Kroo defines itself as a social bank and plants 2 trees per customer onboarded:
British neobank Kroo, founded in 2016 and became operational in 2019, is still small compared to rivals like Monzo or Starling. But it has taken a big leap over rivals with a customer-enticing interest rate of 4.35% for its current account and its plans to ‘demystify’ banking.
The challenger bank received a UK banking license in 2022 and since then won plaudits from financial experts for its innovative strategies. Apart from the attractive interest rate it offers for deposits, it is now set to launch a tracker rate that will ensure customers are paying at a rate, which will be 0.9% lower than the base rate that is fixed by the Bank of England. Kroo’s CEO Andrea De Gottardo has said the interest rate it plans to charge is the bare minimum to cover costs and puts his weight behind customers stating: “Banks have been for far too long way too obscure and cryptic and the customer never quite understands how the rate is set on.” He then dares competition saying ‘the customer is fully empowered and knows exactly what the rate is based on’.
Originally known as B-Social, Kroo has been operating as a fully licensed bank since 2022, offering a free current account available via a mobile app.
Kroo has a prepaid payment card since 2019, which it is now offering to its full current account customers, as it received the banking licence. The neobank today has more than 130,000 current accounts, just 7 months after launching the product and most of the customers having moved from both traditional and other challenger banks. It targets to have a million-customer base in the next couple of years even as its target market is the 18-35 age group.
The neobank had raised £27.13 million in 2022 and is now in the process of receiving £50 million and £70 million in a Series C round. It is busy, moving into lending, opening a second office in Manchester, and launching a customer acquisition drive.
In a unique manner, the neobank is partner in a reforestation project and it plants 2 trees for every new customer that joins. It describes itself as a ‘social bank’ and donates 5% of its ‘sustainable profits’ to charity. Its card is degradable in organic compost.
Kroo has partnered with ClearBank for its technology requirements – for access to the UK payment schemes and to provide accounts for its customer funds. The two entities have been working together when Kroo has been seeking the banking licence.
Kroo recently experienced a situation whereby it could not cater to the overwhelming customer demand for its current account.
Apart from offering a very attractive rate of interest, Kroo charges no fees for spending abroad or for maintaining the account. However, there is a fee for ATM withdrawal above £200. Its overdraft facility is by invitation only.
VERY USEFUL APP
The mobile app allows customers to track spending with real-time spending insights, and easily split bills with others. A customer can do everything he has to do in a physical bank branch from the phone. It provides alerts whenever payments leave or enter the account, there are money management tools, facilitating easy-to-understand budgeting, saving, and visual insights into one’s spending habits.
Kroo offers overdrafts but it is by invitation and application. There is an interest at the rate of 24.9% and in calculation a customer who overdraws by £500 for 3 weeks will pay £12.91 in interest. There is no fee or penalties for overdraft.
The neobank does not support cash or cheque deposits. Its app has biometric security, supported by fingerprint and facial scan. Its focus is on banking on the go, and the accounts cannot be accessed through the web or desktop.
Deposits are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, where up to £85,000 of the money deposited is legally protected if the neobank goes bust.
When a person is travelling abroad, he can use the debit card and ATMs without incurring extra charges. To prevent identity fraud, the account application process requires a prospective customer to share a government-issued identity document, such as a passport or a UK driving license.
Kroo’s current account was recently voted as the ‘Most Innovative eCurrency Service’ at the UK Enterprise Awards and ‘Best Newcomer’ at the British Bank Awards 2021.
This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.