INTERVIEW | Elena Lavezzi: From app to bank... how Revolut aims to exceed customers' needs

Since Revolut took Malta by storm in 2018, the financial app has gone on to introduce new features and services that make it even more essential for so many. From daily purchases to life savings, insurance and investments, Revolut is helping millions navigate their finances with ease. Elena Lavezzi, Head of Southern Europe at Revolut, tells us what to expect from the revolutionary financial technology company in 2021

Elena Lavezzi
Elena Lavezzi

How has the COVID-19 pandemic hit Revolut’s business and growth projections?

Coronavirus has changed consumer behaviour all around the globe. Initially there was a fall in travel spending and lockdowns reduced interchange revenue as customers switched to lower value domestic transactions. That being said, Covid also accelerated the move to digital banking and digital spending for citizens across the world as people began to see that it was very easy and simple to run their financial lives from an app.

What new revenue streams did Revolut introduce to counter the losses that stemmed from the pandemic?

We have seen products like crypto and trading continue to do very well. We are still seeing healthy customer growth as customers use our budgeting tools, rewards, bill splitting and savings vaults, so Covid accelerated what we were doing in terms of diversifying our offer to customers so that more and more use Revolut to manage all of their regular everyday spending.

We’ve also launched new products and services, including launching Revolut Junior and Commodities trading. We rolled out operations in some new markets – the US, Japan and Australia – and are now focusing on our bank in Lithuania as well as offering banking services there and in Poland.

With increasing competition, how does Revolut plan to step up its game to reassure investors that its business model is viable?

We plan to do what we have always done, which is to focus on our offering so we can be sure to meet and exceed the needs of our customers. Our goal for the next few years is to continue to perfect our financial services superapp so customers can use Revolut as a one stop shop for all their financial needs and manage everything from a single app.

How many customers does Revolut have? Which markets do you foresee targeting in 2021?

Revolut has over 13 million customers worldwide and counting. In 2021 we plan to shift our focus to the US, after launching in March last year and the APAC region as well following the launch of Japan and Singapore.

We will also look to some new markets, including India and the Philippines.

Which of Revolut’s features are the most popular among customers?

We have many popular features on offer for customers to use, which include Revolut Junior and our Premium and Metal plans. Trading, crypto and commodities are extremely well liked by retail customers as they get the rare opportunity to begin trading and investing at a low cost and can get fractional shares. Our budgeting and analytics tools are also in demand as they give customers informative insights into their finances and spending habits.

Revolut has had its European banking license approved, though this has yet to be finalised. Why is this important for customers?

Revolut Bank is currently operational in Lithuania and Poland with insurance protected deposit accounts and consumer credit offers. Receiving a licence in Lithuania has allowed us to expand our business in the rest of the EU. Revolut intends to passport its European banking licence to other Central and Eastern European countries in the coming months, and Malta is also on our list.

Why should a business choose Revolut? What services do you offer business customers?

Revolut Business helps businesses to manage everything in one place, without the need to alternate and reconcile between acquiring and banking platforms.

Customers with a Revolut Business account can see payments settled the next day, which allows for improved cashflow and quick access to business funds.

Business customers can stay on top of their finances and accept payments online using Revolut Business’ easy-to-install checkout plugins or building their own checkout experience using the customisable widget and Merchant API. Companies can also request payments from anyone around the world by using a secure payment link that can be shared with customers. They can do all of this without the need for a website or online store.

Furthermore, businesses can look to expand into new markets without having to worry about incurring additional fees as they can save on currency conversions and accept payments in 14 currencies. Funds can be kept in the same currency or converted to another at the interbank rate to help save on foreign exchange fees.

Revolut has recently launched an online app, in a shift away from the mobile-only model that the company previously adhered to. What was the reason for this move? Will you be adding further features on the online web app in the future?

We wanted to provide customers with a way to safely access their account from a computer or laptop if they could not get to their phones. There are some customers who may prefer a desktop view of their account, so now the Revolut web app gives them accessibility and convenience from wherever they are in the world.

What should Revolut customers in Malta look out for in 2021?

Customers should look forward to Revolut Bank’s expansion which will come with insurance protected deposit accounts.

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