AnalyticsJanuary 28, 2022

Best Fintech Apps – Downloads & Investments

Europe’s fintech unicorns see an increase of 33% downloads in 2021.

unicorn fintech apps

Here at App Radar, we like to dig deeper into interpreting what the data actually means. So we looked at the fintech app companies which achieved unicorn status in 2021 and their amount of Android app downloads. How many downloads have they received next to their high investments? Then we compared it with the fintech apps that are currently trending with the highest amount of downloads in general on the Google Play Store.

These two variables together give a good overview of who is winning in the fintech industry - either by the traction they’re receiving from users or investors. 

Best Fintech Apps with Unicorn Status 2021

Finance continues to be one of the leading app categories among European unicorns. And fintech also continues to be one of the main sectors in European funding. By June 2021, Europe had already raised €10.4bn, breaking the previous record of €9.3bn set in 2019.

In 2020, fintech startups received from venture capital investors $44.1 billion. In 2009 it was only $1.1 billion.

What is an “unicorn” among fintech apps?

Just like in fairy tales, unicorns in the business world refer to something magical as well. It is a privately held company that reaches the rare status of being valued over $1 billion. Variants include also a decacorn, valued at over $10 billion, and a hectocorn, valued at over $100 billion.

Some unicorns are rather unknown companies quietly having a high impact on their industry. Others are well-branded industry leaders, like aerospace manufacturer SpaceX and game developer/publisher Epic Games.

BitPanda leads with the growth among fintech apps

We looked at 14 fintech app companies that announced unicorn status in 2021, to determine how downloads performance on the Google Play store compared to the previous year and how much bearing downloads had on valuation. There were in total 8.6 million Android downloads while they achieved unicorn status. That’s a 33% increase (until the end of November) in the number of app downloads compared to during 2020.

BitPanda saw the biggest percentage increase in its download numbers in 2021, from 132K to 754K, an increase of almost 470%. Following were Trade Republic (150% with 1.3M new users) and Swile (94% with 156K new users).

Marshmallow and Pleo had the smallest customer base on achieving unicorn status with just 19K and 35K total Android downloads respectively. had the largest number of downloads when they unicorned, at 10.2 million.

CompanyDate of unicorn announcementGoogle Play downloads when unicorned
Marshmallow Insurance8 September 202119K
Zilch10 November 2021210K
Bitpanda16 March 2021491K
Trade Republic20 May 20211.1M
Swile11 October 2021256K
Zopa19 October 2021197K
Alan19 April 202155K
Pleo6 July 202135K
Scalable Capital8 June 2021763K
Lunar12 July 2021486K
Zego9 March 2021179K
Blockchain.com17 February 202110.2M
Starling Bank 8 March 20211.9M
ZEPZ 23 August 20215.6M

Two of the apps also made their debut on the Google Play store, including Marshmallow Insurance, gaining 34K downloads, and Zilch which gained 232K.

When you look at the customer base of each 2021 fintech unicorn you can see how much higher the bar is for consumer facing apps versus ones that predominantly cater to businesses. In most cases, you need around 1 million downloads on Android which would likely translate into at least 2 million users when you include other platforms. However, for most B2B apps low hundreds of thousands, and in some cases even tens of thousands seem to be more than enough for the market at the moment.

- Thomas Kriebernegg, MD of App Radar
CompanyDate unicorn announcementDownloads in 2021Downloads in 2020
Alan19 April 202144K25K
Bitpanda16 March 2021754K132K
Blockchain.com17 February 20213.1M2.7M
Lunar12 July 2021211K176K
Marshmallow Insurance8 September 202134KN/A
Pleo6 July 202122K12K
Scalable Capital8 June 2021558K356K
Starling Bank8 March 2021578K642K
Swile11 October 2021156K80K
Trade Republic20 May 20211.3M544K
Zego9 March 202198K83K
ZEPZ (WorldRemit)23 August 20211.3M1.5M
Zilch10 November 2021232KN/A
Zopa19 October 2021122K66K

Best Fintech Apps by Worldwide Android Downloads

Besides looking at the highest evaluations of fintech companies with apps, we also gathered data about the ones currently getting the most downloads on the Google Play Store in general. In other words, to define the best fintech apps, below is a list of Google Play Top 50 for finance category, based on the number of downloads in December 2021.

