Revolut Applies for Charter Banking License in the US

British financial technology startup Revolut plans to apply for a banking license in the United States in a matter of weeks, CNBC reported.

The fintech unicorn, launched in 2015, is applying for a bank charter with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and California’s Division of Financial Institutions. Revolut has partnered with a US-licensed bank to roll out in America earlier this year and claims it has already attracted tens of thousands of local customers.

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The launch of its app and service in the US market came in partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank. Before March 2020, Revolut’s services, which attracted over 10 million customers, have been available in the UK and Europe, with US applicants previously being held on a waiting list.

The challenger bank already holds a Specialised Banking License from the Bank of Lithuania, which allows it to offer and passport a wider range of solutions to customers in Europe.

The five-year-old startup offers FX, stock and crypto brokerage as well as peer-to-peer payments. A bank charter permits the company to operate an independent bank that will reduce reliance on third-party financial institutions and allows it to provide deposit-taking, custody and fiduciary services.

Revolut has been among a number of app-only fintechs that are looking to branch into banking as they diversify their revenue stream and bring new services to their existing customers.  Other financial technology companies including Square Inc, the payments company launched by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Varo Money have already got the nod by federal and state regulators to open a bank.

Outside the payments domain, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken also secured approval from a state regulator in the US to launch a crypto bank under an SPDI charter. Kraken applied for a bank charter under Wyoming’s special-purpose depository institution law.

The move comes as Revolut expands in new markets, most recently launching its app and service in Japan, which marks its first leap into a non-English speaking market. The European fintech startup has already completed a successful beta launch where the firm tested the service with 10,000 Japanese users. It originally secured regulatory approvals in the country back in 2018.

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