London-based fintech Revolut to launch in Asia-Pacific, with Singapore likely to house regional HQ

Revolut allows users to use an app to spend abroad in over 150 currencies with no fees, hold and exchange 24 currencies in-app and send free domestic and international money transfers with the real exchange rate.
Revolut allows users to use an app to spend abroad in over 150 currencies with no fees, hold and exchange 24 currencies in-app and send free domestic and international money transfers with the real exchange rate.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / REVOLUT

SINGAPORE - London-based fintech Revolut announced on Friday (Nov 30) that it will be launching in Asia Pacific in the first quarter of 2019, and has already been granted the necessary licenses to operate in Singapore and Japan.

Its Asia-Pacific headquarters "will most likely" be based in Singapore, with a number of key personnel responsible for business development, public relations and compliance already hired in the region, said the firm.

Now in its "final stages of testing", the fintech said that anticipation for Revolut's launch in Asia-Pacific has been growing, with nearly 100,000 customers on the waiting list.

Revolut allows users to use an app to spend abroad in over 150 currencies with no fees, hold and exchange 24 currencies in-app and send free domestic and international money transfers with the real exchange rate.

For Singapore, Revolut said that it is currently regulated as a remittance business by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It said its multi-currency stored value facility does not require approval from MAS.

The fintech also said that it has been proactively working with the Singapore regulator to shape the upcoming Payment Services Bill, based on its knowledge and experience from Europe.

It was also granted a licence in Japan, where it has been fully authorised by the Japan Financial Services Agency under the fund transfer license to operate throughout the country. It is one of only a handful of international companies that have succeeded in obtaining this licence in Japan, said Revolut.

In Japan, Revolut has already secured partnerships with Rakuten, Sompo Japan Insurance, and Toppan, with a local team recently established to strengthen its compliance and operational capabilities.

Nik Storonsky, Revolut's CEO and founder, added that the fintech is confident that it will disrupt the way banks traditionally function across the Asia-Pacific through its use of technology and innovation.

According to Revolut, the opportunity to disrupt markets in Asia Pacific is "extremely attractive" due to long-running customer frustrations with high fees levied by major retail banks and Asian consumers facing some of the "highest fees in the world" when spending and sending money abroad.

The fintech said that this is all part of its global expansion plans, with launches in the US and Canada expected in the coming weeks.

Since July 2015, Revolut has signed up over 3.2 million customers across Europe and processed 245 million transactions with a total volume transaction of over US$32 billion (S$44.09 billion) to date. Revolut has raised a total of US$336 million from investors including DST Global, Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital.


Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.