Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Viva la Revolut: fintech 'unicorn' lender looks to Europe

Revolut launched in 2015. Pic Revolut Image Revolut launched in 2015. Pic Revolut
Priscilla Morrison | 15 December, 2018, 23:50

Fintech start-up Revolut has secured a European banking licence as it steps up preparations for a hard Brexit.

Revolut will offer users almost all the services that traditional banks offer, including business and consumer lending, direct salary deposits, overdrafts, and up to €100,000 protection covered by the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

Revolut has been granted an official European banking licence and has revealed plans to provide full current accounts.

One of Britain's fastest-growing financial technology companies has secured a banking licence and is to start lending in Europe next year.

The firm launched an in-app cryptocurrency exchange previous year, and it also debuted a debit card that will allow customers to receive cash back denominated in bitcoin, ripple (XRP), or any of the other cryptocurrency assets available through the app.

Uncertainty surrounding the UK's departure from the European Union at the end of March has been raised after Conservative MPs triggered a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May. Once the United Kingdom leaves the E.U. British financial companies will no longer have the right to "passport" their regulatory approvals to other European jurisdictions.

Thanks to the EU's "bank passport" system, the licence received in Lithuania allows Revolut to offer its services throughout the EU/EEA.

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Customers will also be able to deposit their salaries directly into Revolut accounts, with up to €100,000 covered under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

According to the company's CEO, Nick Storonsky, the license will not be the only one Revolut obtains, CNBC was informed.

"With the banking licence now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well and five new global markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the "Amazon of banking", said Nikolay Storonsky, co-founder and CEO of Revolut.

In April, Revolut closed a $250 million funding round that put its valuation at $1.7 billion.

"Our vision is that retail and business customers will be able to apply for a loan in just two minutes from within the app, and then have the money in their account nearly instantly", Revolut said.

"We'll remove the bureaucratic process and come in cheaper than traditional lenders", he added.

Revolut, which offers users quick and simple access to cryptocurrencies, is opening between 8,000 and 10,000 accounts per day, and has plans to expand into the US, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, throughout 2019.

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