Global FinTech Guide
Country Name
United States
Online banking services
FinTechs belonging to this area offer traditional banking services in a modern way, usually through online services or mobile applications as well as ancillary services – e.g. enabling customers to manage their giro- or custody-accounts online and in real time or offering e-wallet services. Keywords in this context are also API-Banking or Banking as a Service (BaaS)/ Bank as a Platform (BaaP).


API stands for application programming interface and is offered to access data banks and to extract and insert information. API-Banking consequently means the access to data banks of banks to offer new and innovative banking applications.

Through these services FinTechs offer services with new functions, e.g. enabling customers to manage their accounts online and in real time.

BaaS – Bank as a Service/BaaP – Bank as a Platform:
The API-based Bank as a Service platform has a full banking licence, but merely serves as the back end for standalone independent FinTechs, which “use” the licence and the back end of the bank to offer new financial services, launch additional financial products or expand into additional markets.


Attitude of the country towards online-banking services

Online banking is well-established in the United States market. While there are some online-only banks, the vast majority of online banking is done through traditional banks that also have a physical presence. The white labelling of banking services to non-bank FinTechs is also increasing in prevalence, though fairly nascent.

Legal affairs

Obligations and requirements to provide online-banking services described above

Online banks are subject to all the same regulations as traditional brick and mortar banks, which are extremely heavily regulated. Numerous agencies are assigned to oversee banking institutions, including the Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC, CPFB and state banking authorities. The specific regulations to which banking entities are subject depend on the bank’s activities, including whether they are depository institutions, as well as the regulators that are assigned primary oversight over the institution. In nearly all instances, banks are subject to intense regulatory scrutiny and the costs of compliance are very high, both in terms of spending and human capital. 

There is increasing prevalence of BaaS providers. A BaaS provider would utilise a regulated bank’s license to provide banking services through a non-bank platform, essentially ‘white labelling’ the bank’s regulated back office to offer credit cards or other banking services. This can be conducted either where the BaaS itself is the sole customer of the regulated bank or where the regulated bank enters into direct customer relationships with the BaaS users. This also may allow non-financial websites and apps to embed banking capabilities onto those websites and apps, such as by offering debit cards or short-term loans. 

Additional comments regarding the legal situation for online-banking services or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area

Working through a BaaS model can be a cost-efficient way for FinTechs to offer some banking-type services.

Economic conditions

Market size for online-banking services and biggest companies in this business area

Online and mobile banking comprise a significant percentage of the overall United States banking market. According to a 2018 survey, 89% of American respondents said that they had used mobile banking. Nearly all major United States banks have their own online banking portals and apps. 

According to Forbes, the BaaS market was about $22.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to increase tenfold by 2025. There is no reliable market data on which banks or FinTechs are the market leaders.

Additional comments regarding the economic situation for online-banking services or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area




© 2022, Polsinelli PC. All rights reserved by Polsinelli PC as author and the owner of the copyright in this chapter. Polsinelli PC has granted to Multilaw non-exclusive worldwide license to use and include this chapter in this guide and to sublicense Lexis Nexis, a division of RELX Inc. and its affiliates certain rights to use and distribute this guide.

The information in this guide provides a general overview at the time of publication and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all legal developments nor should it be taken as opinion or legal advice on the matters covered. It is for general information purposes only and readers should take legal advice from a Multilaw member firm.


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