Digital Only Banks: The Surprising Frontrunners and the Future of Open Banking


You might think Europe or the US is leading in the share of people with a digital-only bank accounts. Well, think again. Out of the 28 countries researched, it is actually Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to a recent study by Accenture and N26. So, why is that? A critical factor is the trust from the population to digital banking. Brazil leads with 78% of people who say they trust digital-only banking, whilst in Europe, Ireland has the highest trust percentage with 68%.

The Generation Driving Adoption.

Among those who have chosen to have a digital only bank account, the biggest reasons are “Simple, convenient mobile app or website experience” (38%) and “Good value for money / competitive pricing” (34%). Not surprisingly, Gen-Z is leading in this adoption. Firstly, this is the generation that identifies fintechs as the most reliable, according to E&Y. Secondly, it is the generation with the highest interest in more types of digital experiences than any other age group, including virtual assistants for managing money and automated financial guidance.

The Debate over Open Banking among Gen-Z.

The case for Open Banking among Gen Z is a polarized debate. On one side, some fintech professionals say there is no demand or use case, but the data says otherwise. Is there or is there not demand among young people for open banking? Tara Massoudi, operations manager of Revolut Premium and Junior recently said “There is not currently high demand for open banking among youth fintech users”.

We tried looking for data where this could be based, but unsuccessfully so! On the contrary, we actually discovered that Mastercard came with the receipts -, on a brand new report which shows that, for example, 86% of Gen-Z are already connecting their bank accounts to fintech apps through open banking in Canada, and in the US the figure goes up to 93%.

The Future of Open Banking in Latin America.

But… is the future of fintech and open banking in Latin America?

With the majority of the growing population (currently at over 600M) being unbanked, fintechs and open banking are allowing the creation of inclusive solutions, which can bring millions of people to the financial system, according to a recent Belvo article.

Even though open banking started in Europe, it sure looks like it will have the biggest impact in Latin America. Among the biggest reasons for this shift are regulation changes, technological shifts, new business models, and emerging consumer trends.

So, it’s no surprise that the fintech sector investment in Latin America more than tripled in 2021, compared to the previous year.

Western European countries are catching up with 65% of people who say they could be converted to fintech players in the future by a compelling value proposition— which include a “clean design and user experience”, “good value for money”, and “clear and simple communication”.


In conclusion, the digital transformation of banking is well underway, with surprising frontrunners in digital-only banking. Gen-Z is leading the charge in adopting digital only banking, and there is a growing demand for open banking in Latin America. It will be interesting to see how the industry evolves in the coming years and what the future of open banking holds.

Additionally, at Gimi we have built an app that acts both as a personal finance app and at the same time teaches young people financial literacy through hands-on features and lesson packages, providing a valuable tool for the future of open banking. You can download the Gimi app and try for yourself below.



Download the Gimi app

Gimi AB is a registered payment service provider for account information services with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, and is under its supervision.