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Interbank exchange rates offered to businesses through app-based bank Revolut

Having first addressed the consumer market, financial technology business Revolut has launched a European business offering focused on multi-currency transfers with interbank exchange rates.
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Revolut, which was founded in London back in 2015 and was part of the Real Business Future 50 class of 2016, is offering interbank exchange rates through Revolut for Business.

Speaking exclusively to Real Business, Revolut co-founder Nikolay Storonsky, a former Credit Suisse trader, said his company’s new offering is user friendly – unlike the “dated technology” services offered by big banks.

“Word of mouth has been our best friend at Revolut. Within 22 months, we acquired more than 650,000 customers with a £0 spend on marketing,” he explained.

“With 12,000 businesses already pre-registered, we are confident that our new business service will create the same hype and experience the same demand. In addition, we’ll also be heavily investing in future marketing, social media and PR campaigns to enhance growth even further and raise brand awareness.”

Research conducted in 2016 found British SMEs were being charged £4bn a year in “hidden transfer fees”, with 96 per cent of those obscured to the customer using the exchange rate offered.

Oxford Economics also revealed the number of British SMEs doing business in more than six countries will increase 129 per cent in the next three years, suggesting the £4bn figure could climb.

While Revolut for Business is not yet available for freelancers and sole traders, Strononksy said this functionality would be coming soon.

When asked what the biggest challenges Revolut will face when trying to scale up, the founder touched on sourcing international talent, expanding internationally with product localisation and adapting communication, marketing and social media campaigns to individual nations.

Nikolay Storonsky

Revolut co-founder Nikolay Storonsky

“There is an element of fear given the tremendous growth that challengers are experiencing,” he added. “Speed and innovation is our attraction, there is too much red tape within big banks for them to compete with us.”

Big banks, he added, will introduce copy-cat features eventually, but Revolut will be too far ahead to care. “Big banks are always looking for ways to partner or involve themselves with high growth fintech firms.”

Revolut for Business will allow businesses to hold, exchange and transfer 25 currencies with the interbank exchange rate. Currently, most banks charge up to a five per cent margin on the interbank rate when individuals or businesses are sending money overseas. Businesses will have the option of three packages, ranging from £25 to £1,000 a month.

Business customers, Storonsky believes, are “sick and tired” of being charged excessive fees for sending money abroad. “Eliminating unfair banking fees will allow small and medium-sized businesses to grow and reinvest in the wider company. It will unlock even more potential to expand operations and sales abroad.”

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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