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The costs of acquiring customers for cross-border companies and neobanks

Comparing the different approached

Last week we took a close look at WorldRemit following its latest $175m funding round. A lot of money can buy you a lot of customers but at what cost?

customer acquisition costs cross border payment companies

We’ve chosen specifically to look at total funding, not just a marketing budget. Building a great product requires a lot of investment in technology and the team around it. Done right, it can become viral.

The range of costs above can be interpreted in different ways:

  • The likes of Azimo and Monese are exceptionally efficient at acquiring customers. Granted they have acquired less total customers than some of the other players shown but some of the larger players should benefit from economies of scale
  • TransferWise, Monzo and Starling are investing a lot per customer – an indication of the quality of the product these companies are building and for the first two, the millions of customers they have obtained. Which means spending more may be better than spending less.

How to sense check a growth plan

If anyone puts a funding plan or business model in front of you and they tell you X million dollars is going to result in Y million customers, just sense check against some of the best in class companies above. Are they expecting to add lots of additional customers at rates lower than these numbers?

The next time you see a plan to raise $10m to add 3 million customers (we just saw one), maybe ask a few more questions.

How to market your bank

UK neobank Starling Bank was founded nearly 250 years after Lloyds Bank. Spot the different approaches:

Lloyds bank Starling Bank advertising comparison

The thanks for this side by side comparison goes to a very helpful piece of outdoor marketing we spotted at the Limehouse train station in London (pls excuse image quality as taken from a moving train).

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