Fintok: Should your financial brand be on TikTok?

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Fintok: Should your financial brand be on TikTok?


This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.

TikTok is projected to have over 955 million active users by 2025. It is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, especially with younger demographics. However,  TikTok is often perceived to be quite an unserious platform, mostly used for a few seconds of dancing or comedy, but this is not the case.

TikTok is an infective app. I had trouble while researching this story because I kept getting sucked in to watch more videos. This article will  look at why a financial brand would feel the need to have a presence on the app, but also the risks and problems the platform poses.


I had the pleasure of speaking to Daniela Sale, industry head finance, telco and online apps, global business solutions at TikTok, who explained that for the social media platform, “the opportunity to work with financial brands is always quite exciting because they are always ahead of the curve. Especially fintech companies, because they are the first ones to lead the charge when it comes to pioneering new platforms.” A number of fintech brands, such as Monzo, Sage, and Revolut, have already carved out a space for themselves on TikTok. However, traditional banks like NatWest and Barclays have also posted videos. I spoke with Oliver Mott, head of social media at Starling Bank, about what encouraged them to use TikTok.

Looking at Starling Bank’s TikTok account, I realised that it may be a little confusing to understand the direction of the page for those unfamiliar with the platform. There is a mix of video styles and content; the first one I saw had text that read: “When the money disappears from my account after spending it,” with a woman who had a confused reaction face, a classic joke format for the platform. This was followed by content from comedians like Christopher Hall and Monica Geldart, which are funny with a financial twist. There were also interviews with and comedy sketches from footballer Jill Scott, which seem to have very little financial connection, in addition to videos of influencers talking about particular products Starling has and some financial tips and budgeting advice.

The uninitiated would be a little overwhelmed by that range of content. In any other circumstance, it would be an unusual strategy, but for the platform, this is what you’d expect. Users scroll down their ‘For You’ page, which is personalised based on their behaviour, and will rarely go through a page as a whole. The idea here would be to try and target different users who receive different genres of video. Having said that, the videos that include celebrity appearances like Jill Scott have by far the most engagement.

Starling Bank joined the platform in August 2022 and has quickly amassed a huge following, already garnering tens of thousands of views on some of their content. The bank has been sharing tips on using your Starling account and new features such as their Bills Manager, as well as travelling with Starling and improving online security with virtual cards.

Before they joined, Mott revealed that they had “looked at the UK audience and usage and found that 49% of the 22.5m UK users were over 25 - and it was quickly maturing. Initially, it was just dancing outright and kids mucking about but it very, very quickly changed into something else. We thought okay, well, that's a valid audience. The female and male split was 60/40, and still is broadly. We thought it's not too much of a sort of ‘blokey’ platform. That's a good mix for us and that matches our breakdown.”

In conversation with Sale, she revealed that  part of the reason TikTok appeals to these brands is because “everyone sits at the same table.” For many financial players, this can work to humanise them to their customers.

Regarding whether they had seen much of a difference since joining TikTok, Mott noted that what they are looking for from TikTok is: “Engagement. And mainly organically, making TikToks - not ads, so we still can’t include links easily.” However, he did mention that at time of writing their activity had passed 15 million views and said “those are 15 million brand touchpoints we wouldn’t have otherwise had.”


An important thing to understand about TikTok is that people are not just using the platform for entertainment. They are seeking out information, and this includes financial advice. The ‘financial’ hashtag on TikTok has grown by 30% year-on-year. A number of specific financial advice hashtags also have garnered interest; at the time of writing, #mortgageadviceuk has 13.8 million views, #interestrates has 369.4 million views, and  #personalfinance has 9.3 billion views.

The content posted by financial brands goes far beyond jokes. As Sale noted: “We are seeing a shift in the way people are starting to use the platform and this is captured by the education and search behaviour of users coming on the platform to look for so keep up to date, educate themselves, especially on those topics that are usually difficult to learn from school or traditional institutions.”

A TikTok  campaign of note is one when the social media company partnered with the Citizen Advice TikTok page to create informative videos about financial literacy. There are a number of ‘finfluencers’ who offer advice on budgets or saving, and these includes well known figures like Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis.

Mott noted that part of the reason Starling made the move to TikTok was because the quality of the advice on the app was, and partly still is, “abysmal”.

For Starling, this opened up a space for them to offer what they see as good financial education on the platform. Mott added: “We know from our own surveys and research that parents aren’t confident giving financial advice to their children. This isn’t just people coming out of school and not knowing what a pension is, it’s two or three generations old. So, the amount of people coming to TikTok for advice is mindboggling.”


While there are many positives for people offering financial advice on the app, and it is something that is being sought out by the public, this is not without its risks.

There have been a number of highly publicised scams on the app, and bad financial advice being offered. Mott mentioned being aware of users advising viewers to not invest in a pension, but to purchase cryptocurrency instead. Raconteur also highlighted one way in which TikTok informed users about Tesco a coupon error.

However, TikTok have been attempting to combat this. Sale said: “I think being a new platform, we're always under the spotlight. And it's important for us to have our house in order. We have worked with a number of industry bodies, such as the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). We've also got the gold standard for helping to build a safe ecosystem from the IAB UK. We have community guidelines for our users, and we have really strict regulations around phishing, spam and fraud. For example, there is a  total ban on specific products, such as high-risk and high-return types of investment. Multi-marketing schemes are also not allowed.”

They have also launched some campaigns to raise awareness around this issue. One of these was the FactCheckYourFeed campaign, which aimed to challenge users on how they engage with content and improve media literacy, and warn them of the potential of fraud or negative content on the platform. They also have public service announcements (PSA) attached to commonly searched financial hashtags, for example, if you look up #fintok the PSA read

we have launched a public service announcement (PSA) which appears on some of the most commonly searched hashtags relating to financial advice. So if you look at content on #FinTok, for example, you will see a PSA. When I looked it up it said “helpful tips to avoid making harmful financial decisions” along with a page that advised how to spot scams and talking to a professional.

They also have a lot of oversight on the advertising side of their platform, Sale reports, “Whenever applicable, we carry out verification of the authorisation status of advertisers against the FCA register. This is to ensure that Paid Ads users are authorised by the FCA / PRA to provide their advertised services. It is one of the most regulated industries in the tech space.”

She further stated, “we have been industry leading in the safeguards we have put in place to protect our community.”

However, there are 34 million videos added to TikTok every day, and there are also live streams happening at any time. This is a lot of content to moderate. Sale explained that "we have over 40,000 talented safety professionals dedicated to keeping TikTok safe. We use a combination of technologies and moderation teams to identify, review and, where appropriate, remove content or accounts that violate our Community Guidelines and Ad policies.

They also have a range of Community Guidelines which users agree to when posting. They also publish quarterly reports with analysis of how well they are doing at removing bad content, however, this is self-reported.

All in all, it’s a mixed bag. TikTok does offer the public an accessible way to learn some financial  advice. However, there are still people who will attempt to take advantage of this good faith, and even people who are not aware that the advice that they are giving is bad.

TikTok seems to have put measures in place to stop this, but it’s unclear if this will be enough. 


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This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.