Lots of neobanks use influencer marketing, but Lanistar has taken influencer marketing to the next level. It launched a flashy influencer marketing campaign last year by offering shares of stock to Instagram celebrities. As a result, this fintech built up a large user base before it was ready to begin operations. After the marketing campaign attracted lots of attention, British regulators warned prospective customers that Lanistar did not have the proper licenses yet. But now Lanistar has entered into a partnership with Modulr and with the help of this payment processor it plans to launch its app soon. So I decided to look into this controversial neobank and see what it had to offer.
Lanistar Mainly Competes With Curve
As a neobank, Lanistar’s features are most similar to Curve’s features. Curve is a British fintech that also issues Mastercard debit cards to its customers. The Curve card functions like an e-wallet. You can link a Curve account to several other debit cards and credit cards in the app. Then, you can use the Curve card at a retail store to make purchases using any of these payment cards. The idea is that you’ll be able to use cashback offers, loyalty points, and any other feature offered by these cards without needing to carry around several different cards in your wallet.
You can link eight different cards to a Lanistar debit card. And this could be a useful feature for wealthy celebrities who don’t want to carry around several different credit cards all the time. It could be more compelling than cashback rewards or slightly better interest rates. Lanistar and Curve also have a replay feature that allows their users to move past purchases from one of the linked cards to another one, which could be useful for cash management.
These features aren’t unique because Curve offers several of them already, but Curve does offer several payment card management features that other neobanks don’t offer. Aside from that, Lanistar’s feature set is very similar to that of other neobanks. The Lanistar app offers good currency exchange rates, a multicurrency account, and other common neobank features that make neobanks useful for business travelers. Some customers might be more interested in celebrities than neobank features, though, and for them that may be this fintech’s main selling point.
Last year Lanistar convinced lots of influencers to promote its app by promising them shares in the company. Some of them changed their minds after British regulators warned customers that Lanistar didn’t have a license. But now Lanistar can offer services through its Modulr partnership, so influencers won’t get in trouble for promoting an unlicensed financial institution now. And it still has a great deal of reach on Instagram. This fintech has 235,000 followers on the social network right now, which is more than many fintechs that have released their debit cards already. For example, Curve has 23,000 followers. These aren’t inactive followers either. Lanistar’s posts get lots of likes and comments from customers who are waiting for the card to come out.
So the Lanistar card could still become a status symbol later this year if the company manages to pull off the launch successfully. This fintech has a lot of unsatisfied users right now but it still has a sizable supporter base as well, which you can see if you visit its Instagram page. Many people on Instagram are still eager for this neobank to launch. Reviews for the Lanistar app (which isn’t actually available yet) are very polarized, with many people giving the app either 1 star or 5 stars.
Lanistar Has a Lot to Prove Now
Many fintech publications were very skeptical about Lanistar and reported negative news about this neobank. I’ve even seen people calling it the Fyre Festival of fintechs. But Lanistar hasn’t given up and it still has a sizable fan base even after its struggles last year. And celebrities are still promoting this neobank on Instagram. So if this neobank can launch its app and its debit card successfully, it has an opportunity to recover. But this may be a more challenging task than it would be for other neobanks because of the negative publicity it’s received so far.