Revolut rival Vivid withdraws application for Irish e-money licence

Fintech offers basic banking services and allows users to invest in stocks and crypto

Vivid Money, a Berlin-based challenger bank whose backers include Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, has withdrawn its application to secure an e-money licence from the Central Bank of Ireland.

The fintech, which has around 500,000 users, has become increasingly popular on the back of its one-stop shop “super app” that in addition to providing basic banking services, also allows customers to invest in stocks and crypto assets.

Vivid Money is one of a number of fintechs who have withdrawn applications in recent months with some complaining about the length of time it takes to secure authorisation in Ireland.

Confirming its decision to withdraw the application, a spokesman for Vivid admitted that length of time played a “significant part” in the company’s decision not to proceed, but stressed it was not the sole factor.


Vivid Money Limited was incorporated in Ireland in July 2020 and is believed to have initiated its application for the licence around that period. The parent company was only founded a year earlier by Artem Iamanov and Alex Emeshev.

“Since the beginning, it’s been part of Vivid’s DNA to provide customers with the best products as fast as possible. The fast-paced product development in not even two years since the initial launch was only possible through our trusted partners, such as German Solarisbank for banking and German CM-Equity for our investment feature,” Vivid said.

“To boost the pace for certain products, we initiated several workstreams, one of them being the application for an e-money license with the Central Bank of Ireland. We decided recently to pursue other options. This was a purely operational decision,” it added.

Revolut, which recently officially began operating as a bank in the Republic, recently dropped plans to use an e-money licence it had secured from the regulator. It decided instead to use the full banking licence awarded by the European Central Bank late last year to offer services – including personal loans – to customers here, rather than the licence approved by the Irish regulator.

Team restructuring

Vivid, which last month secured a further €100 million in funding at a €775 million valuation to expand in Europe, currently operates in four markets – Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

The Vivid spokesman told The Irish Times there would be no job losses arising from its decision to withdraw from the licensing process. He said the company was “in the process of restructuring the team involved in the application to use their expertise for other projects”.

Vivid, whose valuation has more than doubled over the last year, is on target to reach 1 million users by the end of this year. Its user base increased five-fold last year while revenues grew 25x.

The company, which is eying expansion in at least five other markets this year, and has plans to be available across all of Europe by the end of 2023, stressed that it could potentially launch here shortly.

“The Irish market is definitely interesting for Vivid Money,” the company spokesman added.

Among the companies to have previously secured e-money licenses in Ireland are Stripe, Facebook parent Meta, and Google.

Gemini Payments, a popular cryptocurrency exchange established by the Winklevoss brothers, was the most recent company to secure such a licence, when it became is the first fintech to become authorised with an e-money licence in the Republic since December 2020.

It is believed it took Gemini between 16 to 18 months for its application to be approved.

“It is disappointing to hear that Vivid has decided not to pursue a regulated licence in Ireland,” said Peter Oakes, a former Central Bank enforcement director and founder of Fintech Ireland.

“Despite talk of growth in regulated fintech in Ireland, the number of fintechs authorised in 2021 was remarkably low. Without a clear narrative explaining this, Ireland continues to be at risk of negative perceptions,” he added.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist