London-based neobanking unicorn Revolut will switch on its digital wallet from Thursday for Australian customers, an indication the fight to win young, digital-savvy customers from the major banks has gone global.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has allowed Revolut, which is valued at $US1.7 billion ($2.4 billion) and is one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Europe, to use its European “electronic money licence” (EMI) to support its beta launch in Australia.
Revolut says for now it has no plans to take deposits; rather, it will offer a pre-paid transaction account, distinguishing its strategy from Volt Bank, which in January gained a licence from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to hold deposits.
“We are not currently applying for a banking licence in Australia. At the moment, we are focusing on rolling out our core product and creating a solid foundation for other licences in the future,” said Will Mahon-Heap, Revolut’s expansion manager for the Asia Pacific region.
“It’s Revolut’s ambition to hold multiple banking licences across the world, but we intend to achieve this in an iterative and measured manner.”
Revolut said a few thousand of the 20,000 interested customers who signed up to its waiting list last year will get access on Thursday and this will continue at the rate of a couple of hundred a day over the next few months. Its Australian headquarters will be in Melbourne, where it is looking to hire 30 new staff.