British fintech Revolut will launch a cryptocurrency exchange platform through its Australian financial app, claiming greater volatility in crypto prices during the pandemic is attracting investors.
The latest addition to the suite of financial services it plans on bringing into the Australian market will enable retail investors to access up to six types of cryptocurrency, which can be changed into 26 global currencies.
Revolut’s crypto platform will become a feature of the neobank’s digital wallet that was launched in August following its approval for an Australian financial services licence.
It is yet to receive further licensing from regulators that will allow it to roll out all of its digital banking services, including deposit accounts and personal lending.
Head of Revolut’s crypto division, Edward Cooper, believes stagnant returns from traditional investments and devaluations in national currencies are driving consumers to look at cryptocurrency as a viable option to generate a return.
He noted trading volumes for crypto exchanges were currently three times higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“The volatility is making it more attractive for people,” Mr Cooper said.
“It is making people think what other assets are a place where I can put some money and see if it can perform better under these unusual circumstances.”
Revolut is facing increasing competition within Australia’s emerging neobank sector, with local players such as Xinja, Volt and 86 400 already picking up market share through home loan and deposit products.
The country’s major four banks are also investing heavily into digital banking and financial products.
Commonwealth Bank through its X15 Ventures program has invested millions of dollars into Swedish-owned buy now, pay later provider Klarna to try to compete with Afterpay and Zip in the local payments market.
It has also invested into transforming its CommSec digital trading platform to better simplify the investment process for retail customers.
Revolut’s digital currency exchange also includes a roundup feature, where a consumer can opt for everyday payments to be rounded up to the nearest dollar and converted into a cryptocurrency.
Revolut Australia chief executive Matt Baxby said the decision to implement a crypto trading platform was to make it more accessible to Australian consumers.
“Buying and selling cryptocurrencies can be incredibly complicated and confusing for the uninitiated, which means many Australians don’t know how to access cryptocurrency as an investment option,” Mr Baxby said.
“Because of this, people feel like they need to be an expert to even consider buying cryptocurrencies.”
Traditionally, crypto trading is conducted through brokers who charge additional fees for service.
Mr Baxby, a former chief financial officer at Bank of Queensland and managing director of Virgin Money, previously said he was confident the neobank would be able to attract one million customers in the next few years.
The British company’s move into the Australian financial industry is its first expansion outside of Europe.
Its Australian Financial SuperApp currently offers foreign currency exchanges services and is available through a subscription fee service.
Originally published as How UK fintech is shaking up finance sector