WARSAW, April 12 (Reuters) - Some Polish banks are starting to lower their foreign-exchange rates under pressure from Revolut, a UK-based financial-technology company with famously cheap FX rates.
Revolut, a digital bank which claims to have 4.6 million of clients in EU opened in Poland last year. It said it quickly acquired almost 400,000 clients, raising eyebrows at Poland’s relatively modern and competitive banks, who are starting to respond.
“We (already) offer mass-market clients even better FX rates than the company whose name starts with ‘R’,” said Bartosz Zborowski, director at Pekao.
Actually, it sometimes offers better rates. And sometimes the rates are a little higher, but the difference is negligible.
“This is our secret weapon, and we use it now to acquire new young clients, for whom it is very important,” Zborowski said.
Pekao, Poland’s third-largest bank by assets, offers FX rates that are the equivalent of MasterCard’s average rate with no spread. Revolut claims that it offers average interbank rates, and also makes no money on them.
The Polish unit of BNP Paribas has also introduced rates comparable to Revolut’s.
“We are not in the euro zone, so cheap FX rates are a mega story for clients ... And it is possible to make money on this service thanks to cross-selling,” said Tomasz Dymowski, director at BNP Paribas Polska said.
On Friday at 0813 GMT the euro was offered at 4.2828 zloty, and the British pound at 4.9726 zloty at BNP Paribas. Revolut offered respectively 4.2820 and 4.9538.
“We know that some of our features will be copied by banks, so we have to always be several steps ahead, and we need to push for innovations,” said Stefan Bogucki, communication officer at Revolut in Poland.
According to Revolut, fintechs are competing on FX rates in both France and Britain, its biggest markets, while banks have not entered the game yet. Analysts think Polish banks will now put pressure on Revolut, by depriving it of a unique selling point. (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski)