Investment app eToro is to launch a debit card, following its acquisition of Marq Millions Ltd, the U.K. based e-money business. Marq Millions will now trade as eToro Money and will be the issuer for eToro’s card. The acquisition was for an undisclosed amount, and the Marq Millions management team stays on.
The card will initially be available to eToro Club members in the U.K., then Europe, and will later be extended to non-eToro users; eToro has over 14 million registered users and expects take-up of the card to be strong.
A spokesperson said the card could now provide instant "cash-out and cash-in" functionality to customers, a feature which their user-base has been requesting for a while.
The debit cards won’t launch immediately, but will launch first in the U.K., followed by other markets. As eToro Money has a Principal Membership with VISA and an EMI License permission from the Financial Conduct Authority, they are likely to hit the ground running, subject to approval from the FCA.
Commenting on the acquisition, co-founder and CEO of eToro, Yoni Assia, said in a statement: “The launch of a debit card is a natural next step for eToro as we broaden the range of services that we provide to our users… The debit card will provide instant cash-out and cash-in functionality, greatly improving the user experience. We expect to see a strong take-up of the card - initially from our client base.”
EToro allows customers to invest in stocks and commodities, as well as crypto assets like Bitcoin. It claims to have 14 million registered users, all of whom share their investment strategies, similar to a social network. It’s regulated in Europe by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, by the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. and by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Mahmood Kamran, former COO of Marq Millions and now managing director of eToro Money, commented: “We are incredibly excited to become part of the eToro Group. The backing of this leading global fintech will allow us to issue a debit card which we are confident will become a market leader globally.”
The context to this is that eToro is racing to build up it’s U.K. user base ahead of a potential launch by competitor Robinhood . The U.S.-based investment platform, which has made waves in the U.S., has had to delay its U.K. launch “indefinitely" after one of its customers killed himself in the U.S., with the consequent regulatory interest in its activities.
Robinhood previously said it had a waiting list of more than 250,000 people in the U.K. ahead of a launch planned for this year, showing that there will likely be strong demand for eToro’s services, given it now has a "head start."
Indeed, eToro has had more than 256,000 new registrations in the U.K. since it launched zero-commission stocks in May last year, (over 3 million globally), and says it can afford to offer zero commission as it is multi-asset and global.