We noticed that we haven’t written about the origins of BankApply and why we exist. Let’s dive in and give you a story of us and where we're heading.
The core team of BankApply has been helping entrepreneurs to start and run their businesses in Estonia for 7 years. We help with incorporation, tax advisory, legal services, accounting, licensing, and of course - bank account opening. In recent years, the bank account opening has become a daunting task, especially if you operate in a high-risk industry. Opening a bank account has become something which requires time, specific knowledge about banks, and more often than not, paying fees to the banks to even process your application. Processing fees for applications could be understandable, but paying processing fees and getting rejected is something that nobody wants. During the peak period of crypto ICOs, there were instances when one bank asked 8000€ (!!) just for due diligence process.
If you’re asking why such things as application processing fees exist at all, then it’s because of the strict AML regulations. Banks have to turn down a considerable amount of business and it’s costly to just review applications without being able to onboard the client afterwards. A bank is not a non-profit organization (as we all know), and we can’t ask them to provide a free service. But we felt we have to do something about the current situation. Not being able to open a bank account means not being able to do business. European Union promotes free trade between the Member States as well as understands the necessity of supporting startups and investors to have a strong economy. Yet, the AML regulations have made it quite difficult to expand to new markets if you can’t get a bank account to do the transactions.
Evaluating the value-chain of the industry where we operate in, it became clear that the value is not created by helping people with setting up their companies. Yes, the legal side has to be done as well, but there are very few barriers if any in getting the company incorporated. Opening and having a bank account to transact is a far more important piece of the puzzle. This the problem that BankApply is tackling.
We’ve got years of experience and knowledge about opening bank accounts to our clients, but we needed a lot more to build a system that could support a wide variety of customers. Hence, we spent months just interviewing banks - sending e-mails, calling, interviewing, negotiating. Every week, every day. Through this effort, we collected the data which is now the cornerstone of the BankApply matching engine. In November 2019 we hired a full-time developer and designer and started to work on the software solution.
Fast forward to today, and we’ve got our MVP ready and working. Here’s the basic value proposition of the BankApply MVP:
- By registering on our platform our matching engine matches your profile with suitable banks. You don’t need to waste hours researching suitable banks or FInTechs
- You can choose how many applications you want to send - sending more applications will i) increase your chances of getting a bank account (for high-risk industries and countries) and ii) gives you more options to choose from (fee structure, convenience, UX).
- You only have to fill in your information once, we’ll do the rest to apply in numerous banks.
- Money-back guarantee if we fail to find banks who accept you as a client.
- One central system to manage the whole process - application, communication, document collection, dedicated customer support.
After we’ve fully validated our MVP we continue to develop the system to become a marketplace where banks can provide preliminary acceptance for registered client profiles (without seeing your personal data), and also do the full KYC even before engaging with the banks. Changing the banking market dynamics to become more client-centric is a mission which we’ve put all our effort and money on.
There are a couple of misconceptions and frequently asked questions which we’ve received from the clients during the first month of operations. We’re going to address them here as well, as you may have the same questions.
We get frequently asked why would anyone want to have more than one bank account (submitting more than one application). We’re not about opening more than one bank account. We’re about turning the odds to your favour - for example, if you’re starting a crypto business, then most of the banks don’t want to hear anything about your new business. In some cases, even the ones that are otherwise considered crypto-friendly banks. What’s more, banks tend to charge high fees from high-risk clients. These are just two of the reasons why we ask to apply in more banks than just one - to get you the best odds of succeeding and the best terms for your new bank account.
There are two reasons for that:
- We have done the research and accumulated specific know-how that is integrated into BankApply matching engine giving a high-probability of success.
- We do the actual work of communicating with the banks and filling in the bank applications on your behalf.
- We’re considerably cheaper than most consultants you can find.
- To most client-types, we give a money-back guarantee, which makes the whole proposition risk-free from your perspective.
In some cases, especially if you have a simple low-risk business, it probably makes sense to use your consultant, given that they don’t charge you thousands of euros. In all other cases, it’s a question of specific know-how, research and focus. As we have operated an advisory office for many years, we know that most of the attention goes to legal work, accounting, tax advisory, and very little focus goes on research and building a relevant banking database. At BankApply, finding you a solution for banking is all that we do. Which one would you choose - a dentist, who is working on construction for half of the days, or a dentist, who is a dentist every day? Last but not least, due to our software we can charge fewer fees and make the whole process more convenient for the client.
The possibility to open a bank account and transact seems trivial to most, but once it becomes an issue, it’s a real issue. Not being able to transact means not being able to do business, and not being able to do business means not being able to provide for the family, and is eventually harmful to the whole economy and society. Small things make a big difference. At BankApply, we start small but aim to completely change the banking dynamics.