App-Based Banks Offer Borderless Financial Services to Urban Nomads


Neobanks are on the rise with Monzo, Starling, Monese and N26 offering alternatives to traditional banks that cross borders and currencies — perfect for the urban nomad.

App-based challenger banks, transfer services and neobanks have been popping up everywhere uprooting traditional bank’s hold on financial and banking services and offering a new way of managing money without the same restrictions.

Whereas traditional banks might come with restrictions for opening banks with proof of address and, credit checks and minimum balance requirements, tech-driven challenger banks have been cropping up which offer instant account creation via an app. These banks – including Monese, Monzo, N26 and Starling – are addressing the needs of many people from expats to those who are travelling and students to freelancers with no need for proof of address, built-in Euro accounts, and free international transfers and ATM withdrawals. While these banks all offer free accounts, N26 and Monese offer special benefits with their premium accounts, including travel insurance with N26.

Monzo, amongst others, is addressing the needs of nomads to open a bank account without a proof of address. Photo Oliur

Furthermore, these banks are moving towards business accounts for the digital nomad and freelancers. The last to jump on this wagon is Starling which has a business account option in beta. Whereas Holvi, a Finnish app-based bank, specialises solely on business banking including built-in invoicing and bookkeeping tools. These banks are priding themselves on the ease at which freelancers and digital nomads can manage their work and business freely, switching between the British Pound and the Euro, for example, to open up opportunities across European borders.

This shift towards app-based banking shows the value of borderless banking that allows ease of travel and money transfers, within Europe at least. It is addressing a need for banking for those who might move house a lot, travel for work or leisure, and the digital nomad and shows a growing trend in borderless living.