Business 14 December 2018

Dan Taylor

Startup Revolut gains European banking license

UK-based fintech firm Revolut has been awarded a banking license in Lithuania, giving the firm access to provide current accounts and loan services across the EU from 2019.

The London startup will initially focus on the Lithuanian market, where it currently supports around 150,000 customers with pre-paid card services, with plans to expand to Poland, France and the UK over the coming months.

The picture is complicated somewhat by ongoing Brexit negotiations, but Revolut has confirmed it would also seek a banking license in its domestic UK market in the event of financial firms losing access to EU consumers under existing licensing arrangements.

Revolut has also previously confirmed it would be seeking an e-money license in Luxembourg, which would effectively ensure EU-wide licensed provision of the firm’s digital banking services.

Chief Executive of Revolut, Nikolay Storonsky, said that the license would support the startup’s vision of rapid and affordable loans for retail and business customers.

“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,” Storonsky said.

Revolut was founded in 2015, initially offering international money transfers and travel currency before branching into pre-paid payment card services.

The company was reported to be in discussion with the Bank of England over licensing in the UK, before ultimately pivoting to the Lithuanian market to gain the bank status afforded by the banking license.

Through the EU, the company will now be in a position to offer regulated banking services to both retail and business account holders.

In a funding round held earlier this year, Revolut was valued at $1.7 billion, and broke even for a short period in 2017 as a result of cryptocurrency trading services at the peak of the BTC bubble.

With its eye on further expansion throughout the EU, Revolut will now build on the banking license to offer its range of innovative app-based financial and banking services.

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