How does MoneyLion make money?

MoneyLion is an American neobank headquartered in New York City and founded in 2013 by Chee Mun Foong, Dee Choubey, and Pratyush Tiwari. The mobile and web-only platform offers credit building loans, investing, cash advances, and banking services.

Foong was inspired to create MoneyLion while performing research at an artificial intelligence (AI) lab at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. Prior to this, Foong had started another company called Simulex which had a core focus on the commercialization of human behavioral models. 

Simulex was ultimately sold to a defense contractor in the United States, with Foong then co-founding MoneyLion with Choubey and Tiwari to use similar AI models in the consumer finance industry. At a time when the market was starting to emerge from the GFC, the co-founders observed that the big banks were abandoning millions of middle-class Americans. Moving forward, MoneyLion would provide access to private banking functionality to this underserved group.

Today, MoneyLion has around 2.7 million customers with the company going public via a SPAC merger in September 2021. Around the same time, MoneyLion introduced a new cryptocurrency trading feature with a $1 million prize on offer for those who registered for a new account.

MoneyLion revenue generation

MoneyLion’s core product is a low or no-fee account that allows customers to save, invest, bank, or borrow. The company also makes money from its premium mobile banking solution, investment platform, cash advance facility, and credit builder.

Let’s look at these in more detail below.

Premium mobile banking

The MoneyLion premium mobile banking option is called RoarMoney and comes with many perks. These include fee-free withdrawals at over 55,000 in-network ATMs and early access to direct deposit paychecks.

MoneyLion charges $1 per month for this service as an administration fee, with out-of-network ATM withdrawals attracting a fee of $2.50. 

Cash advances

MoneyLion also offers a cash advance facility called Instacash with zero fees for standard delivery within 24-48 hours.

For those who want their money in a matter of minutes, fees are charged based on the amount of money requested. A cash advance of $20 attracts a fee of $1.99 for RoarMoney account holders and $2.99 for those with an external debit card. For a cash advance of $100, on the other hand, there is a $5.99 fee for RoarMoney account holders and a $7.99 fee for external debit cardholders.

Managed investment account

MoneyLion also offers a selection of automated ETF investment portfolios based on a consumer’s risk appetite. Portfolios can also take on a tech, innovation, or corporate social responsibility theme if desired. 

A monthly account fee for this service is collected based on the total funds under management:

  • For accounts up to a value of $5,000, the fee is $1 per month.
  • For accounts up to a value of $25,000, the fee is $3 per month.
  • For accounts over $25,000, the fee is $5 per month.

Credit building loans

Credit building loans help a consumer boost their credit score with small principle amounts that are paid off over 12 monthly installments. Note that the funds a consumer pays towards the loan will be available to them as savings once the loan term ends.

MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus Membership is charged at $19.99 per month, with the loan APR varying from 5.99% to 29.99%. Loans are available for amounts between $500 and $1,000.

Customers can also have their RoarMoney and investment account administrative fees refunded if they take out a loan.

Cryptocurrency

MoneyLion Crypto gives customers access to Ethereum and Bitcoin trading, with additional currencies expected to be added in the future.

The company makes money on the spread when cryptocurrency is converted to dollars.

Key takeaways:

  • MoneyLion is an American neobank headquartered in New York City and was founded in 2013 by Chee Mun Foong, Dee Choubey, and Pratyush Tiwari.
  • MoneyLion’s core product is a low or no-fee account that allows customers to save, invest, bank, or borrow. Revenue is bolstered with a premium mobile banking product and cash advance fees for customers who want their funds delivered in minutes.
  • MoneyLion also makes money from investment account management fees. Furthermore, the company collects a monthly fee and loan interest on its credit builder loans.

Read Next: Business Models.

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