Hay Technology, an Australian fintech pursuing one of the country’s deposit-taking banking licence, is set to be the next challenger bank in its home country as it opens up a waiting list to its first customers.
The initial 10,000 to sign up and open an account will become “Hay Founders”, giving them access to a special founding members card and early access to all Hay’s new product offerings.
A handful of Hay’s executive team come from Shawbrook Bank, a 2011-founded UK specialist bank for lending and saving targeting the underserved population. Hay says its team has “directly participated in the UK neobank revolution”.
Headquartered in New South Wales with international offices in London and Belfast, the fintech says it takes just three minutes to sign up and then the card will be sent within five days in recyclable packaging produced from “reused pressed sugarcane-pulp” and “non-toxic food grade glue”.
Already armed with an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), the 123-person fintech according to LinkedIn is also “pursuing further licences” including a submitted application to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) for a restricted authorised deposit-taking institution (RADI) banking licence.
“After 18 months of building and testing, today [Tuesday] we’ve launched our wait list for our digital transaction account and Hay Visa card,” the fintech says in a LinkedIn post. “What makes this experience possible is Hay Technology’s proprietary platform, an application programme interface (API) first, cloud-native micro-services architecture […] built from the ground up”.
The fintech’s latest developments have been led by Jason Latham, its chief technology officer (CTO), who spent seven years at Shawbrook Bank most recently as its head of delivery and innovation. He also spent seven years at investment management firm Marshall Wace, where Hay’s CEO Andrew Laycock comes from.
Fellow head of technology operations Sean Gorman also comes from Shawbrook, and prior to this spent eleven years at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) most recently as an IT business analyst. Its head of fraud Ian Ratty spent nearly ten years at eBay, before spending shorter stints at Western Union and Commonwealth Bank.
The Hay digital account and Hay Visa Card are just the first two products in a series of offerings the fintech has been working on over the last year and a half. “We consider ourselves always in a constant state of evolution and the digital nature of Hay means we are able to continue to add new features rapidly… so, as they say, watch this space,” says CEO Laycock.
Hay says it “charges zero fees for transactions, purchases and cash withdrawals at ATMs across Australia”, and that “there are also zero setup or monthly account keeping fees”. When jetting off abroad, users’ Hay app will automatically switch to travel mode and show their held balances in the foreign currency.
With Hay being a Visa Fintech Fast Track partner, its users also get fee-free Visa foreign exchange (FX) rates, $500 fee-free ATM withdrawals per month and no fees on international transactions – in-store or online.
The challenger bank space in Australia has been making noise as of late. Aussie neobank Xinja launched its savers account Stash last month with a 2.25% interest rate, and hit AUD 100 million in deposits after just 19 days.
Attracting customers a lot faster than it had anticipated, in January it was revealed that Australia’s big four banks ANZ, Westpac, NAB and Commonwealth Bank had lost a collective half a billion dollars in savings deposits in a matter of months to challengers including Xinja, 86 400, and Judo Bank.
With just a small handful of front runners experiencing burgeoning growth in the region, Hay joins a pool of competitors vying to get a slice of the incumbents’ supposedly dissatisfied customers.