Revolut Arrives in the U.S.A.

Photo by Joël Super from Pexels

Revolut, the London-based fintech and alternative bank that reached unicorn status in 2018, has finally made its move to America.

The financial services company has racked up more than 10 million customers in the U.K. and Europe since its launch in 2015. Now an option for banking customers in the United States, Revolut enables users to send free, real-time payments, and make fund transfers and exchanges at the interbank rate in 28 currencies. Customers can also use the app to manage their financial lives more efficiently with instant spending alerts, budget categorization tools, bill-splitting, round-up savings on transactions, and card controls. Those who select direct deposit can get their wages up to 48 hours in advance of their regular pay date.

“America, we come bearing good news in these uncertain times,” the company’s Head of Marketing and Communications Chad West announced on the Revolut blog this morning. “Imagine, one app to manage your entire financial life.”

The Revolut app is available for both iOS and Android. Once the user downloads the app and enters their information, the verification and approval process takes only a few minutes after which the new customer can begin making deposits and sending money.

Deposits in the U.S. are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 (thanks to a partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank). Revolut customers have access to more than 55,000+ ATMs in the U.S. and around the world.

“When spending or transferring money overseas, most people are unaware of the hidden fees that banks are charging them,” Revolut founder and CEO Nik Storonsky said. “The world is becoming more connected, and financial services should be supporting this notion, not hindering it.”

Last month Revolut announced a $500 million fundraising that boosted the company’s total capital to $836 million and gave the firm a valuation of $5.5 billion. Revolut recently unveiled its digital money management accounts for children (and their parents), Revolut Junior. The company, which was an early pioneer in cryptocurrency holdings, also introduced a new service this month that will enable its customers on its Premium and Metal plans to make in-app purchases of gold.

Revolut Users Can Now Diversify with Gold

Digital alternative banking company Revolut announced this week it is helping users diversify their portfolios even further by enabling in-app purchases of gold.

The U.K.-based company, which first started with cryptocurrency holdings, then began offering investment in stocks, will enable customers on its Premium and Metal plans to purchase and transfer gold. Users cannot, however, make purchases with their gold holdings using their Revolut card. If a user attempts to make a purchase when they only have funds in gold, Revolut will convert a portion of their gold into fiat currency and use that.

Revolut makes it clear that since gold is not regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, funds used to purchase gold – and the gold itself – will not be safeguarded under the U.K. Electronic Money Regulations 2011, the Payment Service Regulations 2017, or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

This is good timing on behalf of Revolut. Since the stock market and crypto assets are extremely volatile at the moment, many people are purchasing to gold to grasp onto some stability. And now they don’t even need to leave Revolut’s app to do so.

There is no word on if or when the company will allow trading of other precious metals such as silver or platinum.

Revolut’s $500 Million Round Boosts Valuation to $5.5 Billion

Global financial platform Revolut has secured its place as the U.K.’s most valuable fintech. The London-based company secured a $500 million investment, bringing its total funding to $836 million.

With this, Revolut’s valuation tripled, escalating to $5.5 billion. As a comparison, digital bank Monzo was valued at $2.6 billion last year. Revolut’s funding was led by U.S. investor Technology Crossover Ventures while a handful of undisclosed existing investors also contributed.

The funding will be used to enhance Revolut’s customer experience, grow its workforce, and create new products that entice users to log into their accounts more frequently. As a part of this, Revolut will use the funds to enhance Premium and Metal subscription account offerings. These paid products are not only a significant part of Revolut’s business model, they also show huge promise, growing by 154% last year alone.

“We’re on a mission to build a global financial platform – a single app where our customers can manage all of their daily finances, and this investment demonstrates investor confidence in our business model,” said Revolut CEO and founder Nik Storonsky. “Going forward, our focus is on rolling-out banking operations in Europe, increasing the number of people who use Revolut as their daily account, and striving towards profitability.”

Revolut employs 2,000 people across 23 global offices. The company counts more than 10 million customers and has processed one billion transactions worth $130 billion since it was founded in 2013.

The company has seen significant success since its early days. Just last year Revolut increased customer growth by 169%, boosted the number of daily active customers by 380%, and saw year-over-year financial revenues grow by 354%. The company aims to continue this growth by launching lending services for retail and business customers, extending high interest savings accounts beyond the U.K., improving customer service, and rolling out banking operations across Europe.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Nigerian Fintechs Near $400m Week; Ant Financial Eyes License in Singapore

The nearly-$400 million poured into fintech companies in Nigeria alone this week is being remarked upon as a testament to the growing investor interest in sub-Saharan Africa. The three recipients of the new capital in recent days are OPay ($120 million), Interswitch ($200 million), and PalmPay ($40 million). The investors include Sequoia Capital China and SoftBank Ventures Asia, as well as China’s Transsion and Visa.

