Strive plans debit cards for kids in the UK with fintech banking model

November 6, 2020.
Children are learning more about money during the pandemic without actually having cash in hand. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)

Children are learning more about money during the pandemic without actually having cash in hand. (AP Photo/Kelvin Chan)

Fintech Strive formally launched in the U.K. on Friday as a"challenger bank" with plans to appeal to families by offering products geared toward children, including special debit cards and savings accounts.

Strive said its model is the world’s first banking offering designed for that purpose. The new company is backed in part by digital piggy bank company GoSave, which launched in 2018 as a toy manufacturer of physical piggy banks with digital screens.

"We’ve been working with GoSave for a period of time now with some of our clients, and the idea of a youth-focused challenger bank kept coming up," said Ivan Much, chief sales officer at Strive.

"We see a real gap in the market to build a solution for parents that grows with the child, so it’s not just a debit card, it’s a whole 0-18 proposition that parents can start at any age.”

Challenger banks refer to small, recently created retail banks in the U.K. that compete directly with traditional banks. They tend to specialize in areas underserved by the larger institutions, the way Strive focuses on youth banking.

Strive cited data that said 50% of the U.K. population is considered financially vulnerable, which is only increasing as the COVID-19 pandemic encourages a cashless society. In these circumstances, Strive said the U.K. needs more solutions to teach kids about money and engage their parents in the process.

The Strive parent app will provide access to all Strive features for children, including debit cards, savings accounts, interactive piggy banks, pocket money management and a goals and rewards marketplace.

Strive said it will also offer a white label solution that lets banks in other parts of the world build similar solutions. To accelerate the launch, the company has been working with London & Partners, the international trade, investment and promotion agency for the city of London, and PrePay Solutions, Europe's leading card issuer. 

"I’m delighted to welcome Strive to London and thrilled that they have chosen to launch their business here," said Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners.

"London is one of the world’s leading fintech hubs, and companies here will benefit from the U.K.’s highly adoptive customer base for fintech services, as well as having access to stakeholders, clients, investors and exceptional talent."

Several other fintechs exist in the youth-focused challenger bank space, including GoHenry, HyperJar, Osper, Starling Kite and Revolut Junior. But Strive said what sets it apart is its branding, hardware and commitment to the full 0-18 age segment.

Strive will crowdfund while it works to combine the ff. next and GoSave teams, and it plans to first launch in the U.K. with a test group of about 10,000 families.