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May 22, 2024
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Romanian Neobank SALT: All You Need To Know

The Romanian banking landscape is undergoing a significant transformation with the arrival of neobanks. SALT, launched in April 2024, stands out as the first entirely Romanian-owned neobank, poised to disrupt the traditional financial sector.

This comprehensive article delves into SALT’s unique offerings, history, and potential impact on the Romanian financial ecosystem. It explores the reasons why you should consider making SALT your new bank and the ways SALT changes the financial environment in Romania and worldwide.

What is SALT Bank?

SALT is a digital-only bank operating exclusively through its mobile application. Unlike conventional banks with physical branches, SALT leverages technology to provide a seamless and user-friendly banking experience. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Banca Transilvania, Romania’s most significant financial group, ensuring stability and credibility for its users.

Banca Transilvania is the most solid Romanian bank and ranks in the top 3 internationally by brand strength.

History of SALT

SALT’s journey began in 1998 under the Romanian International Bank (RIB). In 2014, it was acquired by Idea Bank, a Polish institution.

In 2021, Banca Transilvania took ownership and rebranded it as SALT in November 2023.

This strategic move signifies Banca Transilvania’s commitment to digital transformation and catering to the evolving needs of tech-savvy customers.

Key Features of SALT

  • 100% Digital Experience: SALT eliminates the need for physical branches, allowing users to manage their finances entirely through smartphones. This provides unmatched convenience, especially for those who value mobility and ease of access.
  • Competitive Interest Rates: SALT offers an attractive 3% annual interest rate on current account holdings, making it a compelling option for saving money. This stands out compared to traditional banks, where interest rates on checking accounts are often minimal.
  • Spaces: This innovative feature allows users to create separate accounts within the main account for specific goals, promoting better budgeting and financial planning. For instance, you can create a “Space” for your holiday savings or another for an upcoming down payment.
  • Multicurrency Card: The SALT card facilitates transactions in 17 different currencies, catering to individuals who frequently travel or conduct international business. This eliminates the need for multiple cards or currency exchange hassles.
  • Founders Program: A unique feature is that the Founders Program grants early adopters the opportunity to become shareholders in the bank upon a potential future initial public offering (IPO). This incentivizes early users and potentially allows them to benefit from SALT’s future growth.

Partnership between SALT and Starling Bank

SALT has partnered with Starling Bank, a prominent British challenger bank, to leverage their state-of-the-art cloud-based banking platform, {Engine by Starling.

This collaboration positions SALT to deliver a robust and scalable digital banking infrastructure. Engine by Starling is known for its reliability and security, ensuring a smooth and secure banking experience for SALT users.

The Future of SALT

SALT’s arrival marks a significant development in the Romanian financial sector. Its focus on innovation, user-centricity, and competitive offerings positions it to capture a significant share of the digital banking market.

As financial literacy and smartphone penetration continue to rise in Romania, SALT is well-positioned to become a dominant player, shaping the future of banking in the region.

Investment Opportunities in SALT

While SALT is not publicly traded, the Founders Program offers a potential future investment opportunity. Early adopters who sign up during the initial launch phase may be granted the chance to acquire shares in the bank if it decides to go public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

This program incentivizes early users and potentially allows them to benefit from SALT’s future growth.

Comparison with Other Neobanks on the Market

The Romanian neobank landscape is developing, with few established players. However, some potential competitors include Revolut, a global neobank offering currency exchange and international payments, and Bunq, a Dutch neobank known for its sustainable practices and focus on social responsibility.

Here’s a table comparing SALT with its potential competitors:

Launch CountryRomaniaUnited KingdomNetherlands
Account ManagementMobile App OnlyMobile App & WebMobile App & Web
Monthly Account FeePotentially FreeFree & Premium PlansFree & Premium Plans
Interest on Current Account3% annual interestVaries by currency0.09% annual interest
International ReachLimited (launch phase)GlobalPrimarily Europe
Comparison between international neobanks

Why You Should Make an Account with SALT

Here are some compelling reasons to consider opening an account with SALT

  • Early Mover Advantage: Be among the first to experience a revolutionary new banking platform built for the Romanian market. By joining SALT early, you can shape the bank’s future and potentially benefit from exclusive features or rewards offered to early adopters.
  • Competitive Interest Rates: Earn a compelling 3% annual interest rate on your current account balance, maximizing your returns. This is a significant advantage compared to traditional banks in Romania, where interest rates on checking accounts are often negligible. You can watch your savings grow faster by putting your money in a SALT current account.
  • Innovative Features: Enjoy features like “Spaces” for better budgeting and the Founders Program for a potential future investment opportunity. “Spaces” allows you to organize your finances effectively and allocate funds towards specific goals. The Founders Program offers the chance to be a part of SALT’s growth journey and potentially reap financial rewards if the bank goes public.
  • Security and Stability: Backed by Banca Transilvania, Romania’s most significant financial group, SALT offers peace of mind with its secure and reliable infrastructure. You can be confident that your money is safe and that SALT adheres to the strictest financial regulations. Banca Transilvania’s established reputation ensures SALT’s stability and credibility.
  • Convenience and User-Friendliness: Manage your finances entirely through the user-friendly mobile app, eliminating the need for physical branch visits. SALT’s app is designed for ease of use, allowing you to perform transactions, check your balance, and access all features conveniently from your smartphone. This is ideal for those who value their time and prefer a hassle-free banking experience.

SALT: The Next Gen Banking

SALT’s emergence signifies a new era for Romanian banking. With its focus on innovation, user experience, and a commitment to the local market, SALT offers a refreshing alternative to traditional banks. Whether you’re an early adopter seeking a cutting-edge banking experience or simply looking for a convenient and feature-rich way to manage your finances, SALT is worth considering. As the digital banking landscape in Romania continues to evolve, SALT is poised to be a frontrunner, shaping the way Romanians bank for years to come.

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