European neobank Revolut sets foot in Brazil

Over a year after Revolut signaled an expansion to Latin America, the British neobank has finally launched in Brazil amid an increasingly competitive digital market.

As of this month, Revolut is officially operative in Brazil, signing up clients for its international account, including a Visa card.

“We arrived in Brazil,” Glauber Mota, the local CEO, and a former BTG Pactual official, said. “Our Revolut global account will allow clients to buy, sell and send money in 27 currencies and over 90 crypto assets.”

One of the largest fintechs worldwide, the $33 billion fintech reports 28 million customers worldwide and is expected to heat competition in Latin America’s largest economy. It launched in 2015 in England and since then has expanded to 150 countries.

Given the market size in Brazil, it is likely to become one of the group’s primary operations outside of Europe.   

“Brazil is one of the markets with the greatest potential (for Revolut),” Mota told Fintech Nexus. “It is a place where fintechs have been doing well in the past few years, and its population accounts for roughly 50% of the South American markets.”

In a previous interview with Nexus, the CEO confirmed Revolut was acquiring a license in Brazil. That would allow it to offer a more comprehensive array of services. However, Brazilian media reports suggest the neobank will initially hire banking as a service provider until it secures regulatory greenlight.

Cross-border transactions

Gaining principality among the digital banking user has been the key to the latest efforts from fintechs in Brazil.

The average Brazilian, Mota said,  has 3.6 different digital banking apps to solve various problems in financial services. These include day-to-day payments to paying taxes to other uses. Revolut’s idea, he says, is to deliver a one-stop shop for digital users.

Initially, Revolut will offer a multicurrency account to invest in crypto assets. Mota suggests the distinctive feature of Revolut is its international appeal. The account will allow for immediate cross-border transfers to other customers globally, the neobank said.

It reportedly plans to start lending in the country by the end of the year. However, the fintech has not provided a clear roadmap for its products. For now, it is signing up clients on a waiting list.

Glauber Mota headshot
Glauber Mota, CEO at Revolut Brazil.

A competitive digital market

The neobank is launching in Brazil at a time of great competition. Multiple digital banks and virtual wallets have increased in the past few years, with local neobank Nubank as the leading player in the fintech segment.

For Mota, this is the perfect timing for a player like Revolut to set foot.

“When Revolut started in 2015, Brazil was in a different stage,” he said. “Even Nubank was just starting, and digital adoption was in an earlier state, as was regulation.”

He said Brazil could not be out of scope for a global bank.

  • David Feliba

    David is a Latin American journalist. He reports regularly on the region for global news organizations such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Financial Times, and Americas Quarterly.

    He has worked for S&P Global Market Intelligence as a LatAm financial reporter and has built expertise on fintech and market trends in the region.

    He lives in Buenos Aires.