Revolut Singapore on building a global financial ‘super app’
In Singapore, contactless or digital payments saw healthy adoption increases amongst both physical shoppers and online consumers, as users shied away from physical contact payment methods like cash. E-commerce platforms experienced strong online spending as well, and it looks like Singapore’s pandemic-delayed digital banking assessments are finally going through, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore announcing the first four successful digital bank applicants, in what will be another digital milestone for Singapore fintech.
Singapore also has a vibrant fintech startup culture, attracting investors, entrepreneurs, and foreign powerhouses with its mix of friendly regulatory environment, reputation as a financial hub of fast-growing Southeast Asia, and its central location amongst popular trade routes.
But even before the pandemic came and accelerated digitalization even further, popular financial services app Revolut had already opened its doors in Singapore following a beta test over the course of 2018-2019, with 30,000 customers already onboarded by mid last year.
British-based Revolut has attracted more than 13 million retail customers since its launch in 2015 with a range of money management tools, including a debit card connected to an app that allows users to spend different currencies at the interbank exchange rate but with very low fees – its competitive fee structure is what sees Revolut accumulating a strong take-up when it enters a new territory.
“But we do see Singapore as a hub for the region. So surrounding Singapore, 6 million people, but of course surrounding us could be 600 million people [potential Revolut customers in Southeast Asia],” said James Shanahan, an experienced operator in the banking and wealth management space, who is also the CEO of Revolut Singapore.
Aside from Singapore, the firm is currently available in the United Kingdom and Europe where it has additional services such as online card payments. and in 2020 has expanded its range of money remit services to Australia, Japan, and the United States, with more territories planned.