How is the situation in Germany? Historically, Germans save more than their European neighbours, yet they don’t put their money to work via ETFs or stocks, but keep the majority in savings accounts – by far, the most popular product in Germany. Since last year, the situation is getting better: stock ownership increased to 17.5% in 2020, as new brokerage fintechs like TradeRepublic drove stock ownership upwards. Trade Republic has grown to more than 1 million users, 400 employees and 6 billion euros in assets under management. Likewise, most incumbent brokers reported record inflows of brokerage deposits and new customers. For example, investments into stocks have more than doubled at Dutch direct bank ING in 2020.
Most brokerage solutions, whether they are offered by a fintech start-up or incumbent, are mostly centered around offering investing solutions to target audiences that would have actively invested one way or another. Beyond that, their propositions are very focused on the brokerage and investment features. Hence, there’s still a largely untapped customer segment that on the one hand seeks easy entry points to ensure capital is used productively, without having to deal with brokerage functions. On the other hand, once capital is invested, sometimes users need to tap into their funds to finance a purchase – a painful customer journey when using one of the current brokerage-centric providers. In order to provide a convenient entry path towards productive capital and at the same time to offer unparalleled liquidity, UnitPlus has merged the concept of a payment card and an ETF fund.
How UnitPlus merges payments and investing
UnitPlus leverages open banking feeds to analyse a user’s monthly cashflow in order to make personalised recommendations around how much money is safe to invest. This way, capital that would otherwise stay unproductive on a current account, is automatically funneled into a sustainability-friendly ETF fund constructed by UnitPlus. The invested capital is available any time via the UnitPlus investment card, which allows to spend the invested capital on- and offline. Hence, the card is the trojan horse that brings a broad consumer base closer to the world of investing, without having to lock-up capital. In the future, there could even be a “pay-with-portfolio” checkout offered at online shops: