New app to allow free currency transfers

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An overseas fintech company has launched a new app which will allow Australians to transfer money to friends and family overseas free of charge.

UK financial technology company Revolut has launched an Australian version of its digital banking product, allowing everyday consumers to access foreign currencies at the market wholesale price without incurring fees.

With over 12 million users globally, Revolut hopes to build on its 30,000 Australia customers who have been using a beta version of the app since last year.

Revolut offers a three-tiered subscription service ranging from a free membership to a monthly payment of up to $30 per month.

Revolut will offer a three-tiered subscription service ranging from a free membership to a monthly payment of up to $30 per month. Picture: Handout via NCA NewsWire
media_cameraRevolut will offer a three-tiered subscription service ranging from a free membership to a monthly payment of up to $30 per month. Picture: Handout via NCA NewsWire

Revolut Australia chief executive Matt Baxby said its intention in the Australian market is to centralise financial products into one digital app. The company is in discussions with regulators to obtain a full Australian banking licence which will enable to roll out the entirety of its product offering.

“Revolut is building towards a financial super app that enables Australians to truly take control of their finances in one place,” Mr Baxby said.

“There are so many existing financial products that are either too complicated or inaccessible for Australians and we want to break that down and put the power back into our customers’ hands.”

Revolut Australia chief executive Matt Baxby said its intention in the Australian market is to centralise financial products into one digital app. Picture: Handout via NCA NewsWire
media_cameraRevolut Australia chief executive Matt Baxby said its intention in the Australian market is to centralise financial products into one digital app. Picture: Handout via NCA NewsWire

Currently, the app will allow someone to transfer and hold up top 27 foreign currencies at the real exchange rate, with transfers being instant peer-to-peer locally and internationally.

Revolut said it plans to release a slew of new features in the coming months, which will allow Australians to buy and trade cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks.

The company has recently secured an Australian financial services licence.

RateCity research director Sally Tindall said Revolut is attempting to target younger Australians who manage their money entirely from their phones.

“One of its main offerings is money transfers, which is useful for people with families, property or businesses overseas,” Ms Tindall said.

“However, it’s unlikely to be a priority for everyday Australians in the current environment where travel has largely been suspended.”

RateCity research director Sally Tindall said Revolut is attempting to target younger Australians who manage their money entirely from their phones. Picture: Supplied.
media_cameraRateCity research director Sally Tindall said Revolut is attempting to target younger Australians who manage their money entirely from their phones. Picture: Supplied.

Mr Baxby said Revolut is seeking to capitalise on a heavily concentrated banking market in Australia, which usually leads to poorer choices for consumers.

“With the challenges brought about by COVID-19, it’s fair to say that people are wanting more control of their finances,” he said,

“Our budgeting tools offer customers the convenience to instantly manage their money in a way that works for them.”

Ms Tindall said the pandemic will make it tough for Revolut to gain a significant proportion of market share, with deep pockets of major banks likely to hinder its potential growth.

“The incumbents have deep pockets and they don’t like losing market share,” she said.

“If fintechs like Revolut start gaining traction, the big banks are likely to respond with firepower. Commonwealth Bank’s recent stake in buy now pay later platform Klarna is a good example of this.”

Originally published as New app to allow free currency transfers