Koto Card, a fintech start-up offering credit lending services, is on the cusp of launching in the UK next year.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)-approved consumer credit service was co-founded by Misha Rogalskiy, the brains behind Ukraine’s Monobank, and is headed up by CEO and chief product officer Rob Escott, who comes from an eight-year stint at Vanquis Bank – an online banking platform which helps bad credit scorers.
Koto users will be able to apply for a free prepaid card (as with most of challenger banks), but they will also be able to borrow up to £400 in one go, paying 25p each day they use the credit plus a monthly fee which is 1% of the borrowed amount. Or, they can spread out credit of up to £1,000 over a 3-24 month period with a re-payment plan that includes a £10 monthly fee.
The move by the industry – both challengers and incumbents alike – towards higher interest rates is a result of the FCA calling for more transparency on credit lending so customers can clearly define what is and isn’t their money.
Despite this move to higher interest rates by some challengers, Escott is of the firm belief that Koto’s financial model is still “a responsible form of lending”.
“It’s very hard for customers to find out what an individual transaction costs them with traditional credit providers but with us it’s easy to predict credit,” says Rob Escott.
Now hoping to replicate this level of success in the UK through Koto, Rogalskiy is under no pretense that the transition from tapping Ukranian customers to British customers will be easy.
“I don’t have illusions that we’ll copy what we did in the Ukraine and then be a success,” says Misha Rogalskiy, who feels the UK “is the best place to start” with Koto due to its accessible regulation which means a fintech doesn’t have to be a bank or have a huge office to gain visibility in the market.