Fintech startup Revolut to take on rivals like Robinhood with commission-free trades amid retail investing boom

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Fintech startup Revolut to take on rivals like Robinhood with commission-free trades amid retail investing boom
Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch
  • Revolut plans to offer commission-free stock trading to US clients to take on rivals like Robinhood, CNBC first reported.
  • The firm - valued at $33 billion - has secured a US broker-dealer license, which took 16 months to obtain.
  • The firm, founded in 2015, has quickly grown to be one of the most prominent fintech players in Europe.

Fintech firm Revolut plans to offer commission-free stock trading to US clients as the London-based startup takes on rivals like Robinhood and Square amid a boom in retail investing, CNBC first reported Tuesday.

The firm - valued at $33 billion in July- has secured a US broker-dealer license, its CEO and founder Nik Storonsky told CNBC. The license took 16 months to acquire through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The firm was approved to be an "introducing broker" and will rely on DriveWealth, a New Jersey-based fintech firm, to clear trade.

"We are building a single app where people can manage all aspects of their finances, from banking and foreign exchange to cryptocurrency and stock trading," Storonsky told CNBC. "We're eager to break down common barriers to entry around stock trading such as account minimums and complex interfaces."

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The firm, founded in 2015, has quickly grown to be one of the most prominent fintech players in Europe with help from backers like Softbank and Tiger Global. At present, Revolut has over 16 million customers.

Unlike its European operations, a Revolut spokesperson told CNBC the firm will earn payment for order flow revenue in the US, a controversial approach used by Robinhood that has drawn the ire of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Right before the pandemic began, the firm launched in the US in 2020, building on its formidable presence across Europe, as well as in Japan, India, Australia, and Singapore.

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Since its US launch, the firm has added high-interest savings, small business banking, US-Mexico money transfers, and cryptocurrency trading, among others.

Revolut gained popularity for allowing users to transfer money in 150 currencies at a real-time exchange rate globally, with no fees, through a debit card. It competes with other challenger banks such as Monzo, Starling Bank, and N26.

The firm has said it is aiming to go public in both the US and the UK stock markets.

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The rise of retail investors has been a huge force driving the global stock market the past year, enabled by commission-free trading applications, government stimulus checks, and pandemic boredom as people continue to spend most of their time at home.

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