Australian regulator grants unrestricted ADI license to Xinja Bank

Maria Nikolova

Xinja Bank was today granted a full banking licence, and opened bank accounts to early customers.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) today announces that it has granted Xinja Bank Limited a licence to operate as an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) without restrictions under the Banking Act 1959.

Xinja Bank Limited, which is 100% digital and designed for mobile and aims to shake up Australia’s banking sector, was previously licensed by APRA in December 2018 as a Restricted ADI.

Xinja Bank has launched transaction accounts today – which are accessed solely via the new Xinja app and come with a Xinja Debit Mastercard – and will soon launch ‘Stash’, or savings accounts. The company plans to add lending products in the first quarter of 2020, “as well as some other fun, ‘unbanky’ surprises,” said Chief Executive and Founder, Eric Wilson said.

Existing prepaid card customers and those already on the waitlist will be the first to get access to Xinja’s new bank accounts.

“We don’t have bricks and mortar branches or old technology that we are constantly patching to meet the needs of customers,” Mr Wilson explains. “Our costs will be significantly lower than traditional banks.

“But it’s not just about technology: our purpose is to help people make more out of their money and get out of debt faster. And if we stick to that, we will succeed. We’ll use technology and data to prompt money mindfulness; nudging people toward better every day behaviour that can improve their finances.”

“Banking has been boring for too long. We fundamentally believe that if you make managing your money engaging, people will get better at it,” Mr Wilson added.

The Xinja team has grown to around 65 permanent staff, guided by a board that includes advisor Jason Bates, co-founder of UK neobanks Monzo and Starling; Thomas Vikstrom, a former leader of Tesla’s engineering team, and Brett King, who is a former advisor to the US Obama White House on the future of banking.

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