As one of the pioneering players in the world of Australian neobanks, Volt Bank is part of the technology-led banking revolution that offers greater insights, more customisation and the latest payment innovations to Aussie customers - all within a single smartphone app.
Established in October 2017 and based in Sydney, Volt Bank has advanced quickly despite its brief existence. In May 2018, it became the first Australian neobank to be granted a Restricted Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution (RADI) licence from APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority). And even more recently (in January 2019), it became the first neobank to be granted a full licence to operate as an ADI.
That means that when it comes to regulation and products, Volt Bank is just like any other Australian bank. It can take deposits from customers by way of bank accounts and savings accounts and even provide borrowing options like personal loans and home loans down the track. And Volt really is agonisingly close to releasing these products, though the exact launch date and what it will actually offer are both very hush hush.
Part of the reason for that is because Volt is different. After all, Volt Bank is one of the new breed of neobanks which aren’t only determined to change the way we use banking technology, but how banks actually operate. So to ensure it’s launching products, tools and features which its customers actually love, Volt has spent plenty of time gathering feedback from its future users around Australia.
Okay, so Volt doesn’t actually have any banking products on offer just at the moment. As we said, they’ve been hard at work developing their apps and products behind the scenes and they're currently in the process of beta testing.
Volt really are set to launch any day now though, and while they have been a bit secretive, they’ve also dropped a few hints along the way, including some bigger ones more recently about their savings account. So what we do know is that Volt are likely to keep things really straightforward by offering two types of accounts: ‘save’ and ‘borrow’ accounts.
Speaking of which, the ‘save’ account will almost certainly be Volt’s first offering. In fact, in early December 2019 Volt released a few tidbits of information about their savings account. As promised, the account is set to feature a seriously competitive ongoing interest rate of 2.15%, plus savers won't need to meet any of the usual pesky requirements (like minimum deposits) to get it!
It’s also worth noting that because Volt Bank has its very own ADI, any deposit accounts it does open (like transaction accounts, savings accounts and even mortgage offset accounts) will be regulated just like any other Australian bank. That means that Aussies thinking about using Volt Bank to store their money in will be safe in the knowledge that deposits (up to $250,000 per person) are protected by the Government's Financial Claims Scheme (FCS).
So, what kind of features is Volt Bank likely to offer? Again, given that the digital bank is yet to release any products, or an app with any financial components, it’s a bit hard to say. However, if the Volt Labs app is anything to go by, there are a few features we might just see Volt include when it does launch its app, or later down the line.
One of the subjects Volt questioned it’s users on in the Volt Labs app is payments, namely a) how they go about paying for things now and b) how’d they like to pay in the future. There was also a real focus on whether users like to pay using cash or digital options, including whether or not they use virtual payment options or digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
While that doesn’t necessarily mean that Volt Bank will launch with mobile payment options like Apple, Google and Samsung Pay, we’d be surprised if they didn’t. After all, as an app-only bank it makes a lot of sense for Volt Bank to offer its users the ability to make over the counter payments with their smartphones! Plus many of Australia’s other neobanks, including 86 400 and Up, have digital wallet capability.
The other major rollout we expect in the Volt app is more comprehensive money management and categorisation features than are typically offered by traditional banks. We can guess this because the Volt Labs app asked users specific questions about how they categorise their money, and whether or not they use software (outside of a regular banking app) to help analyse and manage their spending.
Plus we’ve already seen other neobanks (like Up) introduce a suite of money management features in their apps, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Volt Bank did the same.
These could include:
Volt Bank is a neobank, so like other digital banks it will have pros and cons depending on the kind of banking experience you’re looking for.
For starters, Volt will likely appeal to Australians who are happy to shift away from a conventional banking model to one in which they’re only able to access their accounts on their smartphones. This means Volt won’t have physical branches, nor is it likely to have traditional phone banking - two options which may still appeal to many Australians.
Volt Bank will also almost certainly come with a range of new age payment, money management and savings features which might strongly appeal to Aussies looking for greater control, insights and personalised information from their bank.
However, Volt is likely to release its product suite slowly. So if you’re the kind of person who likes to be able to manage their bank account, savings account, credit card, home loan and any other financial products through the same bank then Volt may not be for you, at least, not just yet.
While there are no products or a banking app to sign up for just yet, if you’re interested in shaping the way Volt Bank designs its products and features then you can sign up for Volt Labs where you can have your say.
You can also sign up to be one of the first people to use Volt Bank. The first people that get to try out Volt will be those on the waitlist, so make sure you jump on the list if you’re excited to be an early neobank adopter!