Volt sees “competitive edge” with full ADI licence

  • By Christine St Anne

New products are in the pipeline as Volt Bank becomes the first retail challenger bank to launch after APRA lifted its restricted license to grant the neobank an authorised deposit-taking institutional licence.

On Tuesday, it also announced the launch of a platform to test ideas around product innovation.

Branded as Volt Labs, the platform allows consumers to co-create banking solutions by providing ideas on the bank’s products and services. The business will use this platform to test the market for the latest innovations.

In 2020, the business also plans to provide a banking offering to small businesses.

Launched in 2018, by Steve Weston (pictured right) and Luke Bunbury (pictured left), the business has more than doubled its team to 100 employees, forging industry partnerships, PayPal and ASX-listed Collection House.

Weston said that it was “no easy feat” receiving the licence but acknowledged that “Australians can take comfort in the robustness of APRA’s process”.

"To have received our ADI licence before any other new entrant gives Volt Bank a competitive advantage over challenger banks looking to follow in our footsteps. We also acknowledge that this is a huge responsibility, as we will set the tone for a new era of banking,” he added.

APRA’s green light allows Volt Bank to roll out consumer deposit and lending products which it plans for the year.

“Our onboarding experience will include features such as rapid account opening enabled by smartphone facial recognition technology and simple transfer of direct debits and other payment details from existing bank accounts to a Volt Bank transaction account. Our product offer is well progressed, and we look forward to welcoming customers in the first half of 2019,” Weston said.

Investor support

Commenting on Volt Labs, Weston said that some banks “have dabbled with hackathons, online problem-solving and idea submission, Volt Labs will be an all-encompassing digital co-creation community”.

“It will help Volt Bank to validate its offering, but more importantly, set the tone for how the banking industry can work closely with its customers to develop relevant products and services.”

To date, Volt has raised over $45 million in equity capital via multiple funding rounds. This includes an $8.5 million investment from Collection House Limited that was allotted on Tuesday.  

Volt’s Series C raise of $35 million “is well-progressed and remains open”.

“We are extremely pleased with the level of support we have received from early-stage investors. Now that we have been granted our full licence, we will look for further strategic investors to partner with us and support our future growth,” Weston said.

On Tuesday neobank 86400 said its full licence application is progressing and expects to make its own announcement in early 2019.

“Congratulations to Steve and the team at Volt, having just received a full Australian banking licence. It’s an exciting time in Australia and the start of a new era in banking,” 86 400 CEO Robert Bell said.

Australians deserve alternatives to the Big Four banks, and having new entrants such as 86 400 and Volt is positive,”.

Volt Bank will be speaking at the Australian Mortgage Innovation Summit on emerging technologies and what they mean for the mortgage industry.