Revolut has begun rolling out early access to accounts for Canadian users, BetaKit has learned. The move comes ahead of the challenger bank’s official launch within Canada.
Originally started in the UK in 2015, Revolut is a FinTech startup looking to disrupt the traditional banking industry. It offers typical banking services such as prepaid debit cards, currency exchange, stock trading, peer-to-peer payments, as well as a cryptocurrency exchange.
Revolut has officially begun to test its Canadian platform.
In an emailed obtained by BetaKit that was sent to Canadians who signed up for early access to the Revolut app, Revolut states it has officially begun to test the platform. It asks users to keep their participation confidential, requesting they do not post online until Revolut is ready for its public launch.
Revolut’s Canadian launch is no secret, however. Global expansion for the UK-based challenger bank has been a key part of its strategy over the past year. The FinTech startup has begun offering part of its services in greater parts of Europe, Australia, Switzerland, and launching in Singapore in October. Revolut has also announced intentions to launch in the US, having penned a partnership with Mastercard to help with that growth.
Revolut has also made clear its intentions to launch in Canada and began building out a Canadian team earlier this year. The startup brought on the likes of Saud Aziz, formerly of Koho, as Revolut’s Canadian strategy and operations manager.
This early access to the Revolut app marking the first time the challenger bank’s services have been made available locally.
Lagging regulation, consumer trust inhibiting FinTech adoption in Canada
Since its launch in the UK, Revolut has more than doubled the number of users that have signed up to its platform, reaching more than 8 million users, up from 3.6 million in December 2018. According to Revolut, it has seen more than 800,000 sign up for accounts in August and September.
Revolut’s success in UK, though initially did not turn into revenue, led the company to go global. Since 2017, Revolut has more than tripled its revenue, grossing approximately $75.1 million USD in 2018, and claims to be currently opening approximately one million new accounts every month. Since its launch in 2015, transaction volumes are now more than $85 billion USD.
Revolut is among a growing number of, what have been dubbed, challenger banks, newly founded financial services institutions or companies that compete directly with incumbent or established banks, but provide more digital-progressive offerings. The movement has seen some success in the UK, which is known to have more open regulations for financial institutions. Fellow UL challenger banks like Monzo and Starling Bank have also garnered interest from investors, raising close to $100 million USD between them. Revolut itself has raised just over $336 million USD in funding, and is currently valued at $1.7 billion.
The challenger bank’s move into Canada will not be easy, however, as Revolut is not able to operate as a banking institution due to long-standing, and restrictive, Canadian regulations. Aziz spoke to BetaKit earlier this year about some of the challenges Revolut and fellow challenger banks still face in Canada. He noted that regulatory change is necessary but is likely going to come from Canadian consumers demanding change.
UPDATE (27/11/19): BetaKit reached out to Revolut for comment, the company provided up to date financial numbers, which has been included in the above story.