institutions RBI has licensed as banks. Such as HDFC, and ICICI bank.
The money you deposit in your Neobank account is controlled and processed by the partner bank. Think of your Neobank account number as a proxy between you, the Neobank and the partner bank.
All these Neobanks do is make everything easier for their customers. You don’t have to go through tons of paperwork. Support is faster than conventional banks; their app is much modern, and you don’t have to pay tons of other fees.
And that’s why my generation loves it.
Let’s begin our list of the best Neobanks in India.
Fi was the first Neobank I had any interest in. Before its launch, we had indigenous digital banks or temporary projects that soon went out of business due to various reasons, including failed marketing.
The best example is IDFC Niyo. They had a great product but failed to market it to the right audience.
But Fi did exactly what should have been done – target the younger generation and give them what they need. A free savings account, rewards for saving money, excellent UX, and no paperwork whatsoever.
And they successfully conveyed their message to the right audience.
Fi has partnered with Federal Bank. This means when you open a savings account with Fi, you are actually opening an account with Federal Bank as well.
They have a great UX and the Fi App looks neat. It’s currently available only for Android Smartphones. So far, there has been very active development and users have loved it.
Opening an account is straightforward. You need to signup for their waitlist and they will send you a Fi.nite code using which you can create an account on Fi app. Though in most cases you will get instant access to your Fi.nite code.
Fi allows you to open a zero balance savings account where up to 5 lakhs is insured by RBI.
In the app, you can analyze your past transactions as well. See clearly where and how much you spend most of your money.
You get a free debit card, powered by VISA. You can withdraw cash, transact online, use PayWave and block it with one click whenever you wish to.
There are no charges for NEFT, IMPS or RTGS transfers. You get 2 checkbooks every quarter for free. There are no forex charges as well.
If you are familiar with ICICI bank’s iWish feature, Fi offers something similar to it. You can create FIT rules and automatically save a set amount every time you perform a transaction. And you get rewarded for saving your money.
There’s another feature called Stash. Think of it as a flexible fixed deposit. You can deposit any amount, anytime and earn 5.1% interest. P.a.
You get access to chat support 24×7. Fi is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
Finally, Fi has by far the best team behind it. The group standing behind Fi consists of ex-Google, PayPal, PhonePe and Paytm employees.
I rate Fi as the #1 Neobank in India.
Jupiter is the most popular Neobank as of 2021 in India.
All thanks to their marketing and approach to building a bank with millennials as a community project.
Jupiter created a forum for people to join in and share features, identify bugs, and test the beta app, making it a fan favorite.
With Jupiter, you are rewarded for spending money. For every single expense transaction, you earn 1% as a reward. This reward is called “jewels” which don’t expire and are convertible in cash whenever you want.
Now that’s a big reason to use Jupiter debit cards and UPI. You are assured a 1% return every time you spend money, paid in cash.
Jupiter is also partnered with Federal Bank, which means everything Fi offers, Jupiter does too. Opening a savings account with Jupiter is super easy. You just have to complete video KYC and deposit INR 3000 for the first time to get access to all features.
You get a free VISA debit card, packed beautifully as well. There are no annual charges, no maintenance charges, or transaction charges.
Jupiter offers deep insights into your spending. It classifies transactions into multiple categories and allows you to analyse where your money is going. A good way to see where you’re overspending.
Since it’s powered by UPI, Jupiter can pull up multiple bank accounts connected to your number and show you your current liquid net worth. Similar to what INDmoney does.
There is another savings deposit feature called Pots.
You can set certain financial goals and deposit money in these Pots automatically. And you’ll get a reward, too, when you complete your goal. No fees for withdrawal, whatsoever.
Compared to Fi, Jupiter will charge you a fee after the 6th IMPS transaction. There’s also a fee for NEFT/RTGS after 5 transactions in a year.
Jupiter’s support team is fast, and they have a very active community forum as well.
Jupiter is also only available on Android, and the iOS app is under beta review.
3. FREO.Money (FreoSave)
Freo is another Neobank project I’ve been closely following.
It’s still under development, but there are certain key features that might intrigue you, such as:
- 7% interest rate – This beats FD and Debt Funds, that too on a zero maintenance savings account.
- Credit line along with your savings account.
- Freo card – a credit card with zero fees, and 30-days interest-free period.
Their flagship app – Money Tap has improved a lot in recent months. It’s an app that allows you to take an instant personal loan. SO far, they have disbursed INR 4,000 crores through Money Tap.
And they are using the lessons learned with Money Tap to create Freo, a credit-led savings account.
Freo is going to be in partnership with Equitas Small Finance Bank.
Freo is still under the Alpha testing phase. There may be more interesting features coming. If you’d like to be one of the first Freo users, you can signup for their waitlist at Freo.Money.
To me, it looks very promising and innovative.
You can also give NiyoX neobank a try. It’s Equitas Small Finance bank-powered digital savings account. You will earn a 7% interest rate with NiyoX and you can also invest in Mutual Funds using their 2-in-1 account.
NiyoX has a very cool-looking debit card, but it’s free for the first year only.
NiyoX doesn’t have as many features as Jupiter or Fi, but it does the job.
And you can log in to your NiyoX account via net banking as well, which the rest of the above three don’t allow natively. You will have to register with their partner bank to access net banking.
There are a couple of other Neobanks in India that didn’t make this list, such as RazorPayX and Neobank by Atlantis, including a bunch of state-specific digital banks.
Because these banks aren’t as good as Jupiter or Fi. RazorPayX is built specifically for businesses.
Neobanks are still a new buzzword for Indians, so we will have to wait and watch how things play out as new competitors come in this space with new ideas and different approaches.
Till then, Jupiter, Fi, and Freo are the three best Neobanks in India.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you’ve/you’re using Jupiter or Fi, share your experience below.