November 15, 2021

Revolut and Currencycloud: a look back over the past six years together

In 2015 Revolut started small, with just their founders Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. Fast forward six years, and Revolut is the UK’s most valuable Fintech valued at £33 billion. It’s been a time of hyper growth for the company, and they have no intention of standing still just yet. But what hasn’t changed is that Currencycloud has been an integral part of their story, right from when Revolut started six years ago.

Today Revolut is a global phenomenon, building the world’s first global financial super app to give Revolut customers control over their money wherever they are in the world. Over 16 million customers worldwide use dozens of Revolut’s innovative products to make more than 150 million transactions every month. When Revolut launched in 2015 their focus was ambitious even then: they wanted people to be able to use a Revolut card for spending and making bank transfers, wherever they were in the world, in any currency. All without incurring heavy fees – something unheard of at the time. As a start-up they didn’t have the resources to make this vision a reality themselves. This problem turned out to be the beginning of what is now a six year relationship with Currencycloud.

Revolut and Currencycloud, start-ups together

Looking for a way to best help their customers, Storonsky and Yatsenko saw in Currencycloud an alignment that would make their vision a reality.  Revolut Business Development Manager Vilius Semenas explains. “Since we started out, Currencycloud and Revolut have been going in the same direction, with a lot of synergies. The whole remittance space emerged pretty rapidly, there weren’t that many providers at the time. Currencycloud had an advanced infrastructure, and could do payments across Europe which was our primary pain point, as well as outside of Europe, allowing customers to send money to South America and Asia. This was beneficial to us. The solution was very simple.”

Currencycloud helped Revolut launch their product the way they wanted: a French traveller in Thailand could withdraw baht with a Revolut card using real-time exchange rates without paying expensive fees. Revolut’s customers could make local or international bank transfers across the globe in a single integration. Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky reflects, Currencycloud was very appealing because they were very start-up friendly.” His observation is perhaps a key part of the enduring relationship: not only did Currencycloud facilitate the payment of funds in local currencies, but the mindset of the two start-ups was aligned in that they both were hungry innovators keen to shake up the financial world.

Putting customer relationships first

Revolut still has a similar ambition to when they first launched: enabling people around the globe to make payments instantly and seamlessly to anywhere else in the world. This means opening up more markets and accessing more currencies. It’s why Revolut has expanded, opening offices in Japan, as well as offering currencies in the new markets of Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and The Philippines. Currencycloud facilitates the international transfer logistics in all these territories, opening up local routes which allows Revolut to offer great-value payment fees for their customers. Yet just as important, is that Revolut can easily leverage the infrastructure Revolut and Currencycloud have built over the years. Piers Marais, Currencycloud Product Director, explains that “Currencycloud has been, and continues to be, an integral part of Revolut’s international payment offering, taking away any need for them to invest in tech for this part of their business, or put people on the ground. This means Revolut can focus on building customer relationships and products people will love.”

As Revolut has grown, they’ve looked at other priorities to broaden their business. Currencycloud is used to facilitate Revolut’s bread and butter offering, cross-border payments. Yet the two companies continue to share a joint pursuit of understanding Revolut’s customers and how to help them. Piers Marais reflects, “Solving problems for customers is something we both have in common: Revolut are passionate about giving their customers products they will love.  At Currencycloud we’re trying to help solve the challenges for both Revolut and their customers.”

An on-going relationship

Revolut is one of Currencycloud’s longest relationships. Over the past six years Currencycloud has worked with, and listened to, the needs of Revolut who along with other clients, have asked for changes and innovations to meet their customers’ requirements. Revolut is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and Currencycloud’s ethos is to back the bold moves of their clients by innovating with them.

When Revolut, in common with several other clients, pointed out it would be more helpful to have recipients see the sender’s name rather than have ‘Currencycloud’ as the sender, Currencycloud listened. The result is Sender Display which was rolled out in July 2021 and is available for all Currencycloud clients who want to add this helpful feature to their service.

Some of the innovations have been more global in scope. Currencycloud expanded into Asia Pacific (APAC) markets as a direct result of Revolut and other clients saying this was the market they wanted to expand into. Currencycloud opens the door to the APAC currencies, allowing clients like Revolut to test the waters there quickly and at less cost than putting people on the ground. The move to APAC markets has also focused Currencycloud to work on developing a competitive instant payment product that’s faster, cheaper and more reliable than other providers.

Sending Central European currency via SWIFT was proving costly for Revolut, yet they had no alternative. So in January 2021 Currencycloud expanded some of their local payment networks into the Central European network. Today, Revolut sends over 60,000 payments a month through these corridors via Currencycloud, making significant savings on each transaction. 

Unsurprisingly Revolut are relentlessly focused on international expansion – aiming to send more currencies to a wider range of countries, increasing the speed of payments and being a recognized global player in the remittance field. Whether it’s making card payments, international or local payments, insurance products, or crypto currencies, Revolut wants to be present everywhere. Revolut plans to launch in Mexico, Brazil, and South Korea. Just as six years ago when Currencycloud facilitated Revolut’s expansion in Europe, Revolut will leverage Currencycloud’s integration to allow their customers in those locations to send money to Europe and America, knowing that any payment rail they want will be available immediately because Currencycloud will facilitate this.

“We are building the best remittance product in the world – to send money cheaply, quickly, and reliably; and Currencycloud helps us achieve this. We really appreciate that Currencycloud is a tech company and has the same mindset that we do… Revolut and Currencycloud both dig deep and try to understand what is happening and fix any problems at a minute level. We value and appreciate this.” – Vilius Semėnas, Revolut Business Development Manager

Collaboration is key

Currencycloud’s Piers Marais notes, “Every Currencycloud client, whatever field they are in, all say that they want to be ‘the next Revolut’. This is testament to the product-led growth they’ve adopted as a business.”

And for those new companies and startups Revolut’s Semėnas has some advice. “First, align yourself with people who share the same values. Second, speed to launch is very important. And thirdly, understand your customers and then iterate from there. It doesn’t have to be perfect from the very start. Focus on the customer and the problem they are facing. Build Minimum Loveable Products, not just a Minimum Viable Product. We did these two things at scale and quickly, which allowed us to expand. There’s always a little bit of luck too!”

It’s not every day you get advice from one of the world’s leading fintechs. It’s this attitude to sharing and being collaborative that has ensured that the Currencycloud and Revolut relationship has thrived over the years. That, and a suite of APIs and a whole lot of drive.

Read our previous Revolut case study.