Fintech firm Revolut takes aim at Stripe with payment software for businesses

Finance

Nikolay Storonsky, chief executive of Revolut, on stage at the MoneyConf fintech event in Lisbon, Portugal.

Seb Daly | Web Summit | Getty Images

LONDON — Digital banking start-up Revolut on Friday launched tools for its business clients to accept payments online, looking to compete with payment giants such as Stripe and Adyen.

Revolut said its new acquiring solution would allow firms to install plug-in checkout software or build their own custom features to take card payments over the internet.

Businesses can also share links with customers through its platform to receive payments, Revolut said. The service is currently only available in Europe.

Revolut, founded in London five years ago, is mostly known for its money management app and payment card. But the company has been pushing deeper into business banking over the last few years.

Revolut Business, like the firm’s consumer-oriented service, has seen fast growth thanks to its slick app and cheaper foreign exchange rates. Revolut Business has racked up over 500,000 clients since its launch in 2017.

Now, the company is hoping to carve out a larger share of the booming online payments market. A move into payment processing software would put Revolut up against U.S. firm Stripe, Dutch competitor Adyen and British peer Checkout.com.

“Payments sit at the core of any business so we have crafted a solution that meets not only their business account demands but also their payment acceptance requirements,” said Nik Storonsky, Revolut’s CEO and founder.

“Companies across Europe know that it’s now essential to their success to be able to do business online.”

Cash usage in decline

Digital payment methods have increased this year, with consumers flocking to e-commerce sites due to public health restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, cash usage is set to fall sharply in some European countries, according to Accenture. The U.K., for example, is expected to see cash usage decline as much as 28% in 2020.

Valued at $5.5 billion, Revolut is one of Europe’s most highly-valued fintech start-ups. But it is heavily loss-making, with losses tripling to £106.5 million ($143.3 million) in 2018, despite a 180% increase in revenues to £162.7 million. A push into business payments would provide a fresh source of income for the firm.

Revolut said it would take a 1.3% cut of U.K. and EU card transactions and charge a 2.8% fee for payments in other regions. Paid users are entitled to a certain allowance of free transactions corresponding to their monthly plans.

Revolut doesn’t yet boast many of the larger, more sought-after clients that have bolstered the revenues of Stripe, Adyen and Checkout, though, and is for now mostly focusing on smaller firms.

Stripe, like Revolut, has moved aggressively into other areas of finance, including lending and banking. On Thursday, the firm launched a service in partnership with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Barclays that lets merchants offer their own bank accounts.

However, Stripe’s co-founder and president John Collison has ruled out any intention of becoming a fully-fledged bank.

“We’re not a bank and we’re not planning on becoming a bank,” he told reporters via video call on Wednesday, rejecting what he called the Silicon Valley mentality of “doing everything themselves.”

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