Neobank Xinja aims for 2019 bank account launch

“We’re a bank!”

That’s the latest news from Aussie neobank Xinja, who announced on Tuesday that they had been granted Restricted Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution status from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

That means the neobank will now be able to begin to accept deposits from the public, though those will initially be limited to $250,000 for individuals and up to $2 million in total deposits until it is able to secure a full ADI licence.  

At present Xinja hasn’t released a transaction account or savings account to the public, but the digital bank stated that it hopes to roll both out in mid-2019, subject to them being granted a full banking licence.

“We are super excited and this announcement confirms our belief that Xinja represents the new way of banking in Australia. It brings us one step closer to fulfilling our purpose, which is to help people make more out of their money,” said Xinja co-founder and CEO, Eric Wilson.

“Xinja is all about making banking easy, frictionless and even fun so that people can make better, faster money decisions without the angst."

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Aussies can already test out the fee-free Xinja prepaid debit card, which features free ATM withdrawals in Australia and overseas (although some ATM providers may charge a fee) as well as no currency conversion fee (they will refund the 3.5% margin). And the beta version of the Xinja mobile app is also available to download.

In fact, according to Xinja, 23,000 people have already signed up.

Xinja is also planning to launch a suite of home loans to the general public in 2019, having already secured an Australian Credit Licence from ASIC earlier this year.

Is 2019 set to be the year of the neobank?

Xinja is not alone in announcing 2019 as the likely time for a more expansive public launch, with fellow digital bank 86 400 recently staking its hopes on a public release early next year.

European fintech giant Revolut, which already boasts over 2 million customers worldwide,  has also announced its intention to hit Australian shores in 2019, and reports suggest that it has already attracted 20,000 Australians to its waiting list.

                                        Image: Xinja Co-founder and CEO, Eric Wilson

In a recent interview with the Australian Financial Review, Wilson welcomed competition in the digital banking space, especially if it resulted in wider changes to ethics and practices in Australian banking.

"We don't want to be the only ones in the market. We'd like four or five of us out there. The more the better to revolutionise this industry," he said.

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Keen to boost your neobank knowledge before Xinja and other digital banks fully launch in 2019? Check out our guide to digital banks, or stay glued to the Mozo fintech hub for the latest guides and articles on financial and banking technology.