Revolut aims to launch loans, credit cards this year



Revolut hopes to offer credit cards and loans to Irish clients by the end of the year, according to its CEO.

However, Nikolai Storonskiy said that perhaps only at the beginning of next year the company will be able to launch these products, and the exact timing depends on which financial company will receive the appropriate licenses from the Central Bank.

“We have applied for an e-money license in Ireland and we also have plans to apply for an Irish bank license,” he said. “So, as soon as we get a license for electronic money, we will be ready to apply for a banking license as well.

“We applied for quite a while – over a year ago – unfortunately, licensing takes time in Ireland.”

Mr Storonskiy spoke to RTÉ News after his speech at this year’s Dublin Tech Summit, which took place almost yesterday.

He said that Revolut employees in Dublin are already working to expand the products he offers, but the regulatory process has taken longer than expected.

“I think [the Central Bank] we had a lot of applications because of Brexit, and they have a big backlog, ”he said. “And we are obviously a very large organization for Ireland.”

Obtaining a banking license in Ireland would allow Revolut to become a full-fledged competitor to European banks.

Mr Storonskiy said that he will eventually be able to offer mortgages and large loans to clients here, although this is unlikely to be something he will do himself.

“Auto loans and mortgages require quite a lot of capital, and we enjoy doing capital intensive businesses and capital light businesses,” he said.

“So maybe in the future we will release these products, but most likely we will partner with banks or other financial service providers.

After Revolut obtains a license from the Central Bank, Mr Storonski said the Irish office will expand, confirming that it will act as the company’s banking center for Western Europe.

Lithuania will be its center in Eastern Europe, and its headquarters will remain in London.

Revolut’s user base continues to expand as well, with the company now claiming 1.5 million users.

It is especially popular with younger users, and yesterday announced that it has signed 100,000 users under the age of 17 to the Revolut Junior product.

Initially offering users the ability to save on foreign currency and transfer money to other users quickly, Revolut has gradually added new features for users.

This includes its savings service as well as stock and cryptocurrency trading.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have proven to be a volatile investment, however Mr Storonsky said they are careful to let potential traders know about the risks before investing.

“This is actually our number one priority,” he said. “Out of 15 million customers, we have 700,000 customers that we define as vulnerable, so cryptocurrency advertising is completely disabled for them.

“Before you make any transactions, we will actually give you a lot of information about the volatility of cryptocurrencies and that you could potentially lose all of your capital,” he added.

He also denied having a conflict of interest in the placement of readily available trading options on which they make money, along with user savings.

“Our philosophy, in essence, is that if you want to invest money in stocks or cryptocurrency, we must provide you with the best product on the market,” said Mr Storonskiy. “And then, if investments are risky and their investments are unstable, we will show you all the warning signs that you should not trade stocks and cryptocurrencies.

“But ultimately, if you, as a client, decide to trade cryptocurrency or stocks, we would prefer that you do it through us.”

Revolut also faced complaints from some users that their accounts were locked and the company was unable to explain or provide a reason for their actions.

However, Mr Storonskiy blamed the rules – and said they worked hard to minimize disruption when it happened.

“The regulations clearly state that if our anti-money laundering system suspects that something is wrong, we must stop the user’s transaction. And we cannot explain the reason why we stopped the user’s transaction because it could alert him, ”he said.

“We are working hard to unblock the account,” he said. “It’s pretty fast now, whereas a year or two ago it was pretty long.”


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