Digital banking startup Revolut is entering the Russian market after inking a deal giving it access to the payment infrastructure of local player Qiwi Bank.
Revolut will use Qiwi open APIs to gain access to banking licenses and technologies for customer identification, payment processing, and card issuance.
This will enable London-based Revolut to begin offering products and services to Russian consumers. The firm will begin with an app and free multi-currency Visa card for payments, ATM withdrawals and FX transfers in 130 currencies.
Launched just three years ago, Revolut is now used by nearly two million people and 30,000 companies in the UK and the EU.
Starting life as a money-transfer platform, it has moved further into traditional banking territory through a series of smart incremental add-ons to its product portfolio. In the last few months alone, the company has added features that allow customers to instantly buy and sell cryptocurrencies as well as a savings app for rounding up spare change from daily transactions.
The firm is also working on a commission-free trading platform that will allow customers to instantly explore and invest in UK and US listed companies as well as other instruments such as ETFs and options.
In April, the company closed a $250 million funding round, vowing to use the money to expand worldwide, with the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia all targets for this year.
Explaining the decision to enter Russia, the new country head Bogdan Uzbekov says that the market is filled with expensive and inconvenient financial services, especially currency exchange and outbound money transfers.
"We are confident that we will surpass the one million users mark in the first two years of operations," he says, adding that the company also plans to go on an IT hiring spree in the country.