A new digital bank is set to take on Australia’s big four, investing heavily in proprietary technology and shunning bank branches.

86 400, which has been in stealth mode for the last two years, launched publicly today. The challenger banks plans to make its app to the public in the first quarter of 2019 offering a transaction and savings account.

Its name is a reference to the number of seconds in the day and is pronounced eighty-six, four hundred.

The company said has been working closely with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and is already well progressed into the process of obtaining a full banking license.

Backed by Australian payments provider Cuscal, 86 400 is chaired by Anthony Thomson, who has launched two successful banks in the UK, Metro Bank, the UK’s first new bank in 150 years, and Atom Bank, its first digital-only bank.

“Because 86 400 will ultimately have a lower cost ratio than a traditional bank – completely free of expensive, cumbersome legacy technology and physical branches – we’ll be able to provide better value products for customers and better returns for our investors,” Thomson said.

“For too long, banks have put profits before their customers – that’s become the great malaise of the industry. We firmly believe that profit is a by-product of doing something great for the customer.”

86 400’s 60-strong team is led by former ANZ Japan CEO Robert Bell and former Cuscal CIO Brian Parker.

“In order to compete with the big banks, we not only need to offer the full range of services, but we also need to do things differently. 86 400 will have a beautiful, intuitive app, but that won’t be where it ends. We’ve invested a huge amount of energy into building a bank that is technology-led from the start,” Bell said.

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While it is fully owned by Cuscal, which owns the rediATM network, 86 400 will operate as an independent business.

“86 400 has been set up and funded by Cuscal, as a separate entity, with a separate board, and completely separate team. We’ve backed 86 400 because nobody in Australia is leveraging all of the capabilities available to maximise the banking experience on your mobile,” said Craig Kennedy, Cuscal MD.

The rest of 86 400’s leadership team will be comprised of former GM of Digital at Westpac, Travis Tyler as Incoming Chief Product and Marketing Officer; former Head of Operations at Australian Unity Banking, Matt Chan as Chief Operating Officer; CBA’s former International Chief Risk Officer, Guy Harding, as Chief Risk Officer; Cuscal’s former Head of Finance, Neal Hawkins, as Chief Financial Officer; and former Westpac and AMP Project Director, Caroline Milner, as Program Director.

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