UK-based fintech startup Revolut‘s profits surged to a full-year pre-tax profit of $553 (£438m) in 2023, a dramatic increase from a pre-tax loss of $32m (£25.4m) in 2022, according to its annual report issued on Tuesday (2 July) .

Revolut chief financial officer, Victor Stinga, said the growth was bolstered by a record jump in user numbers, with over 12 million customers joining the digital banking app last year.

The British startup applied for a UK banking licence three years ago and is still awaiting approval.

Revolut is licensed as an electronic money institution in the UK but can still not offer lending products such as mortgages or credit cards. Gaining a domestic bank license will allow the company to operate and deploy traditional banking services.

CEO Nikolay Storonsky told CNBC he was optimistic the company would be approved in the UK despite how long it has taken.

Revolut is “continuing to work closely” with UK regulators to achieve its UK bank licence application, according to the annual report. 

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Storonsky told CNBC that it has taken longer for Revolut to gain the UK banking license due to the company’s big size.

Storonsky noted that Revolut’s size has meant that it’s taken longer for the company to get its banking license approved than would have been the case for smaller companies.

Several small financial institutions have been able to win approval for a banking license with few customers, he added.

In March 2023, Revolut finally published its 2021 report which had been delayed due to problems with its financial reporting. The delay and subsequent publishing attracted scrutiny from regulators.

UK auditor BDO said it could not verify three-quarters of Revolut’s £636m recorded revenue in 2021. 

In March, UK consumer association watchdog Which? released a warning to Revolut business customers after it received two complaints of bank accounts being drained by fraudsters. 

Both victims stated that fraudsters had passed Revolut’s facial recognition security check, according to the watchdog.

“We are continuously strengthening our fraud controls to stay one step ahead of this trend,” a Revolut spokesperson said in response to the incident.

“[Revolut is] introducing further direct interventions and sharing educational materials with our customers so they are able to spot the social engineering tactics of criminals,” the spokesperson added.