Revolut wants U.K. banking license; Singapore discourages cash gifting

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License plates

Brexit has played a large role in challenger bank Revolut's expansion strategy, particularly its effort to register in enough jurisdictions to operate without disruption.

Revolut has applied for a banking license in the U.K., which would allow it to offer insured deposits, loans, and overdraft protection. The fintech already has a banking license in Lithuania, which covers the European Union. While based in London, Revolut has an e-money license there.

Licensing has become a major part of Revolut's cross-border strategy, with a special team dedicated to the subject. Other firms that rely on London as a business hub and Europe as a market have made similar moves, such as opening offices in Lithuania, where the licensing process is easier than other EU countries.

Digital new year

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is pushing e-hong baos, or a digital red envelope, as gifts during the upcoming Lunar New Year in February, replacing the traditional practice of delivering gifts of cash.

The MAS considers the digital gifts to be more sanitary and environmentally sound. It's also a way to reduce lines at ATMs and branches, and is consistent with virtual celebrations as a replacement for mass gatherings.

The Association of Banks in Singapore is planning a public service campaign to promote digital gifting. Other Asian countries have also promoted digitizing gifts in recent months, with China tying the automation trend to its digital currency project.

Central bank cash machine

The Agricultural Bank of China has deployed several ATMs in Shenzhen to test the country's digital yuan.

Consumers can make deposits or withdrawals from current savings accounts, reports Coindesk, citing a translation of a report in Shenzhen Daily. The bank will also set up an office dedicated to the digital currency in Shenzhen.

China is considered to be further along in digitizing its currency than the U.S. and most European countries, and is running pilots with a network of supporting merchants including McDonald's and Starbucks.

Airtime

Airtel Uganda and Mastercard have launched a virtual debit card that allows the mobile operator's customers to make payments without requiring a bank account.

The virtual card is usable at any merchant in Mastercard's network and is attached to Airtel's digital wallet. Consumers can delete or create new cards at any time, according to PCTechMag in Africa.

Airtel's network of mobile operators in Africa recently made a similar deal with MoneyGram that reaches more than a dozen nations, while Mastercard has been active in Africa for years through its emerging market programs, including a 2020 partnership with Samsung to power mobile payments in Africa and other markets.

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