Revolut intensifies US push with banking licence application

22 Mar 2021

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The company and its European peers Monzo and N26 have been trying to edge their way into the competitive US market.

Revolut has made a significant move in its expansion into the US by applying for a fully fledged bank licence.

The fintech company has filed an application for a bank charter in California, which would allow it to operate as a bank throughout the US. The charter, if obtained, could see Revolut expand beyond payments and into more products like lending and savings accounts.

London-headquartered Revolut launched in the US one year ago and currently works with a partner bank, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, in order to operate and issue cards on the other side of the Atlantic. A bank charter means Revolut could operate independently.

“A US banking licence would ultimately enable us to provide US customers with all the essential financial products and services they can expect from their primary bank including loans and deposits,” Revolut co-founder and CEO Nik Storonsky said.

“We’re on a mission to build the world’s first global financial super app, and pursuing a US banking licence is an integral part of the journey.”

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Revolut is following its European rivals Monzo and N26 in trying to break into the US market. It is mostly active in the UK and Europe but recently launched its business banking services in the US. According to the company, it has 200,000 customers in total in the US.

Monzo has been chipping away at the market for a while with Sutton Bank, an Ohio-based institution, as its partner bank. Last year, it filed its own application for a US bank charter.

In 2019, N26 launched in the US and last year announced that it had reached 500,000 customers there. It works with Axos Bank as its partner.

The US will be a difficult market for Revolut or any European fintech firm to crack given the depth of competition.

Chime, the Californian fintech company backed by General Atlantic and Tiger Global Management, has been active since 2013, amassing a sizeable market share. It is reportedly preparing a public listing that could value the company at $30bn.

Plenty of fintech companies in the US have been eager to get their own licences as well to act as full banks. Varo was successful in its application last year and recently Brex, the business banking start-up, announced that it was filing its own application.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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