Revolut launched in July 2015 with a punchy mission: to turn the financial banking sector on its head. With Revolut, users can set up an app-based current account in 60 seconds, spend abroad in over 150 currencies with no fees, hold and exchange 24 currencies in-app and send free domestic and international money transfers with the real exchange rate.
Since July 2015, London-based Revolut has signed up 3 million customers across Europe, processed more than 180 million transactions and has achieved a total transaction volume of over $25 billion to date. Revolut has raised a total of $336m from some of the most notable investors including DST Global, Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital.
What products and services do you currently offer in Malta?
With instant payment notifications, built-in budgeting, exposure to the top 5 cryptocurrencies, travel and device insurance, Revolut is the digital banking alternative. Maltese users can now transfer money abroad with the interbank exchange rate. They can also set splitting the bill or set up a recurring payment in seconds. Moreover, Maltese can save money with Vaults. Every time you make a purchase with your Revolut card, we’ll automatically round up your transaction to the nearest whole number and place the difference into your savings Vault. They can even upgrade to Metal and enjoy an exclusive, first-class experience that includes a contactless metal card, earning up to 1% cashback, a dedicated concierge service, and way more.
Dimitris Litsikakis - Country Manager at Revolut - holding a speech at DELTA Summit
Revolut is the fastest-growing unicorn tech company in Europe. What do you believe are the main reasons that helped the company to grow and scale so quickly in spite of operating in a regulated environment?
People are becoming more tech-savvy and they are expecting more from their finance. We are able to deliver that. We have been absolutely blown away from the reception and how adoptive people are being. We work with our customers, not against them, and we adopt a different approach than traditional banks. We don’t burden them with endless fees for whatever service they try to do. Instead of giving our profits to bankers in millions of bonuses, we reinvest them in our company as to make sure we can implement and provide a better technology that improves the life of customers all over Europe and specifically Malta.
You have recently announced the launch of your services in Malta. What type of clients are you targeting and what are your growth targets?
Malta loves Revolut! Since the official launch 2 in September, we doubled the user base to 40,000 users. That makes Malta the no.1 market for Revolut in terms of market penetration since 1 in 10 Maltese people are already enjoying a radically better account. Our target was to reach 60,000 by end of the year and we’re absolutely in track to do so.
Can you tell us a bit more about your current customer base in Malta?
Revolut has now reached a stage where it has broken into the mainstream. Our app has captured the no.1 spot of the App Store / Play Store for weeks, not just in finance, but in all categories. This signifies a move from early adopters and expats who are typically the first to use our product, to a much wider population segment that enjoys the benefits of Revolut in their everyday lives. We even saw Revolut as a means of collecting donations for ALS Malta Foundation as featured on Xarabank special TV show dedicated to Bjorn Formosa. The average age of Maltese Revolut user is 32, which is 2 years younger than the average in Greece for example.
Across the board there is a huge demand for banking services in Malta, both on the retail and the corporate side. Why should companies and individuals have Revolut on their radar when seeking financial services?
Banks charge you when you spend or transfer money abroad. We don't, and that’s why so many people have switched to Revolut. Anyone can open an account 24/7 via their smartphone and get a personalised IBAN in Euros, which you can top-up by using another card or by bank transfer. There is also no fee exchange in 24 currencies up to €5,000 per month. Companies can get a global business current account for easy international payments, with prepaid business cards and easy one-click integration with popular apps such as Slack, Xero and Zapier. Our Open API allows you to seamlessly integrate your Revolut business account into your workflow. You can use it to automate cross-border business payments, send payouts to clients or employees, and monitor transactions according to your business needs.
What role do cryptocurrencies play in your business strategy?
Going through crypto exchanges can be time-consuming and complex, so we’ve cut the fat to give our users instant exposure to cryptocurrencies at the touch of a button. With Revolut, users can instantly exchange any of our 24 fiat currencies directly into Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and XRP, and all without breaking a sweat. Unlike banks, opening an account with us only takes a few minutes, and because we don’t believe in branches, you can set one up directly from your phone. Users can also check out our real-time cryptocurrency graphs which show our current rates, and set up price alerts for when your cryptocurrency hits a certain value. Last but not least, you can transfer any of our five supported cryptocurrencies to other Revolut users instantly and for free.
Security matters are crucial in the financial services industry. What is Revolut doing to prevent fraud, money laundering and other financial crime?
We believe security should be baked in every product or feature we release. Revolut was the first fintech in the UK to introduce the ability to lock and unlock your card directly from the app, alongside a host of other features such as location-based security and on/off toggles for nearly every payment method your card supports: contactless, swipe etc. But security isn't just about adding user-centric features, it's an integral part of how we build our products. From as early as the product design phase, security risks are considered and assessed by the product owners. Once development is complete and we have a working prototype of the new feature, it receives serious scrutiny from our internal risk-committee who looks at how the feature can impact our users, their data and security. Only if the new product or feature gets the green light from the risk committee can it be released into the world, otherwise it goes back to the drawing board.
“We have set ourselves the ambitious target of reaching 100 million customers in the next 5 years. We’ll be continuing to grow as a global banking alternative, with a number of exciting and new financial products that will save our international customers time and money. We’re launching in USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in the next few months, with a number of additional markets already in the pipeline for the next round of expansion.”
Nikolay Storonsky, CEO of Revolut
What are the major challenges that you are currently facing in the payments space and what are the biggest opportunities for fintech companies?
E-money institutions are doing incredible things for consumers all over Europe, and by working even closer with the regulator, there are endless opportunities for increased innovation and competition in the world of finance. Revolut has ambitious plans to expand internationally and become the largest financial institution in the world. The truth is, we didn’t know how difficult it is going to be until we started, and that’s because foreign regulation is very complex. Striking partnerships in financial services takes a lot of time, especially when you work with the largest banks and payment networks in the world.
Can you tell us more about your decision to apply for a banking licence and how this will affect your business model?
In order to take Revolut to the next level and expand our services, we are incredibly pumped to announce that we have now applied for a European Banking Licence. One of the key benefits of obtaining a banking licence is that customer funds will be protected under the European Deposit Protection Scheme (EDPS). The EDPS will cover your funds up to the first €100,000, which means that you can safely and confidently store higher balances in your Revolut account. Our banking licence will allow us to offer Revolut users overdraft facilities and personal loans to their Revolut account.