Unicorn challenger bank Revolut has expanded to Australia, its first market outside of Europe. Based in the United Kingdom, the company is currently onboarding the first of 20,000 Australians on the waiting list.
CEO Nikolay Storonsky propelled Revolut to become “Europe’s fastest-growing unicorn,” according to Forbes. The British FinTech company grew from a valuation worth $350 million to $1.7 billion in just six months.
“We want to be present in as many countries as possible,” he said, “with business lending, retail lending, trading, investments, and wealth management.”
Melbourne has been chosen as the startup’s Australian headquarters, and the company plans to create 30 high-skilled jobs by the end of the year.
During Australia’s beta release, users will receive access to a limited number of Revolut’s services. While metal cards, a cryptocurrency exchange and business accounts aren’t currently available down under, users will be able to open an account, send and receive money, and get a debit card. In addition, customers in Australia will be able hold and exchange 15 currencies in the Revolut app, such as euros, British pounds, and Australian, New Zealand and US dollars, about half as many as are currently available to UK and European customers.
However, many of Revolut’s most popular features will be available in Australia immediately. Users will receive instant spending notifications after each card payment, set monthly budgets, monitor their spending by categories, split the bill at bars and restaurants, and even save money by storing their ‘spare change’ in a vault. They will also be able to spend and transfer money abroad at the real exchange rate and send and receive money to other Revolut users in the UK, Europe and Australia for no fees.
“It’s all part of helping to liberate customers from the clunky, frustrating, and let’s face it, expensive systems of old, so that they can take back control of their money,” Revolut said in a blog post. “Breaking down financial barriers and eliminating hefty fees are the reasons Revolut started, and while we don’t intend to rush things here, we’re excited to put power back where it belongs — in the hands of the Australian people.”
Although Revolut has a banking licence from the Central European Bank, it is not a bank in Australia—not yet. The company has explained that it will remain an “electronic money institution” in Australia for the time being.
Sheikh Nawaf al-Saud al-Nasser al Sabah