Note: you can check out this data under Market Analytics in App Radar for all Google Play categories on a monthly basis and access also historical data.

50 Most Downloaded Fintech Apps on Google Play

For the selected period, the most popular apps for the finance category on Google Play were for mobile payments, crypto platforms and challenger banks. Such as Google Pay, PayPal, Binance, Nubank and

RankAppEstimated Google Play Downloads
in December 2021
1Google Pay19.8M
2Google Pay15.3M
3PhonePe: UPI, Recharge, Investment, Insurance9.1M
4Paytm -UPI, Money Transfer, Recharge, Bill Payment6.4M
5PayPal - Send, Shop, Manage5.3M
6Binance: BTC NFTs Memes & Meta3.3M
7Nubank: conta, cartão e mais3.1M
8YONO SBI: Banking & Lifestyle2.6M
9Mercado Pago: cuenta digital2.6M
10iti: banco digital do Itaú2.4M - Buy BTC, ETH2.2M
12MetaMask - Buy, Send and Swap Crypto2.1M
13СберБанк Онлайн — с Салютом1.9M
14DANA - Indonesia's Digital Wallet1.9M
15CoinDCX:Bitcoin Investment App1.8M
16GCash - Buy Load, Pay Bills, Send Money1.8M
18Navi: Loans & Health Insurance1.6M
19Cash App1.6M
20PicPay: Conta, Pix e Cartão1.6M
22Trust: Crypto & Bitcoin Wallet1.5M
23Upstox Old - Stocks, MF & IPOs1.4M
24CAIXA Tem1.4M
25Claro Pay: Conta gratuita1.4M
26Bajaj Finserv-Loan,UPI,Payment1.4M
27Groww - Stocks, Demat, Mutual Fund, SIP1.4M
28Huobi Global: Buy BTC & SHIB1.4M
29Coinbase: Buy Bitcoin & Ether1.3M
30Ame Digital: Carteira Digital1.3M
31IQ Option – Online Investing Platform1.3M
32neobank: BNC digital bank, tabungan online1.3M
33Inter: Pix, Cartão e Conta1.3M
34Serasa: Consulta CPF e Score1.2M
35C6 Bank1.2M
37bob World1.2M
38Banco do Brasil | Conta, cartão, pix e mais!1.2M
39KreditBee: Get Instant Loan1.1M
41Kotak - 811 & Mobile Banking1.1M
42Wave - Mobile Money1.1M
43OctaFX Trading App1.1M
44Santander Brasil1.1M
45ExpertOption - Mobile Trading1.1M
46Yono Lite SBI - Mobile Banking1M
47slice: Credit Card Challenger1M
49Jar: Daily Savings in Digital Gold1M
50Banco Bradesco1M
Source: App Radar Download Trends

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Summary of Best Fintech Apps in 2021

To evaluate which are the best fintech apps during 2021, we can analyse their amount of app downloads or at the investor money the companies were able to attract. The sample of selected 14 European fintech app companies that achieved unicorn status in 2021 showed a 33% increase in year-on-year downloads. However, the correlation between the user demand and investment amount is not always significant.

The most downloaded apps in the finance category on Google Play in December 2021 were for mobile payments, challenger banks and crypto apps. The top also included Austrian unicorn cryptocurrency platform Bitpanda which showcased one of the fastest growth in the industry.

Of course reaching unicorn status is a nice achievement but it doesn’t ensure long term success. The pressure is now on these startups to maintain their growth and continue to scale internationally. Entering new markets with your app is one of the biggest challenges many businesses face. It requires paying close attention to marketing and optimisation. Neglecting or underinvesting in app store positioning can ultimately result in a failed market entry.

- Thomas Kriebernegg, MD of App Radar.

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Grete Ling
Head of Product Marketing at SplitMetrics
Grete is a proud Estonian (a tiny country with the highest amount of Unicorns per capita) and always integrates the idea of "born global" into her marketing strategies. Since 2011, she's been working in Europe and the US with SMEs taking their businesses global. She believes in collaborative teamwork and looking at user acquisition strategically as one big picture.
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