In the age of banking anytime and anywhere, neobanks – fintechs backed by a banking partner – are becoming the go-to choice for many customers.
Neo-banks such as Niyo, Fi, Jupiter and Freo, for example, are partnering with full-fledged banks to provide a range of products such as savings bank accounts, debit cards and loans. And if your relations can be with the neobank, you are essentially a client of the partner bank. Here we take a look at some neo-bank debit cards and how they stack up against those from traditional banks.
To get started, you need to open a savings account through a neobank’s mobile app. This requires no physical submission of documents and is a quick process. For example, in the case of Niyo, you can open a NiyoX or Niyo Global account, offered in partnership with Equitas Small Finance Bank and SBM Bank (India), respectively. This gives you access to associated debit cards. Similarly, opening a savings account with Jupiter, offered in conjunction with Federal Bank, gives you access to a debit card.
What you get
These debit cards usually come with no issuance fees and no annual maintenance fees. Going directly to the partner bank, on the other hand, may incur debit card charges. Other than that, the main appeal of neobank debit cards is the added benefits they offer beyond the usual bank debit cards. For example, Jupiter’s and Niyo’s debit cards offer perks like no currency exchange fees and free access to airport lounges. For example, you can use a Niyo Global card (linked to the Indian rupee savings account) for overseas transactions without having to pay any currency conversion. In general, you will be charged a foreign exchange surcharge by the card-issuing bank when you make payments in foreign currencies using your card. Also, unlike the case of a forex card (which is loaded with a specific currency), here your account balance continues to earn the savings interest rate until it is used.
Neobank cards also come with additional reward points, which might not be offered by the partner bank to their own customers. There’s also the ease of tracking your card transactions on a neobank app, which isn’t feasible with all traditional banks.
For cash withdrawals, you can use a neobank debit card free of charge at the ATMs of the partner bank. Withdrawing cash from other ATMs beyond the free monthly transactions, however, incurs fees.
Also, in the event of a complaint, while the relevant neobank will be your first port of call, customers may also consider approaching the partner bank directly for assistance.
So, if you like offers and reward points, debit cards from neobanks can be a good option.