Finance

Revolut to launch major US blitz as it targets a million users this year

Digital bank Revolut is aiming to reach a million users in the US by the end of this year, as it prepares to revive plans for a major marketing push in the region.

It had originally planned to market the fintech brand in March last year in connection with the app’s debut in the country, but the pandemic forced the startup to delay the campaign.

“Because it was in the midst of Covid, we really did kind of the reverse of what we had planned prior to March,” Revolut’s US chief executive Ron Oliveira told Fintech Files, adding that the banking app’s 2020 launch was originally set to include a major push with advert and sponsorship deals.

“We’ve got an internal goal that we want to have a million customers within a year, if not the end of this year. That’s our target,” Oliveira said. He added that market recognition is one of the company’s biggest challenges in the US compared to Europe where it is already a favourite among millennials and Generation Z.

The new strategy, which will begin in the next three months, will feature a “pretty aggressive marketing campaign” launched nationally to promote the startup’s free foreign exchange and peer-to-peer banking services compared to its rivals.

In early 2020 Revolut’s expansion into the US was signposted as the London fintech firm’s top priority. But as the pandemic set in, offices that had been opened in New York and California were either shuttered or signed on short-term leases, as the company reduced its outlook in the country to just months in advance.

“I would think after 25 years in finance, I’d seen almost everything but this was different. I hope never to see it again,” Oliveira said. Instead of a major advertising campaign on all fronts, the bank spent 2020 hunkered down in engineering products for its future US customer base.

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The fintech firm now plans to offer all its US employees “absolute flexibility”, allowing them to work from wherever they choose and increase hiring to attract workers in more states across the country.

During the pandemic, Revolut set up an internal store for employees to create their own home office setup, including lighting, screens and desks. Now the bulk of its operations will be hosted out of Silicon Valley, Oliveira said, chosen for its close proximity to other major fintech companies and reputation as a source for top talent.

Revolut filed a draft application for a bank charter in California last month, which if approved, would enable it to begin lending activities across the country.

READ  Revolut applies for US banking licence following Canada exit

Founded in 2015, the startup is still loss-making annually, having only begun breaking even on a monthly basis at the end of 2020. It closed down its other North American operations in Canada earlier this year, citing an inability to offer the range of services it had hoped for.

Oliveira said the startup had been holding informal talks with regulators for more than a year prior to its licence application, as it prepared for up to three years of rigorous interviews and digging into its business model.

“It’s a long journey,” he said. “It’ll take whatever it takes.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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