Will the neobank Revolut really sell your personal data?

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In the digital age, personal data has become a highly valued currency. Some companies such as Meta or Google have built empires monetizing our data, while others like Apple have put the protection of user data at the heart of their business strategy. Quite surprisingly, it is now the banks that are taking part in this debate. One might have thought that the notion of confidentiality was inherent to their activity. But it turns out that banking organizations are sitting on a real pile of gold with very precise data concerning the habits of their customers.

And it is precisely this point that places Revolut in the spotlight today. As part of an interview at Financial Times, Antoine Le Nel, head of growth at Revolut, confided that the neobank is considering the possibility of monetizing its users' data, in the hope of generating 347 million euros in additional revenue by 2026. He compares d Elsewhere, his company has a “media” with a captive audience and valuable data. This information would make it possible to offer targeted advertising, adapted to the profiles and consumption habits of users. A real El Dorado for advertisers.

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Mobile application of the neobank Revolut

A precarious balance

This evolution of the economic model can be explained by Revolut's desire to diversify its sources of income. To attract customers, neobanks charge significantly lower fees than traditional banks. Add to this a logic of conquering markets and customers, and you will understand that their financial room for maneuver is reduced. The valuation of Revolut, estimated at $33 billion in 2022, would have decreased to around $26 billion at the end of 2023 according to the Schroders group. The British company still recorded a profit for the second consecutive year in 2022 at 6.7 million euros, but significantly down from just over 30 million euros. The figures for 2023 are not yet available, but the neobank assures that we should expect “significantly higher profits for 2023”.

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Revolut payment card

The need for income diversification

In recent weeks, Revolut, for example, launched an eSIM service. And the possibility for its customers to take out a real estate loan should not be long in coming. Along the same lines, the neobank has been offering for several years now the possibility of trading or exchanging cryptos from its application. However, the new direction represented by the commercialization of customer data raises concerns of another order. We requested clarification directly from the neobank. Here is their response:

Revolut does not sell its customers' personal data, this is an essential pillar of our privacy policy. Revolut customers can opt-in to receive personalized ads and notifications about products from Revolut and third-party brands, which may give them access to special offers from brands that are of particular interest to them. Customers are, at all times, responsible for how their data is used and can withdraw consent at any time via the app's privacy dashboard.

What should we understand? Although Revolut does not technically transfer ownership of the data to third parties, the neobank uses it internally or shares it with partners to serve targeted advertisements. It is a form of monetization, even indirect. However, we checked and it is actually quite simple to withdraw consent, with the option easy to find in the settings. If you are a Revolut customer, you are free to authorize this sharing of your data or not.

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