Fintech startup Lanistar obtains FCA approval

Lanistar, the fintech startup which last year landed itself in hot water with several regulators, has received approval from the Financial Conduct Authority to launch its smartphone payment accounts.

The UK financial watchdog has authorised the card payments company as an electronic money directive agent, meaning it has permission to send and receive payments using the licence of its banking partner Modulr.

Lanistar found itself in trouble last year for telling customers it was using Modulr’s services before a contract had been signed between the pair, and for promising banking services in marketing material before its authorisation.

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Lanistar burst onto the scene in late 2020, launching a major influencer marketing campaign that also caught the eye of the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority.

Now seemingly back on track, Lanistar said the launch of its payment cards, first promised in January 2021, is on track for later this year.

The FCA had issued a warning against Lanistar for unauthorised activity in November, advising consumers to be wary of doing business with the startup. It later removed the notice after talks with Lanistar, the startup said.

Despite the 4 May approval, Lanistar’s website still states that it does not have FCA authorisation to carry out financial services for its customers, and that it is still finalising arrangements with authorised partner firms who will act on its behalf.

READ  FCA issues warning against London fintech Lanistar for unauthorised activity

The company, which said it had raised £15m from friends and family last year to support its activities, claimed it is on course to achieve a £10bn valuation — higher than that of Revolut, Starling Bank and Monzo combined.

Lanistar said it has more than 100 employees over three offices, in London, Macedonia and Athens. It plans to reach 400 employees by the end of this year, once its payment cards have launched.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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