While challenger banks take on different forms, they share some common characterictsic. 1. User experience through mobile only is imperative 2. Ecouraging financial literacy though everyday banking advice 3. The center of gravity for challengers differ from incumbents. While incumbents built around core banking, challengers shift the center of gravity from the core to their API layer.
In the early days most of what we saw was Pretty Lipstick, now the market has matured and these challengers realize its more than that. There will be a few challengers that will survive at the banking game by going places banks have not gone before. The incumbents, message is simple yes the first iteration might be lipstick but those who are serious about disruption your sector are going to do things you have not done before and this will ultimately beat banks
As OakTree (a 1yr old bank that maybe belongs to the Challenger category) reports that it is profitable; I spotted this image (Chris Gledhill tweeted it).
Enjoy the spectrum.