Chime and Current dominate U.S. banking apps downloads for H1 2021, Revolut lags behind

The United States challenger bank market is growing with competition building up between local and international entities. However, based on install figures, local neo-banks appear to be winning the race.

According to data acquired by Finbold, Chime was the most downloaded digital-first banking app in the U.S. in the first half of 2021, with 6.4 million new installs. Current ranks second at 2.7 million installs, followed by Varo at 1.95 million, while Step with 1.94 million installs ranks in the fourth spot. Albert occupies the fifth slot with 1.9 million.

Other notable challenger banks with significant installs include Dave (1.8 million), Money Lion (0.85 million), Oxygen (0.34 million), Simple (0.21 million), N26 (0.17 million).

In total, the top ten digital-first banks apps recorded 16.33 million installs during the same period.

Interestingly, Revolut, which went live in the U.S. in March 2020, emerged in the 11th spot, having dominated the EU market.

Digital banks grow amid the ability to process stimulus checks 

The research highlights some of the drivers behind American challenger banks’ record number of installs compared to foreign competitors.

“Chime and Varo downloads come after the facilities were approved to distribute federal stimulus packages. Compared to traditional banks, digital banks appeared to transmit funds quickly. This ability helped the banks gain more users while established foreign competitors struggled to gain traction. Notably, getting stimulus money to customers faster than incumbent banks is a publicity gain for digital banks.”

Furthermore, the research report identifies the position of the U.S. challenger market compared to global competitors. The report notes that:

“Notably, the challenger bank market in the United States is still gaining traction, and it’s been growing steadily. However, foreign entrants into the market appear to be struggling among local entities. This is an indication of growing competition in the sector.”

Moving into the future, challenger banks with sustained efforts to improve customer experience will likely dominate the U.S. market.