Revolut takes on Cyprus banks

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Fintech pioneer Revolut is rolling out its own current account services to clients in Cyprus, making it a ‘mini bank’ and challenging the traditional high-street banks that are still struggling with their digital and online services.

Revolut claims to have 160,000 customers in Cyprus for its e-payment services that are faster and often cheaper than the local banks that have yet to migrate to fintech.

Plus, they also operate around the clock and seven days a week, all from the comfort of a mobile app.

The UK-based company said customers in Cyprus who upgrade to Revolut Bank for additional services will now have their deposits protected under the deposit guarantee scheme, for up to €100,000.

This is the difference with the 16 other electronic money institutions (EMIs) regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus, which are only required to have the equal collateral for the amount deposited in any other European bank.

EMIs provide an IBAN number that is accepted throughout Europe with a Cypriot company having a transactional account, say, in financial services hub Ireland or fintech darlings in the Baltics.

Revolut secured a ‘challenger bank’ license from the European Central Bank in 2018, facilitated by the Bank of Lithuania, and applied for a UK banking license earlier this year. It already operates as a bank in Poland with more EU licenses in the pipeline.

It offers deposit accounts and debit cards denominated in EUR and GBP, and also provides many add-on services such as investing in equities, currency trading and cryptocurrencies.

“Launching the bank in Cyprus will provide a greater level of security and confidence for our customers and will enable us to launch a host of new products and services in the near future”, said Virgilijus Mirkės, Chief Executive Officer of Revolut Bank.

Revolut Bank will not have a physical presence in Cyprus.

It has never been so easy to make multi-currency money transfers thanks to the rise of ‘fintech’, explained Christiana Lambrou, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Cyprus-based financial technology company eCredo.

In an earlier article describing the trends and benefits of fintech, Lambrou said the need for physical presence at a bank for a money transfer or any other financial services has become obsolete in several countries, with China in the lead.

“Today’s Electronic Money Institutions (EMI) are aggressively gaining market share while weakening traditional financial institutions which are still stuck on non-value services,” she wrote.

Online payment providers offer a wide range of services through the technological advances available.

Online accounts nowadays offer electronic wallets (e-wallets) in all major currencies, prepaid cards, and payroll services.