UK’s Revolut Is Seeking A Banking License To Operate In Australia

Digital banking company Revolut wants to acquire a banking license in Australia and is already in talks with the country’s regulators to be allowed to take customer deposits.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in London, England, Revolut offers banking services including GBP, EUR, and USD bank accounts, debit cards, stock trading, cryptocurrency exchange, fee-free currency exchange, and peer-to-peer payments. Additionally, it supports ATM withdrawals in 150 currencies and sending in 24 currencies directly from the app with no hidden fees, and allows withdrawing cash without extra charges. Customers also have access to some of the cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP.

At its very core, Revolut is a prepaid card and a mobile banking app and may not function as a bank. It was however granted a European banking license in 2018, and in January 2021, it applied for a UK banking license. In July 2021, Revolut raised $800 million in a funding round, valuing the company at $33 billion, and making it the most valuable UK tech startup in history.

The company, which is registered with the anti-money-laundering agency as a digital exchange, seeks to bring changes to the banking system. “Our mission is to directly challenge the incumbent banks that offer a suboptimal user experience, and their business models are really quite reliant on customer apathy,” Matt Baxby, Revolut’sChiefExecutiveOfficer, said. “We’ve engaged with APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) and are intent on filing an application to become an Aussie bank,” he added.

Revolut is sticking out its head in a banking system that has strong contenders. Australia’s banking system is dominated by four banks that control about 80 percent of the sector – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Group, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, and National Australia Bank. In recent years, Australia has witnessed the emergence of so-called challenger banks; while some of these banks have been taken over, the contention has prompted regulators to toughen their licensing rules.

Currently, Revolut has more than 15 million customers across 35 countries with over 30 in-app currencies, and over a hundred thousand people have signed up for its services since launching in Australia last year. Revolut’s aim is to become a first-class financial super app, as it helps customers improve their financial health, giving them more control of their finances,  and connecting them with people seamlessly across the world.

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