French startup Lydia is entering a whole new category by adding trading to its financial super app later this year. The company is partnering with Bitpanda for this feature. Lydia users will be able to buy, hold and sell American and European shares, precious metals, cryptocurrencies and ETFs.
Lydia started as a peer-to-peer payment app that lets you send and receive money instantly from a mobile app. It has added more features over time, such as debit cards, IBANs, money pools, cashback, donations, personal loans, etc.
Like Venmo or Cash App in the U.S., the company attracts new users with peer-to-peer payments and then exposes them to more features and financial products that they can access directly from the app. And it’s been working well as Lydia now has 5.5 million users.
A few months ago, Lydia introduced savings accounts powered by Cashbee. It’s a good old fixed-rate savings account that offers 0.6% in interests. It’s not much, but it’s better than leaving it on your main Lydia account.
And yet, the feature has been working well. On average, users who open a savings account in Lydia put thousands of euros on that account. The next logical step is trading, which introduces more risks but better potential returns.
“If you want to buy assets right now, it’s too complicated,” Lydia co-founder and CEO Cyril Chiche told me. “Even just accessing those markets is complicated. It takes you several days to register and verify your account. After that, you have to send money. And then, there are minimum amounts.”
With Lydia’s trading feature, creating a trading account takes just a few taps in the app. You don’t have to send a photo of your passport again, you don’t have to create a new account with a separate password. You can trade 24/7, which means that you can convert shares to cash and spend it with a Lydia card in just a few taps — there's no need to plan ahead because money arrives on your Lydia account instantly.
After that, you can buy your first share — or fraction of a share — for as little as €1. Lydia and Bitpanda offer fractional shares in French, European and American companies. You can buy precious metals, such as gold, platinum, silver and palladium. You can invest in bitcoin, Ethereum and dozens of other crypto assets — it's worth noting that Bitpanda started as a crypto trading company. Finally, you can also access trackers (ETFs).
Essentially, if there’s an asset that is accessible through a Bitpanda account, you can also access it through your Lydia account. Fees are the same on Lydia and Bitpanda. There are no fees involved with fractional shares but there are some fees for cryptocurrencies and precious metals.
“We met with a lot of potential partners and we realized that we had a lot of things in common [with Bitpanda],” Chiche said. It's a win-win partnership as Bitpanda can also use Lydia as a way to promote its white-label service and integrate trading in other apps. Both companies have agreed to share revenue that comes from Lydia users taking advantage of the trading feature.