Ever since Revolut was founded back in July 2015, the company’s goal was always a simple one – to make banking 10x better, 10x faster and 10x cheaper. One of Europe’s fastest growing tech companies took the market by storm, and today, nearly 4M retail customers enjoy the benefits of using multi-currency current accounts, the interbank exchange rate, free local and international SEPA transfers, instant bill splitting and P2P transfers, instant and seamless exposure to cryptocurrencies, fully customizable card security settings and so much more – all accessible using a sleek app available for Android and iOS devices.
Setting a new standard for business banking
While consumer banking has been making leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, business banking has well and truly taken a back seat. From long waiting times through to endless fees and dated technology, it became strikingly apparent that a new player had to emerge – one that was ready to completely change the world of business banking like never before. That’s when Revolut decided it was time to disrupt business banking the same way it did with retail. What today is known as Revolut for Business, was launched in July 2017, and set out to solve two main problems: to save its customers’ time and money by building a new type of banking platform from the ground up.
As is everything else with Revolut, setting up a Business account is a fully digital experience, and the signup process takes minutes. Depending on the type of business and the size of the company, it typically only takes around 3 to 5 days to get a fully functioning account, with no need to go into a physical branch, answer unrelated questions or provide unnecessary paperwork. In just a year and a half, over 70,000 companies have already signed up to Revolut for Business, and the number of new companies onboarded every day continues to grow.
Revolut for Business allows companies to choose one out of three subscription plans based on their annual revenue or opt for a freelancer’s account. Once set up, Revolut for Business account gives the company total control over their finances and offers an easy way to manage up to 24 different currencies via a sleek and convenient online banking portal. From managing company-wide accounts, to issuing unlimited corporate cards – it can all be done in just a few clicks.
The easiest way to see how much money your company is saving with a Revolut for Business account is when making international payments and exchanging between different currencies – just like with its retail product, Revolut uses the interbank exchange rate during the week, while applying a small markup on weekends and public holidays. This means that anyone working with international merchants or simply paying employees or suppliers in different countries can instantly start to save on fees.
The ability to issue unlimited corporate cards also means that employees can spend at the interbank exchange rate in over 150 currencies around the world, whenever they have to make a purchase for the company. To put things in perspective, since launching the business line, companies with a Revolut for Business account have collectively saved over $20M that they would have otherwise paid on banking fees – all that in under two years of operation.
Expense management done right
Saving money is one thing but saving time and minimizing the chance of human error with automation, is what takes Revolut for Business to a whole new level. Every time the team sits down to review the roadmap, the main question they try to answer is, “how do we make running a company easier?” And when you minimize the stress and hassle involved around managing company expenses, you can put more time and energy towards the things that actually matter – running your business. With that in mind, Revolut for Business makes managing your expenses easier than ever, by letting you set up scheduled or bulk payments for things like paying employee salaries. What’s better, is that by providing employees with individual corporate cards, accountants can also easily track the expenses on each card and set up individual spending limits. Every time a company pays for any online subscriptions, companies can also use virtual cards, which provide an added layer of security and can also be blocked and unblocked at any time, from the online banking portal.
Revolut Connect – automate work to save time
But the real game changer in the industry was the Revolut Connect, which is best understood if you think of it as an app store for business banking. Revolut Connect is the easiest and fastest way to connect your Revolut for Business account to the tools and apps you use every day – be that accounting software or your internal communication tool. We’ve already started building integrations for the most popular business apps out there, including accounting platforms like Xero, FreeAgent, communication tools like Slack, expense management and more. And when you use Revolut Connect to integrate with a third-party app, one of the ways in which Revolut allows its customers to stay in control of their data and security is by letting them decide what data can be shared with each app, as well as having the ability to pause or stop sharing at any time – all from your Revolut Business account. It is also worth mentioning that the account allows you to create different roles with specific permissions for certain actions within the account, so that even if several people can log into the online portal, there will always be a hierarchy suited to each business.
Open APIs – the gateway to becoming an open banking platform
For more custom integrations, Revolut offers its own Open API, which allows businesses to automate their internal workflows with things like scheduled and mass payments, adding counterparties, as well as webhooks to be notified of new transactions. They’re also looking far beyond simple integrations; aiming to make Revolut for Business a truly open banking platform that others can build great services on top of and create a global community of shareable apps – built by the people, for the people. The company is now working to make the API available to developers, so that they can leverage its capabilities to create their own integrations and apps to share with their customers and the wider business community.
