The British financial platform Revolut and the French neobank Qonto want to expand their growth in the German banking market. The smartphone bank Revolut, which is considered the fiercest challenger to the most valuable German fintech company N26, is starting up in Germany with a European banking license, the company announced on Tuesday. Approval for this comes from Lithuania.
For German customers there is the statutory European deposit insurance up to 100,000 euros. A bank branch in Germany is planned for the second half of the year, explained the fintech, which has an office in Berlin. Savings products, loans and credit cards will be introduced for Revolut customers. A German IBAN should also come.
Bank license from Lithuania
Revolut started with money transfers and currency exchange transactions in Great Britain in 2015 and was most recently valued at 33 billion US dollars (29 billion euros). The London financial company has around 18 million private customers worldwide. Industry observers have been speculating about an IPO for months. So far, the fintech has only been active in Germany with a so-called e-money license. The company has had a European banking license for a long time through Revolut Bank, which is based in Lithuania.
According to the company, Revolut Bank has more than a million customers in Europe who invest their money there. Revolut offers customers of the app paid upgrades and hopes to use Revolut Bank to attract customers who use an account as their main banking connection. “The launch of Revolut Bank in Germany will offer our customers an even higher level of security and confidence and will allow us to launch a variety of new products and services in the near future,” said CEO Joe Heneghan.
Neobank for SMEs
The French start-up Qonto wants to significantly expand its business activities in Germany after a round of financing. The bank was able to collect 486 million euros from investors. 100 million are to flow into the German branch in Berlin. Qonto announced that the company would be valued at 4.4 billion euros.
For comparison: N26 has a valuation of around 9 billion euros after the latest financing round in October. While N26 or Revolut primarily target private customers, Qonto is aimed exclusively at small and medium-sized companies and the self-employed.
In addition to the actual bank account, the Qonto service also includes services such as the digitization of receipts for accounting and interfaces to external companies such as Datev, Stripe or Weltsparen. Qonto competes with traditional banks, but also with start-ups such as Penta, Holvi, Fyrst and Kontist.
Founded five years ago in France, Qonto is also active in Germany, Italy and Spain. With the help of the fresh money from the investors, the start-up in Germany wants to increase its workforce from 25 to 100 more employees. Investments are also to be made in product development, strategic partnerships and marketing. “With this extra firepower, we will be able to expand our customer base to one million small and medium-sized businesses across Europe by 2025,” Qonto co-founder Alexandre Prot told German Press Agency.