Revolut, a digital banking alternative that features an in-app bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, has received a European banking license as it seeks to expand its offerings and position itself as the “Amazon of banking.”
Revolut to Offer Bank Accounts in Europe
The London-based unicorn, which remains one of the hottest fintech startups in the United Kingdom, announced on Thursday that it had received permission to begin offering European customers traditional banking services alongside its current suite of products.
Initially, Revolut customers in eligible jurisdictions will have the ability to sign up for direct deposit and receive deposit insurance on up to €100,000 through the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. Later, the firm will roll out overdraft protection, as well as traditional personal and business loans.
Commenting on the development, Nikolay Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut, said:
“With the banking licence now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of banking.’ Our vision is simple: one app with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Those services will begin to launch in 2019, and Revolut said that they would first launch in smaller markets before expanding them to larger markets in Europe such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Poland.
“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 almost instantly. We’ll remove the bureaucratic process and come in cheaper than traditional lenders.”
Revolut Embraces Bitcoin as other Banks Shun Crypto
The move represents a major step forward as upstart firms seek to disrupt traditional banking, but it also carries particular significance for the cryptocurrency industry. Crypto firms — particularly exchanges — have often faced significant roadblocks when attempting to find stable banking partners, as many financial institutions remain wary of the nascent technology.
However, Revolut has welcomed the advent of crypto technology, as CCN reported. The firm launched an in-app cryptocurrency exchange last 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. Those services sit alongside its other products, which for some customers will soon feature standard bank accounts.
Revolut recently received a $1.7 billion valuation following a funding round that raised its total financing to $340 million. The firm claims to have more than 3 million customers in Europe, with as many as 10,000 new customers signing up on a daily basis. Those customers are transacting over $4 billion per month, enabling Revolut to increase its revenue fivefold over the past 12 months.
Similar to popular US trading app Robinhood, Revolut recently announced that it would add commission-free stock trading for customers in the UK and across Europe early next year.
The company has also announced plans for an ambitious global expansion that could see it enter the United States, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand in early 2019.
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