Have online banks reached a glass roof?

With the exception of Boursorama, French online banks seem to be struggling to capture new customers in numbers. They still have room, however: only a third of banking network customers say they are tempted to take the plunge.

4.3 million: this is the number of customers claimed by Boursorama Banque at the end of September 2022. Since the beginning of the year, online banking has acquired a further million, thanks in particular to the strengthening of 315,000 former customers of ING, after that the latter has chosen to leave the French market. Boursorama Banque is no longer far from the goal announced at the end of 2020, at the time with a fixed possibility of 2025: to reach 4.5 million customers and be one of the leading retail banks in France.

Boursorama Banque is, indeed, the only the online bank can claim that status. According to the study (1) accompanying the Banking Quality Awards 2023, unveiled today by MoneyVox, in France 4% of banking customers domicile the majority of their earnings with Boursorama, a percentage comparable with national banking networks, such as CIC (4%) or LCL (5% ).

Natural competitors of Boursorama Banque – Fortuneo, Hello bank, BforBank, Orange Bank, etc. – which limit of 1%, can not say the same. None have surpassed the milestone of one million customers in France despite, for some, 10 years or more of presence on the French market. As if, with the exception of Boursorama Banque, online banks have achieved a type of glass ceiling.

Online banks still have room

Do these online banking brands really have ambitions to go further? Not sure. The success of Boursorama Banque, in fact, rewards a choice: that of invest heavily in winning new customers, shots of national advertising campaigns and bonuses paid to new customers. An expensive strategy that still prevents it from being profitable, even if the transition of its accounts to green is promised for 2024. Which probably explains why no other brand has adopted it, at least in the long term.

Comparison of credit card offers for a travelling abroad

However, some findings from our study indicate thisthere is still room for these alternative players to traditional banking networks. To the question would you be ready to become a customer of an online bank and pay us their income, 32% of those interviewed, among those who have not yet taken the big step, answered in the affirmative. The customers of two networks, in particular, seem tempted by the leap: BNP Paribas (43%) and Socit Generale (41%).

It is no coincidence: these two brands are also those with the highest percentage of customers tempted to switch banks in the next two years: 24% in Socit Gnrale and 21% in BNP Paribas, against 16% on average. It should be remembered that Société Générale is the sole shareholder of Boursorama Banque, and that Hello bank is a brand of BNP Paribas, which uses it to distribute its products in the manner of an online bank…

Another finding gives hope to online banks. Their great strength, almost free, remains the main motivation for switching banks: 22% of users want to change due to excessively high prices charged by their current bank.

The ranking of the least expensive banks

(1) OpinionWay survey for MoneyVox conducted from 26 September to 19 October 2022 with a sample of 5,013 French people recruited from a representative sample of the French adult population.

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