Story from Sky News.
The British fintech start-up Revolut has secured a European banking licence that will pave the way for it to launch a comprehensive current account and consumer lending operation across the continent from next year.
Sky News has learnt that Revolut, which launched three years ago, will announce on Thursday that it has been granted a banking licence exactly a year after it lodged its application.
However, insiders said that Revolut also intended to seek a full UK banking licence as it targets a self-proclaimed ambition of becoming “the Amazon of banking”.
By obtaining its inaugural bank licence in Europe, Revolut joins fintech start-ups such as N26 and Zopa, which have taken similar steps in recent months.
Revolut was set up by Nik Storonsky, a former investment banker, as a debit card operation enabling consumers to spend money in numerous currencies with no fees using the interbank exchange rate.
It has since added a number of products, including basic current accounts, and claims to be signing up 8,000 customers daily.
Sources said the new banking licence would enable customers to deposit their salaries in Revolut accounts, while the fintech firm would aim to begin offering overdrafts and personal and business loans at competitive rates from 2019.
The company is likely to begin its rollout of a broader banking offer in smaller European countries before using its EU-based licence to launch them in the UK, France and Germany.
It then aims to move further afield, and has said it is targeting expansion into the US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Revolut has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors including DST Global, which backed Facebook and Spotify during their infancy.
The company is now valued at well over $2bn, and is expected to view the latest developments as a springboard for a much loftier valuation when it next raises money.
Revolut was recently reported to have been holding talks with the SoftBank Vision Fund, the vast capital pool backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Apple and the Japanese technology company SoftBank.
However, it has also faced material challenges, including this year when it reported suspected money laundering transactions on its payments system.
Like many tech start-ups in their first five years of operation, Revolut remains loss-making although it broke even on a monthly basis last December.
A Revolut spokesman declined to comment on having secured its banking licence.