Revolut introduces disposable virtual cards as rival N26 raises $160m

Card details destroyed after every transaction in effort to defeat online fraud

The disposable virtual cards will work alongside Revolut’s existing customisable security features.

The disposable virtual cards will work alongside Revolut’s existing customisable security features.

 

Revolut, a digital banking alternative that has more than 70,000 customers in Ireland, is to roll out disposable virtual cards in a move aimed at reducing online fraud.

London-based Revolut, which is looking to more than double customer numbers in the Republic this year to 150,000, said users of its new service will be able to create disposable virtual cards in seconds, with card details that are destroyed after every transaction, with new ones automatically regenerated.

The disposable virtual cards will work alongside Revolut’s existing customisable security features, which include location-based security, the ability to freeze and unfreeze physical cards, and the option to disable functions such as contactless and swipe payments.

Figures from analytic software firm Fico and Euromonitor show online card fraud in Europe increased by 9 per cent to €1.8 billion in 2016 with “card not present” fraud jumping from 50 per cent of gross fraud losses in 2008 to 70 per cent eight years later.

‘Stress-free’

“It will take approximately 800 years before we begin to run out of 16-digit card numbers, so we view disposable virtual cards as a sustainable, long-term solution to tackling online card fraud. And by automating this process, the customer experience is instant and stress-free,” said Vlad Yatsenko, co-founder and chief technology officer at Revolut.

“While fintechs generally offer a better service than traditional banks, they still have a long way to go in order to build trust and confidence with consumers. Instead of matching what the larger institutions are doing, we are changing the game entirely by introducing disposable virtual cards and promoting existing features such as location-based security and the ability to freeze/unfreeze cards,” he added.

Revolut, which has raised $90 million (€73 million) from Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital, among other investors, was launched by Mr Yatsenko and Nikolay Storonsky in July 2015. It now has 1.5 million customers across Europe and is shortly to expand into the United States, China, Singapore and Australia.

Revolut said it is now signing up 6,000-8,000 customers a day, to give it 350,000 daily active users and more than 800,000 monthly ones, and that it has processed more than 60 million transactions worth a total of $10 billion (€8 billion).

The company’s announcement comes as Berlin-based rival N26, which also has a presence in Ireland, this week announced one of the largest fintech funding rounds to take place in Europe.

N26, which has more than 850,000 customers across 17 countries, on Tuesday confirmed it had raised $160 million in a series C funding round led by Tencent and Allianz. This brings total funds raised to date to $215 million.

The fintech intends to use the additional financing to fund its expansion into the UK and US markets later this year.