Zelf, bare minimum banking

Read this article this morning. Really interesting.


Zelf have 350,000 on the wait list already in Europe. It’s some kind of P2P payment system run through your go to message app although it hopes to eventually offer full-use virtual cards, loans and ready-made invoices for Premium users.
More details on their website https://zelf.co/en/
Banking is changing fast :hushed:

I signed up to Zelf a while back, and while I want to like the concept, there’s one issue I bumped into. If you don’t go in and do some kind of activity with the chatbot every so often (at least with Telegram), it “forgets” you and you have to start all over. As in I had to re-verify my phone number and name and say “yes, I want a card” again.

And now, more recently, the fact that I don’t know when I’ll be able to get a card. I thought they were going to be sending limited virtual cards to everyone who signed up around the end of May because they’d mentioned that KYC checks and cards with higher spending limits than €150/week were going to be limited to residents of Spain and France. Nope, rough dates available for EU/EEA and nothing for those of us outside it (I’m in the US).

A bank that literally forgets you have an account with them seems like a major dealbreaker. I would also be very concerned if access to my bank depends on a commercial social media platform.

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I couldn’t agree more. Having to remind them who you are constantly, or relying on a 3rd party to opperate are a huge hurdle for me.

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Especially when Telegram goes down

Maybe I’m starting to get old but I can’t for the life in me work out where this service would be useful for. Is it just another idea from someone who thinks I know what would be nice to have but then no-one uses it :thinking:

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Exactly my long-held thoughts about Curve.

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I use curve, saves me carrying around all of my bank cards. Not useful unless you have a few accounts, although they are starting financing purchases which may be useful for other people.

I really don’t get this though. It seems to be just p2p payments through popular messaging apps. Doesn’t WhatsApp offer p2p features?

People will use it as long as it operates at a loss and subsidizes features that would otherwise be costly at a profitable financial institution. Trouble will come up once their funding dries up and they desperately attempt to make some money.

Given the design and “selling point” of using it through social media I’m assuming they’re trying to appeal to the younger crowd (if it wasn’t for the fact that you needed to be 18 to use it I would’ve outright said kids or teenagers, especially with “Discord coming soon…”) which typically does not have a lot of disposable money either, so less likely to pay for a paid offering and less likely to hold a high enough balance for them to earn significant interest over it.

Similar to Curve, I use it every so often (in a way that’s definitely unprofitable for them btw) but there’s no way I’m ever paying for it because beyond being a novelty it provides a very negligible value. I suspect the majority of their users would think the same.

This is presumably yet another attempt from someone thinking that user numbers and “engagement” automatically translates to profit and I’d be impressed if they’re still around in 2 years time. What I’m really surprised about is why are there investors still willing to fund these attempts.

There will always be investors willing to take a punt (the very nature of their job!) Simply because they’ve only got to get it right once to make up for the hundreds of times they get it wrong.

I agree with the overwhelming sentiment above about this one though - really can’t see the point!

Interesting this company is trying to do this in Europe.

These particular types of apps have become huge in parts of the world where there is literally no banking infrastructure, such as Africa where. Access to a basic smart phone and downloading an app is easier than getting a bank account!

Not so sure it is something suitable for countries with well established banking infrastructure, so will be interesting to see.

Just had a thought. Maybe their business plan is based on building up detailed profiles on people who use the service and their network of contacts. Has anyone looked at their privacy policy? They could very well be aiming more along the lines of Facebook than Monzo.

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