Revolut – The Challenger Bank for Gambling in Canada?
Revolut is quite simply the future of banking. More importantly for our readers, Revolut is an app-based virtual banking facility with near-limitless consumer controls and abilities. One of those abilities is online casino banking.
A free (standard) subscription allows consumers…
- To spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate
- To exchange in 30 fiat currencies up to $6,500 per month without any hidden fees
- No cost ATM withdrawals up to CA$400 p/mo even though it costs the company to process them
In a nutshell, Revolut provides branchless banking services such as prepaid Visa debit cards, currency exchange, cryptocurrency exchange (BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC), and peer-to-peer payments.
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Where Revolut Came From
The next-generation payment processing company was spawned from SILK Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on ‘deep tech’ such as FinTech, HealthTech, deep science, AI, robotics, etc.
SILK launched a $500m fund to invest in startups in May of their start-up year, 2015, and Revolut was born from the venture.
SILK, which got backing for 50% of the half-billion-dollar accelerator/incubator fund from “confidential strategic corporations” and the remainder from the Chinese state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) Shenzhen, doesn’t take an equity position in its startups.
In 2018 the UK-based startup gained other quarter-billion dollars in funding from DST Global of Hong Kong, a company whose founder (Yuri Milner) has reportedly been backed by the Kremlin in previous investments. Later that year, according to FinTech Futures, they raised another half billion.
That same year the “challenger bank” was awarded a Specialized Bank license by the European Central Bank, giving them the authority to offer credit and accept actual deposits. They also have an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license provided by the Bank of Lithuania.
The company has plans to launch in Canada and in the U.S.
As of October 2019, the website was accepting applications for a waitlist. The site promised:
Revolut is coming to Canada
Introducing Revolut – your digital banking alternative for instant payment notifications, free international money transfers and global fee-free spending.
What does all this mean to online gamblers?
A very small part of Revolut’s functionality can be applied to online casino banking. When the service is launched we’ll walk players through the process of depositing and withdrawing using the “challenger bank”.
What is a challenger bank?
They are recently created, small retail banks that can directly compete with “the big 5”, sometimes by offering unique niche services that the bigger financial institutions are unable or unwilling to offer.
- They are digital and have no need for offices or branches that people visit in person
- They usually have highly developed apps that simply make life easier for consumers
- They have very low or no fees for most transactions
- They usually have a limited free account and offer premium accounts
Are there others already operating in Canada?
FinTech purists would argue that neobanks and challenger banks are very different animals and that neobanks are purely digital entities while challenger banks also have a physical presence (among other differences). We’ll ignore those distinctions for now because all we really care about is getting funds into and winnings out of online casinos in Canada easily, cheaply, and safely. The following entities could fall into either camp.
Tangerine may be the most well known. Scotiabank bought it from ING Direct in 2012 and rebranded the Toronto-based digital financial institution with its current name. In addition to digital-only banking, Tangerine services over 2 million customers and more than 1,000 employees through kiosks, pop-ups, café locations, and 24/7 contact centers.
Stack has been around since 2016. Their digital cash app is very popular with the ‘younger generation’. In 2019 they inked a deal with Payment Source. Now, Stack consumers can load their prepaid cards at more than 10,000 interfaces across the country including Hasty, Mobil, and all Canada Posts.
In June of 2019, FinTech Futures published a comprehensive list of challenger banks in Canada with an in-depth analysis of who they are and what their techs are made up of. A few of the digital banks mentioned in the article include ATB Brightside, KOHO, Mogo, Impak Finance, EQ Bank, and several others.
So, what can I do when Revolut comes to Canada?
- Open an account in minutes right on your phone app
- Deposit and (we assume) withdraw funds from online casinos
- Round up all debit card purchases and stash the cash in savings
- Set up monthly budgets and access in-depth reporting and analytics
- Spend and withdraw money abroad in over 150 different currencies
- Set up recurring payments
- Buy and sell cryptocurrencies with more than 20 fiat currencies
- Send and receive money between family, friends, and even ‘split the bill’ when you go out
- Transfer funds internationally fee-free at the same exchange rates banks give each other
- Control your contactless Revolut Visa card from your mobile phone
- Freeze or unfreeze your card with your phone
- Turn on or off ATM withdrawals, online payments, swipes and contactless payments from within the app
- Set up location-based security so that if your card is used somewhere other than you and your phone are located, payments will be blocked and you’ll be alerted
- Synchronize your account with Apple Pay
Revolut Online Casinos Canada Conclusion
While the challenger bank has not launched in Canada yet, there are some similar alternatives. However, none are quite as far-reaching and comprehensive as Resolut. For now, if you are reading in another location, you may be able to create a Resolut account in the next few minutes. The payment method is already accepted at many Canadian online casinos like Mr Green, Casino Cruise, and Pelaa to name a few. Otherwise, please see all of our other Canadian casino banking alternatives to find the one that is right for you.