In June 2018, QIWI Group and Revolut partnered to launch Revolut products in Russia based on the QIWI Bank payment infrastructure. In Russia, financial services from Revolut will be only available to individuals.
At the project launch in the Russian market, a basic product offering will be available. It includes a mobile app and a multicurrency VISA card for payments, currency conversion and money transfers in 130 currencies, as well as cash withdrawals at ATMs worldwide. Users will receive the basic product free of charge.
QIWI Group granted Revolut access to its banking infrastructure through open APIs to enable Revolut to offer their services to Russian users. QIWI APIs open access to the QIWI Bank technology platform, including its banking licenses and technologies for customer identification, payment processing, and card issuing.
For currency conversion, money transfers and cash withdrawals the interbank rate will be applied, without any user fees. The application will support money transfers to 120 countries, as well as e-wallets in 26 currencies.
“At the start of the expansion, we had talks with 30 local banks and non-banking entities to choose QIWI, which leads the way by a long shot in terms of technology flexibility, understanding of the regulatory framework and decision-making speed. It is also important that the company shares our vision as regards the future of the financial sector. Like Revolut, QIWI strives to rely on technology as to make popular financial services faster, more convenient, more transparent and less expensive for users. With quite a number of people suffering from expensive and inconvenient financial services such as currency exchange and cross-border transfers, Russia is an attractive market to Revolut. We are well known and awaited here. We are confident that we will surpass the mark of one million users in the first two years. Besides, a large part of the technological team is located in Russia, and we plan to expand it significantly over the next few months. A strong consumer brand will increase the company visibility as an employer and help us hire several hundred talented design engineers,” said Bogdan Uzbekov, Revolut Country Manager, Russia.
In an interview with PLUSworld.ru Bogdan Uzbekov explained that about 80% of Revolut clients in Europe are dotcoms dealing with cross-border payments. Products intended for Russian businesses might appear, but no sooner than in the distant future. Should it happen, dotcoms will be able to significantly save on cross-border payments. The individual users in Europe amount to about 20% of the total company’s customer base. As for Russia, it is difficult to predict the future consumer statistics.
The running application was demonstrated by the head of Revolut. If a user, a resident of Europe, for example, has an account in euros and leaves for Australia, s/he can change the settlement currency in the application by converting the money into Australian dollars. So, in Australia, s/he can pay using a card, including a virtual one, or a mobile wallet and withdraw cash at ATMs in local currency. The application supports online currency conversion at the LSE rate updated every second, with no extra fees charged by Revolut.
“QIWI is a pioneer Russian company to implement quite a number of APIs allowing the QIWI Bank infrastructure to be used as a platform for the development of fintech products. We have optimized our workflows and opened our payment infrastructure to speed up the launch of internationally proven fintech projects in Russia. Now we are prepared to expand globally with this platform, beginning from the partnership with Revolut, a leading European start-up. Partnering with QIWI, the Revolut company will attain full compliance with Russian laws and ensure seamless integration with the mature payment infrastructure, helping their staff focus on acquisition of Russian customers and development of new application functionality,” believes Andrey Protopopov, Product Development Director at QIWI.
QIWI and Revolut expect the partnership to unlock a synergy based on the mix of competencies in the rollout of fintech projects intended for different target audiences. Bringing the products into a free niche on the Russian market, the parties are targeting cost-conscious customers who are frequent travelers having multiple ties abroad. Such products include, in particular, currency conversion and low-cost money transfers.
Launched in July 2015, the Revolut service has been only available to the UK and EU residents so far. Almost 2 million people and over 30 thousand companies use it today. With 10,000 new accounts opened daily, Revolut is the most dynamic startup in Europe.