What is a digital-first finance solution?

July 27, 2023

As with all new and innovative technologies, people like to give things fancy names. 

Neobank, challenger bank, nonbank, digital bank, digital-first finance platform - they all mean the same thing. Eventually one will stick (for a bit of fun, look up some of the original names for the internet). 

The names exist only to differentiate the legacy banks from the innovative fintechs. Don’t get us wrong. We fall into the same category. We love the movement, just not the labels.

So what do any of them mean?

We can only answer this in our context. For us, it’s about mixing the best of tech with the best of people. 

  • We’ve scrapped branches (because when was the last time you heard someone say their experience going into a branch was good) in favour of doing everything from your phone. 
  • Debit cards are no longer just physical (although they can be if you prefer), they’re on your phone too. 
  • Opening an account doesn’t involve a mountain of paperwork or months of waiting. It happens in minutes and, you guessed it. Phone again. 
  • The mad rush to the scanner to get your expense receipts in each month and onto Xero before the finance team or accountant tells you off. Phone.
  • Customer service isn’t an afterthought, it’s something we pride ourselves on - every hour of every day.
  • It’s free. The only cost is $10 per physical card ordered for your team.

Ultimately, it’s all about improving the speed, efficiency, experience and giving businesses the tools they need to succeed. We don’t care what we’re called. We haven’t even decided ourselves. We just want to make sure we’re doing a better job at solving business pain points.

How is this different for Kiwis?

This all started in Europe and the UK with the likes of Monzo, Starling Bank, N26 and others. It’s now sweeping across the globe. 

Other countries have the distinct advantage of being lightyears ahead of NZ when it comes to open banking regulation. Regulation that tries to increase competition in financial services by providing a framework for legacy banks to share customer data with other registered financial service providers. 

It allowed a lot of innovation and new opportunities for businesses and consumers when it came to their banking options.

NZ is one of the most profitable countries in the world to be a bank. We need regulators to start levelling the playing field for us as customers by allowing greater competition in the market. 

We’re not there yet in Aotearoa. We’re heading that way - hopefully.  But we’re not waiting around at Emerge. We want to do everything we can for Kiwi businesses, now.

Sound interesting?