One of the most successful use cases with the Open API is the example of ride-hailing app, SnapCar, who’ve effectively created a new USP for themselves by adopting Revolut for Business and using it in a more creative way. The company needed a solution that would allow them to pay their drivers instantly, as opposed to on a weekly or monthly basis. They created a custom integration via the Revolut Business Open API, which sends out payments to drivers after every day spent on the road, all at the tap of a button. This way, SnapCar drivers can cover expenses like fuel and upkeeping from their earnings, not their savings – something which proved to be a good selling point for SnapCar when it came to differentiating themselves from their competitors. For the company, Revolut for Business allows the team to focus on other areas of the business, instead of dealing with spreadsheets and manually running mass-payments – since the open API requires minimal human intervention. A win-win for everyone involved!
No developers? No problem
These kinds of integrations with your business account is something that has never been done in the industry thus far, making Revolut live up to its name of a “disruptor”. Allowing users to get even more creative with how they run their finances, Revolut has integrated with Zapier – an online platform that allows you to connect thousands of apps and automate tasks, streamline workflows and ultimately save time. Once your Revolut Business account is up and running, all you need is a Zapier account, and you can already start connecting your business accounts to the thousands of apps supported by Zapier. You can set up the integrations that suit you and then control the notification rules so that they work for your business. The short answer to why you’d need it, is that it just makes your life so much easier. You can think about it this way – instead of spending precious time logging entries into spreadsheets and then copying those over to another app, you can run a Zapier integration to automate your tasks – something you only have to do once. This means you’ll be able to get more productive, as you’ll let the ‘zaps’ take care of all the tedious admin work. And the best part is, you just point, click and automate – you don’t even need a developer to do it.
So, what’s next?
Revolut is not stopping anytime soon. It has a host of features lined up on their product roadmap, including a developer’s portal where users can create their own custom integrations using the API, special offer of free WeWork hot-desks for 3 months for Revolut for Business users, and others, most of which will be available to Revolut customers next year – so stay tuned for a host of innovations from the Fintech that is continually redefining our relationship with money.
Extra questions from SME Banking Club:
1.Which markets do you target for the Revolut business accounts? On which markets do you see fintechs can be a real competition to commercial banks in opening business accounts now? And on which markets banks are innovative enough to implement such solutions by themselves?
Jamie Devlin (Senior European Business Development Manager): Currently, Revolut for Business is available in 31 European countries, and we’re a serious business account alternative in all of them. We have plans to launch in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand in 2019. Existing banks struggle with innovation – they are big, bloated and not nimble enough to respond to rapidly evolving customer needs.
2. What is your targeted customer (industry, type of company, behavior, etc.)?
Jamie Devlin: Revolut for Business works with a full spectrum of businesses, from one-person freelancers to FTSE listed companies. Much of our growth has been in the small and SME segment, which has been especially poorly served by incumbents, but really any company in any sector (besides the sectors we don’t currently cater to) can benefit from the huge time and money savings offered by Revolut for Business.
3. In which currencies a customer can open a business account? Are local currencies available?
Jamie Devlin: As a Revolut for Business customer, you can send and receive payments from practically any currency. Customers can hold money in 24 different currencies, and transfer between them at the interbank FX rate (at weekends Revolut applies a small mark-up as currency markets are closed) – cheaper than pretty much anywhere else.
4. How many business customers do you have already?
Jamie Devlin: Over 70,000 businesses have signed up for our services already, and that number is growing by thousands every week.
5. You have integration with Xero, Slack, Zapier. Do you track which part of your customers having a Revolut business account also uses these additional tools?
Jamie Devlin: We see that these features are extremely popular with our customers. As more and more businesses use tech tools to become more productive, the benefit of these integrations gets ever greater, saving hundreds of hours every month. Xero and Slack are great examples – you can integrate with Revolut for Business to monitor and account for transactions in real time, rather than waiting for a surprise at the end of the month.
6. Is Revolut Connect, which is an online banking system for business customers, web-based app? Do you have a mobile app for that? If yes, is there any functionality gap between the web-based version and mobile version?
Jamie Devlin: Revolut for Business is web-based, but we have just launched the first version of the app, which allows you to keep track of your spending with your own corporate card. Mobile and web have different use cases, so the goal is not to replicate the exact functionality of web on mobile, but to offer complementary services, such as expenses tracking and 2-factor account login.
7. Have you got a banking license? How will this influence your business model?
Jamie Devlin: We have just been granted a European Banking License, but it won’t have an immediate effect on our business model. The key advantages of a bank license (e.g. cheaper borrowing, direct access to banking infrastructure) will help us with some commercials, but you can have a big impact with our existing regulatory set-up.