Digital Banking Startup Revolut Becomes Available in Russia

    Revolut, a UK digital banking startup, confirmed on Tuesday that it is launching its services in Russia, in partnership with QIWI, a financial technology firm that works extensively in Russia and other former Soviet countries, Vedomosti reported.

    The English challenger bank needs QIWI to provide payment solutions that allow users to make physical, online, as well as mobile payments. Revolut also provides prepaid Visa cards through QIWI Bank, the report said.

    According to analysts, it is QIWI Bank that will be the focal point of the new partnership. The bank’s parent group has open access application programming interfaces (APIs) connected to the bank and it will grant Revolut access to them. This will enable Revolut to make use of QIWI Bank’s infrastructure, including its card issuance, identity protection, and payment processing capabilities.

    The launch will mean that Russians now have access to the services that enabled Revolut to take off in the UK: a mobile application and a multi-currency Visa card that allows users to make payments, money and FX transfers in 130 currencies, along with international cash withdrawals, without the traditionally extortionate fees applied by banks.

    Revolut already has ties to Russia as a large segment of its technological development team is based there. Nikolay Storonsky, one of the firm’s co-founders, was born in Russia.

    “When we started our expansion, we talked with 30 local banks and non-commercial organizations and decided to partner with QIWI, which offered the best in class technological flexibility, understanding of the regulatory environment as well as fast decision-making. It is also important that QIWI shares our views on the future of the financial sector,” said Bogdan Uzbekov, Head of Revolut in Russia.