A year on from its soft Australian launch, Revolut has released the first incarnation of its highly anticipated financial ‘super app’.
Thirty thousand Australians on Revolut’s waitlist now have immediate access to the fintech’s full suite of money transfer services, with the door also open to all eligible Aussies to open an account.
Australia is the first major market outside of Europe to offer Revolut’s services.
The fintech, which functions largely as a neobank overseas, has effectively operated in ‘beta’ over the last year as it worked to secure an Australian operating licence, which it successfully acquired last April.
The mobile-only fintech, originally pitched at travellers, expats and those transacting in foreign currencies, boasts an array of money transfer and currency storage services, a number of which are unique in the Australian market.
Revolut’s current customer offering includes, for example, the ability to store multiple currencies in a single account, functions to send and request payment from fellow Revolut users worldwide, and cross-border money transfers at or near the interbank rate (the rate at which banks transfer between themselves, and typically higher than brick and mortar institutions offer to their customers).
Over the course of this year, Revolut said it will roll out more features that expand on its ‘digital wallet’ base, offering in-app cryptocurrency and “commission-free” commodities trading, including gold and silver trading, a new rewards program tied to “top brands and day-to-day purchases”, as well as an automatic donations function.
Speaking with FST Media last month, Revolut Australia chief executive Matt Baxby said the all-in-one ‘super app’ offers a key service differentiator in Australia’s increasingly fintech-friendly market, delivering he says “one platform to manage all facets of a person’s financial life”.
“We’re not just building an app for the sole purpose of budgeting or the sole purpose of trading stocks. Our platform aims to provide our customers with a wide range of financial products under the one roof, but with a simple user interface,” Baxby said.
However, the app stays true to Revolut’s roots, with Baxby boosting the app’s credentials as a low-cost, multi-currency storage and exchange service geared for those beyond Australian shores.
“Whilst curtailed during Covid-19, Aussies are typically among the most frequent travellers in the world, and Australia has an expat community of more than 300,000 people; we’re creating a platform that gives those people seamless access to their money, no matter where they are in the world.”
Currently operating without an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) licence, Revolut Australia declares itself neither a bank nor “authorised deposit-taking institution regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority”.
The fintech does, however, have special dispensation from ASIC to hold money electronically as “stored value” in Revolut transaction accounts. These funds are held in trust accounts by an undisclosed Australian bank.
Ultimately, with the launch of its super app, Revolut’s long-term ambitions in Australia appear to be building inexorably towards those of neobank, challenging the likes of local players Xinja, 86400, and Up.
Founded in the UK in 2015, the $7.7 billion ‘unicorn’ has amassed more than 12 million customers globally across 35 countries.