New banks

Revolut launches in the U.S. without its own bank license

  • After months of hinting, the European challenger banks launches.
  • Following competitor N26 into the U.S. market, customers have lots of options to choose from.
Revolut launches in the U.S. without its own bank license

Challenger bank Revolut launches its app and debit card in the United States. Since hinting at launching last year, Revolut claims it has already attracted tens of thousands of U.S. customers. 

What’s happening: After dozens of months waiting, Revolut is finally launching on American soil.

  • Customers can spend and transfer money globally, as well as hold and exchange 28 currencies in the app
  • Revolut accounts are offered via a partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank. They come with FDIC insurance up to a value of $250,000.
  • This bank partnership is a departure from Revolut’s country-by-country bank license acquisition strategy
revolut's US challenger bank

The product: Revolut customers receive instant spending notifications, categorized spending data on things like restaurants, groceries and transportation, and can set up monthly spending budgets for individual categories. 

  • At the tap of a button, U.S. customers can freeze and unfreeze their card from within the app, and turn on and turn off payment functionalities, such as contactless, swipe, online payments and ATM withdrawals for added security.
  • For online payments, Revolut offers a disposable virtual card, whereby virtual card details are refreshed each time a transaction is made online. 
  • U.S customers will also be able to get their salary two days in advance

“As the cost of living increases disproportionately to people’s take home salaries, now more than ever, people need to know exactly what is coming in and out of their account,” said Nik Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut. “They should have the tools to help them manage their money more conveniently and accurately.”

The company: Revolut has more than 10 million customers in multiple markets (see Tearsheet’s challenger bank growth tracking).

  • It has raised over $800 million in funding, after closing a $500 million round in early 2020.
  • Revolut now employs more than 2,000 people globally, including in New York and San Francisco.
  • While Revolut recently resigned its global partnership with Visa for debit cards, the challenger bank will solely issue MasterCard debit cards to US account holders.

Competition: Revolut enters a pretty competitive market for digital banking.

  • European competitor N26 fully launched out of beta in August 2019. It, too, chose to partner instead of waiting to be issued a banking charter.
  • Domestically, Revolut will compete with Chime and Varo, digital offerings from incumbent banks, and PFMs that now offer banking products, like Credit Karma, MoneyLion, Credit Sesame, and Dave.
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