7 US Challenger Banks

  • Jul. 23rd 2020
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7 US Challenger Banks

In this article, we're going to list out 7 US-based challenger banks. These challenger banks serve small businesses and freelancers. Mostly, these are venture-backed companies, and there's very little information about traction and how the businesses are really doing.

That said, let's take a look at these challenger banks below.

7 Challenger Banks in the US


Azlo is an independent unit of BBVA and probably one of the most popular challenger banks in the US serving the SME market. BBVA is a big Spanish bank operating in Europe, US and Latin-America.


NorthOne claims to have more than 130 000 clients and has achieved this customer base only in 4-years time. Founded in 2016, NorthOne is based in New York and is supported by Radius Bank. They target solo business owners and freelancers.


Novo, similarly to NorthOne, is also based in New York and was founded in 2016. They raised $5M, and have simple pricing and integrations with TransferWise, Stripe, Slack, and Xero, making it all-in-one solution for SMEs.


No account fees and no minimum balance - that's the slogan of Lili. They're very new, from New York like the previous two challenger banks, and just raised $10M in June 2020. They've integrated expense management, taxes and financial insights into the mobile app. Choice Financial Group is behind Lili banking services.

Seed (acquired by Cross River Bank)

Seed is based in San-Francisco and was acquired by Cross River Bank just last year, in 2019. They've been very inactive since, at least on the outlook, and it's not clear what is happening within the company. Seed started already in 2014. They've incorporated various features to simplify accounting for freelancers.

The new parent company Cross River Bank does have an impressive list of clients, including Coinbase, Stripe and TransferWise, among many others.


Joust was founded in 2017 and raised $11M in funding. They're based in Austin, Texas. Joust has some pretty cool features, like Payarmour, which is an invoice-financing program, charging only a 1% fee. Their main target market is solo-entrepreneurs.


Oxygen was founded in 2018 and they're based in San-Francisco. It's a mobile-only bank targeting small businesses and freelancers. They've been awarded with the "Best Digital Banking Account" in the US. Their business account even includes LLC creation among other features.


Although this is not a conclusive list, you can find plenty of interesting options among challenger banks above. It's clear that banking for concrete target groups is providing more features than just banking - they simplify bookkeeping, invoicing, and even the creation of your company. In the not very distant feature, we'll have our business and banking all-in-one in our pockets.  



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