Dosh co-founders James McEniery, left, and Shane Marsh, right.

Dosh applies to become New Zealand’s first locally-owned, digital-only bank

Award winning money app Dosh has initiated its application to become a registered bank in New Zealand, aiming to increase much-needed competition in the banking sector and enhance the financial wellbeing of Kiwis – especially digital natives.

If successful, Dosh will be the first locally-owned, digital-only bank in New Zealand. The digital-only model, which eliminates the cost associated with physical branches, reduces prices for consumers.

Built on the latest technology, digital-only banks are more agile and better placed to introduce new technologies such as AI. They also connect with younger generations who favour innovative banking systems, like those available internationally.

“We get that most banks have apps these days,” says Dosh Co-founder Shane Marsh. “But these services have been layered on top of a traditional business model that ultimately costs consumers more. A digital-only bank like Dosh is designed from the ground up to deliver smarter banking solutions, for less.

“It’s banking without the bull,” Marsh continues.

The Kiwi-owned and operated startup has been providing consumers with digital wallet services and personal loans since late 2021. Achieving official bank status would enable it to hold money for customers directly, rather than having to contract with legacy banks to do so.

This change will enable Dosh to compete with big banks for market share, potentially spurring downward pressure on banking prices across the sector.

New Zealand banks are the second most profitable in the world according to the S&P Global Ratings report.

Last month the Government requested a select committee inquiry into banking competition, off the back of the Commerce Commission’s market study into personal banking services.

The study’s draft report found the sector to be a “stable oligopoly with no ‘maverick’ provider” and highlighted the major banks’ “limited investment in innovation”.

Marsh and fellow Co-founder James McEniery see this as an opportunity to bring much-needed competition to the local industry through world-first digital solutions.

McEniery says, “We really wanted to bring the latest in banking innovation from around the world to Kiwis. Our goal is also to connect with a new generation of bankers and strengthen their financial wellbeing.”

The bank registration process is expected to take time – as Dosh is the first local, solely digital entity to pursue registration through the Reserve Bank.

“We hope to pave the way for more banking entrants like us,” Marsh says. “Our goal is to help foster a sector that is accessible to new participants and offers services that are accessible to new consumers.”