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Interview of Compte Nickel’s CEO Hugues Le Bret

Compte Nickel opened its 2,100th point of sales in December 2016. This French-based current account and debit card plaftorm is now at the level of the largest retail banking networks by number of point of sales. But who can explain the business better than Hugues Le Bret, Compte Nickel’s CEO?


Can you describe Compte Nickel’s offer?
Compte Nickel is a current account. People open it in less than ten minutes at one of our 2,000 Tobacconists shop. They get immediately an IBAN, an activated International Mastercard and realtime Home & Mobile banking services (balance, transfers, texto payments, etc.).


How many customers do you have today and where are they based?
We open more than 25,000 accounts a month. We are number One in France. End October 2016, we had 420,000 customers. We started in February 2014 and took 0,6% of the French IBAN market in less than 32 months when all French Online banks took 20 years to get 2,5% of the market.


What are your plans for the coming months (any new geography, B2B offer etc.)?
We focus on growing in France. We open 100 new point of sales a month, which represent one new Tobacconist Nickel every two hours. We open a new account every 30 seconds. We are the only realtime processing current account and improve continuously our operations. for instance we just adopted Cassandra technologies to treat huge volumes in realtime. We develop usability and data analysis to help clients to know and understand better their behaviour and tomorrow, benefit from new offers. We’ll launch accounts for SMEs mid 2017.


Where do you think the banking industry is today?
You don’t need a bank to pay and be paid, you need a tech company. Retail Banks stay in a batch world when customers leave with realtime technologies. Milleniums don’t enter in their branches. They are under the pressure of the very low interest rates curb. Retail banking revenue decrease by 2 to 5% a year when their operational costs raise by 1 to 2%.


Apart from Compte Nickel, which players will do you think will be game changers FinTech in the coming years?
A lot of Fintechs will succeed. I personally prefer four segments : Fintechs who offer very simple and transparent services to the mass market in payments and insurance. Those who offer competitive services to SMEs (lending, forex, etc.). Those who’ll bring calculation and intelligence services to companies and banks. Those who’ll bring Blockchain solutions.


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