FAST-growing money app Revolut is to begin offering personal loans and credit cards after it got a full banking licence.
The Lithuanian-headquartered company says it now has 1.7 million customers in this market as it expands rapidly with the imminent closure of Ulster and KBC banks.
Revolut is also planning to take deposits in this market in the coming months.
The fintech said it has been approved for a full banking licence by the European Central Bank.
It had been operating in the Republic under a British e-money licence, but Brexit meant it had to move its regulation to Lithuania. It now has a full European Central Bank bank licence through its Lithuanian operation.
Deposits held in Revolut Bank will now carry deposit guarantee protection of up to €100,000 per user backed by the Lithuanian Deposit Guarantee Scheme.
It is expected to replace its Lithuanian IBAN with an Irish one this year. IBAN is an international bank account number.
Some providers have rejected payment arrangements for customers here as they are unfamiliar with the IBAN Revolut uses.
Revolut said customers can apply for the loans without needing to fill out forms and will receive a rapid answer on their application.
It started to accept applications to a waiting list. But as yet no details on loan interest rates are available.
No mention has been made of the launch of an overdraft product.
The impending launch of a personal loan product marks the fintech’s first steps to launch its Revolut Bank services to Irish customers.
To apply for a personal loan, Revolut said its customers can apply instantly without needing to fill out detailed forms, and will receive an answer on their loan application within seconds.
Revolut Loans are also available to new customers, meaning even users who sign up will be eligible to apply for a loan.
Other lending products such as credit cards will follow later this year, it said.
The move to launch Revolut Bank in Ireland follows the imminent withdrawal by Ulster Bank and KBC from the market.
Revolut Bank credit products, and in time additional services, will be available to any new or existing Revolut customers.
Chief executive of Revolut Europe Joe Heneghan said: “With the imminent withdrawal of KBC and Ulster Bank from the market, it is clear that a new bank is needed to compete with legacy banks on price and service.”
Revolut had applied for an e-money licence from the Central Bank of Ireland. It was granted this but has decided instead to use its full banking licence from the ECB.
Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said the move was good news for consumers.
He said Revolut has revolutionised the banking sector since it started operating less than a decade ago.
Revolut’s lack of credit products and its lack of a banking licence in Ireland meant people were probably reluctant to consider the fintech for their full banking needs.
But this is likely to start to change and he said it will be interesting to see how AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB react.