Black Banx CEO, Michael Gastauer is man focused on making financial services globally accessible. In taking a different approach to fintech, Gastauer, a German billionaire has used his own money to do good. By solely investing in Black Banx himself, he took away the need for third party interruptions and partner shares. Instead, Gastauer decided if things were going to get done, he was going to have to do them himself. It’s rare to go at it alone, especially when wanting to provide a globally competitive fintech, but if the German native was nervous, he didn’t show it.
Michael Gastauer created Black Banx after realising there wasn’t a financial institution out there catering directly to both the financially excluded and crypto customers. Overall, he felt like too many financial services directed certain types of clients away from their business. So Gastauer came up with the idea of Black Banx: a digital bank that anyone –providing they have photo ID– can access. There’s no discrimination on income, whether you’re an individual or business, nor if you’re an avid cryptocurrency user. Simply visit blackbanx.com and create an account within minutes.
Available via Android or Apple, Black Banx’s smartphone app allows customers to access and manage their funds from anywhere. With over 20 million users already on their back, Black Banx, at less than a decade old, is a key player in the digital banking market, often competing against well-known fintech services including Revolut and Wise for the top spot. Its success is hailed as being due to Gastauer’s incredible leadership and financial expertise. But when speaking to the billionaire, he passes most of the credit onto his team, by saying that the Black Banx Group would “not be where it is today without our 3,000 employees that keep it [Black Banx] successful.”
Technological advances have accelerated since the early 2000s and traditional banks are starting to face the impact. Traditional bank branches that litter British high streets are seeing their branches close due to customers turning to online banks such as Black Banx and Monzo. These days, customers can perform their desired financial service at the tap of a button, whether it be currency exchange, transfers or paying for goods– the need of a traditional bank is dwindling. However, Britain’s biggest building society Nationwide, are refusing to back down, with branch director Mandy Beech saying: “It [British high street] needs retailers to commit to being there today, let alone tomorrow. Branches are about much more than cash and opening accounts. It’s about supporting older people, people with vulnerabilities, protecting our local high streets and helping people who are worried about their money. With rising costs hitting people hard, that has never been more relevant than it is now.”
When discussing this with Gastauer, he added: “My goal for Black Banx isn’t to necessarily diminish the traditional banking system, it’s to improve it. Beech’s comments were correct in the idea that some groups do need physical bank branches to manage their funds. With Black Banx, my mission was to provide a borderless banking system that reaches the same type of people globally– the ones that are generally financially excluded. For example, parts of populations that have no access to a financial institution, can gain financial education by using an account with us. In turn, by educating, people gaining financial independence contribute further to the economy around them. We’re here to improve and add to the financial system rather than aim to replace traditional banks with digital ones.”
And Black Banx isn’t short on success. Gastauer’s words ring true with operations in 180 countries and customers being able to choose from 28 FIAT and two cryptocurrencies. Customers are able to gain access to a Black Banx debit card that can be used worldwide, witness funds be transferred across borders almost instantly and make use of interest bearing savings accounts in USD, JPY, EUR and GBP. One area other banks tend to stray away from is crypto. With its anonymous systems, many financial institutions don’t implement crypto due to its lack of government regulation. Gastauer noticed this and decided to cater part of Black Banx to crypto users, adhering to his mission of providing a digital bank for all. Crypto customers are offered complete autonomy by connecting the Black Banx platform with the features and services of a crypto exchange. As a result, crypto users can use the Black Banx platform to pay third parties, one of the first of its kind.
It’s clear Gastauer has customers at the heart of Black Banx, with various groups catered for. His desire to provide a financial service that reaches all corners of the globe hasn’t gone unnoticed, nor has his human approach to business. Black Banx is here to stay and Gastauer will continue to lead.