The most populous country in Europe, where ultra-competitive fintechs like N26, Trade Republic and Vivid Money have set foot, will see a French nugget arrive. Nickel, belonging to the BNP Paribas group, has just announced its expansion in Germany against N26, this morning via a press release. The project is planned for 2023. Before it, the “bankless account” must first be deployed in Belgium and Portugal.
Its biggest project, in Germany, should enable it to achieve the position of “leading current account in Europe”, as the Nickel teams are now aiming for. After its birth in France and the start of its Spanish deployment, the establishment has already succeeded in attracting 2.4 million customers. On the ranking of French mobile banks, Nickel is in second place, after Boursorama Banque.
🎙️ @CompteNickel announces its expansion on the German market in the first quarter of 2⃣0⃣2⃣3⃣ and continues its growth across Europe. Thanks to a partnership with @iloprofit, #NiCKEL services will be available in a wide network of lottery outlets. pic.twitter.com/MqzJAxahjx
— BNP Paribas Group (@BNPParibas) February 24, 2022
The plans in Germany for the Nickel account
Germany is a market that has nothing to do with others and Nickel will certainly encounter more difficulties there than in Portugal for example. On site, there is no shortage of offers from online banks and neobanks such as N26 and Vivid Money. The objective will however be to reach 600,000 customers within five years. According to the establishment, an opportunity exists thanks to the drop in the number of bank branches.
The French account, which bases its model on a physical presence through partnerships with tobacconists and automatic terminals, said it had signed a partnership with Ilo Profit, a subsidiary of several state lottery gaming companies. In Germany, many households would still be attracted by cash payments and withdrawals, in addition to the physical presence of their establishment. However, the country is one of the worst students in Europe on the criterion of the number of bank branches per million inhabitants.
With Ilo Profits, it will be up to 22,000 physical touch points for the Nickel account. By way of comparison, in France, Nickel opened its two million accounts with much more limited support. The latter has increased over the years to reach the number of 6,300 Nickel partner tobacconists to date. On a daily basis, up to 1,500 people open an account and customer feedback is among the best in France.
To motivate independent tobacconists to offer Nickel's services, the company has determined a pricing system taking into account commissions for kiosks, on certain customer transactions and when opening an account. For example, the tobacconist will receive €2 for opening a free account, €3 for a Nickel Chrome account, and a commission of €0.23 for a withdrawal.
Nickel's number one target remains the less well-off households, bank bans and even foreigners. The account is the most accessible and unlike other offers, it will be quite possible to open an account and have a bank card. That said, over the past two years, the offer has diversified to accommodate more premium accounts and cards. A metal card is even available – the cheapest in France. Nickel also has advantages that banks do not have.
“We are convinced that relying on the dense network of lottery sales outlets in Germany is the most suitable strategy for offering our services there, as they correspond to our desire to be close to consumers, and this, in the whole country. The choice of a local distribution network is the key to Nickel's success,” said Marie Degrand-Guillaud, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Nickel, in a press release.