For comparison, African fintechs raised $357 million in all of 2018, according to a 2019 report from the GSM Association, The Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa. Quoted in the Financial Times on the week’s funding news, Guaranty Trust Bank chief executive Segun Agbaje credited the payments industry for the surge in investment, calling the growth in the sector “probably like no other on the continent.”

Finovate made its African debut last year in Cape Town, South Africa. For an in-depth look at recent trends in African fintech, check out Jonathan Gregson’s “Africa’s Fintech Makeover.”

China’s impact on international fintech is also evident in the news that Ant Financial is considering applying for a virtual banking license in Singapore. Successfully securing such a license would enable Ant Financial to compete against Chinese incumbents like DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ant Financial secured a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong last year.

Latin America and the Caribbean

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  • Mexican non-bank wallet service Todito Cash inks partnerships with four financial payment solutions companies.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ant Financial may be one the hunt for a Singaporean virtual banking license, reports Bloomberg, following the online finance titan’s recent scoring of a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong.
  • InstaReM rebrands as Nium, announces cross border payments partnership with Cambodian banking group, PhillipBank.
  • Indonesia’s biggest banking group, Bank Mandiri will use the Avaloq’s Banking Suite to run its wealth management division, which has $14 billion in assets under management.

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  • Nigeria’s OPay raises $120 million in new funding. The investment adds to the $50 million the mobile payments service raised in June.
  • Asilimia, a Kenya-based fintech that helps SMEs access more efficient mobile payment solutions, secures $350,000 in funding.
  • South African digital commerce fintech Vectra wins Seedstars Cape Town competition.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Revolut reaches 250,000 users in Hungary and reports an 8x gain in monthly transaction volume since the beginning of the year.
  • Latvia-based, P2P lending platform TWINO surpasses €1 billion euros in originated loans.
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  • In partnership with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Wethaq pilots Sukuk issuance on its securities market infrastructure.

Central and Southern Asia

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

How Revolut and Mastercard Are Helping Fintech Do Good

Revolut and Mastercard have teamed up this month to help rebuild schools in Mozambique after they were destroyed by a cyclone this spring. The effort, which is timed with UN’s Universal Children’s Day, aims to raise $207,000 (£160,000) to help get children in Mozambique back to school.

Revolut accountholders are able to show their support by making an in-app donation to Save the Children. Revolut and Mastercard will match donations from Revolut Mastercard customers. The goal is to complete the fundraising by January 2020 so that the schools can be built in time for the school year.

The campaign is made possible by the Donation feature Revolut launched in July. The feel-good feature allows cardholders to set up a recurring payment, make a one-off donation, or round up their purchases to the nearest whole number and donate the spare change. In addition to partnering with Save the Children, Revolut also facilitates donations to WWF and ILGA-Europe.

This campaign is part of a larger philanthropic trend moving through fintech lately. Other fintechs facilitating charity efforts include Meniga, which recently formed a partnership with the UN to allow users to donate their cash-back rewards to fight climate change, and Radius (recently acquired by Kabbage) which launched its Data for Good campaign to help the company’s employees and customers give back to their communities.

Revolut debuted its digital banking technology at FinovateEurope 2015 in London where the company’s CEO and founder Nikolay Storonsky showed off the app’s money transfer capabilities that help users avoid banking fees without actually using a bank.

Last month, Revolut launched in Singapore and announced plans to make its products available in the U.S. in the next couple of months. And in early October the company tapped investment bank JP Morgan to conduct a $500 million funding round and issue it a $1 billion convertible loan. The loan will turn into shares if Revolut receives a U.S. banking license.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Revolut Makes Use of Open Banking with New Quickbooks Integration

Revolut announced a partnership today that is a direct result of new open banking standards. The U.K.-based challenger bank has integrated with QuickBooks to enable Revolut for Business customers to sync their transactions with the bookkeeping software.

In a blog post, Revolut said that this “demonstrates a huge step forward for U.K. businesses” and it’s the first time the company has collaborated with a third party provider to use the new Open Banking APIs.

“It was only natural that we would team up with QuickBooks for this project, not only is it the world’s largest cloud accounting provider, but we also share the same customer-driven values; to deliver a best in class service through innovation,” said Domenico De Fano, Product Owner at Revolut for Business. “We understand the importance of accurate, secure and fast information to our customers, that’s why we invested the time to get the best connections in place with QuickBooks.”

Merchants that connect their business accounts with Quickbooks will receive real-time updates on payments, expenses, and cash balances to help them manage payroll, invoices, and taxes.

Revolut debuted its digital banking technology at FinovateEurope 2015 in London where the company’s CEO and founder Nikolay Storonsky showed off the app’s money transfer capabilities that help users avoid banking fees without actually using a bank.

Earlier this month the company tapped investment bank JP Morgan to conduct a $500 million funding round and issue it a $1 billion convertible loan, which will turn into shares if Revolut receives a U.S. banking license. Last week, the company launched in Singapore and announced plans to make its products available in the U.S. in the next couple of months.

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.