The San Francisco-based challenger bank more than doubled the 2.7 million downloads second-place Current garnered during the same period. Varo Bank and Gen Z-geared Step came in third and fourth with 1.95 million and 1.94 million downloads, respectively, during the six-month span from Jan. 1 to June 30.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon to digital banking, as more users turned to digital-only challenger banks — and the digital services available at traditional institutions — to conduct their financial transactions amid lockdowns. Neobanks like Chime and Current managed to fund their customers’ accounts with the government-backed stimulus checks days ahead of traditional banks, garnering praise and positive media attention. Apptopia’s report, however, shows that European digital banks are lagging behind their U.S.-based competitors in gaining market share in the U.S.
According to Apptopia, the top 10 digital-first banking apps in the U.S. recorded 16.33 million installs during the first half of 2021.
The firm’s data shows that despite the entrance of several overseas-based neobanks, some of which are dominating the European market, foreign challengers still have much ground to cover to catch up with U.S.-based digital banks.
N26, which launched in the U.S. in 2019, came in 10th in the number of downloads for the first half of 2021 with 170,000, according to Apptopia. The Berlin-based digital bank has invested $29.9 million toward its U.S. expansion efforts, and said it plans to reach break-even status by the end of the year.
In addition to its expansion in the U.S., the company is also aggressively eyeing the Brazilian market, and recently obtained a banking license in the South American country.
Amid its international growth efforts, the company has also reversed some of those expansion plans. The neobank shuttered its U.K. operations in April 2020, citing challenges associated with Brexit and reports of low user engagement.
Revolut, which launched in the U.S. last year, didn’t make the top 10 list, coming in 11th in downloads for 2021's first half, according to Apptopia.
The London-based bank, which claims to have 15 million customers worldwide, appears to be bullish on the U.S. market. The company applied for a banking license through the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, and launched Revolut Business across all 50 states in March.
As it looks to grab its share of the U.S.’s digital banking market, Revolut's small-business offering could help it differentiate itself from Chime and Current, which are vying for consumer accounts.
Revolut has said its business banking service has amassed over 500,000 sign-ups in Europe. Meanwhile, it is reportedly chasing $1 billion in funding. The neobank’s advisers are in talks with tech investors, including Japan-based SoftBank's Vision Fund 2, for an investment between $750 million and $1 billion, according to Sky News.