Digital Bank Starts 2019 with a Major Milestone

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. go up against (someone/something) / goʊ ʌp əˈgɛnst / (idiom) – to compete with someone or something

    The new company aims to go up against the more established competitors in the industry.

  2. go through (something) / goʊ θruː / (phrasal) – to face or experience something

    I don’t like to go through the boring process of filling out forms in banks.

  3. traction / ˈtrækʃən / (n) – support or interest needed to make something successful

    The innovative product gained traction after being featured in a TV show.

  4. ambitious / æmˈbɪʃəs / (adj) – requiring hard work and effort

    The company has an ambitious plan to expand to another country.

  5. twofold / ˈtuːˌfoʊld / (adv) – by two times

    The company’s sales increased twofold in 2018.


Read the text below.

Digital bank Tandem has reached half a million users in January, a year after it started its operations.

Tandem is a UK-based digital challenger bank—a startup financial company that goes up against established banking businesses. Just like any other banks, Tandem profits from its clients’ credit transactions and other financial activities. What sets Tandem apart from traditional banks is that it allows clients to manage funds more easily using a smartphone or a tablet. With Tandem, users also do not need to go through the trouble of visiting a physical bank and waiting in line to make a transaction.

In 2018, Tandem started gaining traction as a popular digital challenger bank after launching its innovative products. In that year, the bank introduced an app that monitors users’ upcoming bills and identifies how much money one can spend. The app also analyzes bills and alerts users when the amount to be paid has increased. In the same year, Tandem introduced its auto-saving feature, which lets users conveniently transfer extra money from other banks.

Now that it is gaining more users, the bank has ambitious plans for the future. This year, it plans to expand to Asia, initially in Hong Kong. There is also the prospect of an initial public offering in a few years, once the company has increased its customers twofold.

On another note, Tandem’s recent milestone shows that more and more customers are becoming attracted to digital banking. One reason behind this shift is the convenience that comes with digital banking products. Other reasons include inadequate innovative products and bad customer service offered by traditional banks.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of digital banking? Discuss.
• Do you think digital banking will be popular in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• If you had a startup company, would you go up against more established competitors? Why or why not?
• Which type of company do you trust more as a consumer, a startup or a more established company? Explain.