Digital Bank Guide

Revolut Review (2020) – Pros, Cons, Features

October 22, 2020
revolut

In this Revolut review you will find out whether this digital bank is a good choice for you. 

Spoiler alert: It most likely is!

What is Revolut?

Revolut is a brilliant digital bank that offers accounts in GBP and EUR with an attached prepaid bankcard. You can set up a bank account and operate it on your smartphone without the need for any physical infrastructure. You are only allowed to open a UK current account or Euro IBAN account and will also get a physical bank card. This card can be used in ATM machines or wherever bank cards are accepted for payments. Within this Revolut review, you will find everything you would need to know about the system. 

 A huge benefit of using it is the fact you can easily transfer money at the interbank rate of up to 5,000GBP/mo and save on transfer fees. They offer currency exchange in 30 different currencies in real time at the interbank rate, within the app. You can also make peer-to-peer instant payments, trade stocks and cryptos (on higher plans) all wrapped up in their well designed, intuitive mobile applications for Google Play and iOS.

The purpose of Revolut is a flexible bank that will allow you to easily do your day to day banking, receive payments, seamlessly exchange currency etc. If you are travelling Revolut can save you a bunch of money on transaction fees as you get the interbank rate and they don’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

Origins of Revolut

Revolut is the brainchild of two UK based East European immigrants. Both of them were working in the financial sector before coming together to form this start-up. Having seen the lethargy among banks in adopting to technology, they decided to do something about it. Hence, a virtual bank that was made for youngsters and international citizens came into being. 

Started in 2015, the popularity of the app has sky-rocketed. For a 5 year-old company, the reach and usage has been amazing. According to the company, it has been the basis for 350 million transactions and money worth over 40 billion pounds has been transferred since its inception. 

Is Revolut a real bank?

At the time of writing this Revolut review, it is quite complicated to answer that with  a definite yes or no. What we can say, however, is that it is only a matter of time before Revolut becomes a full-fledged bank. In what was seen as a turning point for digital banks, in December 2018, the start-up got a European Central Bank license.

Then what else is holding it back? Revolut has to undergo a plethora of tests and overcome some hurdles set by the licensee. 

The company’s current license has locked it with some restrictions on banking operations. Once they pass the test and obtain the full license, they can expand their functions to better serve the public. Overdrafts are one such feature that could be offered when it fully becomes a commercial bank. 

However, Brexit is trying to play spoilsport. The current license would not be valid once Britain leaves the EU. In order to overcome this hurdle, Revolut bank would have to apply for a UK banking license. That won’t be as easy as the Lithuanian license they got in December 2018. 

Revolut for Personal users

You can use the app and card for your day to day banking, to take you salary, manage your finances, pay your bills, while you are travelling abroad and to send cross border payments if necessary. It’s a solid choice for travelling as they don’t charge you any foreign transaction fees and the exchange rate you get is the interbank rate. 

It has it’s own built in currency transfer system which will allow you to transfer and send local currency in app. For example if you are travelling to Japan, you can seamlessly exchange EUR -> JPY (at the interbank rate) and store JPY on your Revolut card with a few taps.

Revolut Availability

At the time of this Revolut review, it is currently only supporting legal residents in the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States.

The EEA includes:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 

For more information on when it will come to your country, visit their site.

Revolut in the US

Revolut US

As of the 24th March 2020, Revolut is available in the US!  Sign up for Revolut US here.  US users will only be offered a US bank account and not a EUR & GBP accounts, but will have all the other usual features of Revolut.

Revolut for Business

Revolut for business is covered in this Revolut business review here.

How does Revolut work?

Revolut is an excellent digital bank which is basically a bank on your phone with a connected prepaid debit card (MasterCard or Visa). 

They offer you the ability to create GBP & EUR bank account in seconds. The UK bank account comes with a proper account number and sort code.  They also give you a Euro IBAN account for making and accepting European payments. You could use either account as your day to day bank account to take your wages and settle bills.

To load funds to your account there are several methods:  Bank transfer, Credit/Debit card, Apply Pay and Google Pay.

When you become a member of Revolut you will have the ability to exchange 30 currencies in real time inside the app and make payments and cash withdrawals in 130 countries. If you are using a higher plan (premium or metal) you’ll get stock and cryptocurrency offerings.

In our experience it is not only suited for day to day banking but excels when you are on the road. They not only give you the ability to use your card like a local (no transaction fees) but they offer travel insurance and seamless currency exchange (30 currencies) in real time.

You can of course do the usual things you would do with a traditional bank like block your card, check balances, review transactions, all from the comfort of their excellent mobile apps.

If you want money in your Revolut account, you will need to top it up using your credit card or any other bank card for that matter. If you top it up with a credit card, there will be a transfer fee of a mere 1%. Moreover, many credit cards treat your Revolut top-up as a purchase. This can be used to earn points on your credit card. However, some do treat it as a cash-advance which will not get you any points. However, both transactions would involve no fee. 

Revolut is very attractive if you are a frequent traveler, you can easily get flying miles if you use a credit card that rewards it. There are a ton of other rewards too with other credit cards that will help you redeem that 1% service charge you pay. 

Once you have topped-up your account, the money will be present there. It is now your wish on how to use it. You can move it between different currencies and, since there is no charge for 30 different types of currencies, you can do it however many times you want, without worrying. 

But what if the currency you want is not within those 30? Then, the money transfer will be done through SWIFT. If you use this, you may incur an international wire transfer fee. The bank to which you are sending money may also levy their own charges. However, when you are on the move in different countries, you will not have to incur any charges if you withdraw money from an ATM machine using your Revolut card. 

Features of Revolut

With a Revolut bank account you will be able to:-

Get A UK and EU Current Account

Just like any other bank, you get a UK and an EU current account. Along with that, you also get a sort code. It functions exactly as every other bank account where you can ask to get recurring payments, use the ATM card to withdraw money, make contactless payments, and use other modern technology like Google Pay. 

Use the Account Abroad Without any fee

From Revolut’s side, you don’t have to pay any fee to transact globally. However, you might be charged from the other bank’s side. Therefore, all transactions are charged at interbank rate. Honestly, this is the best rate you can expect to get anywhere. 

International Payments

With Revolut, it is very easy to make international payments. With 16 different currencies being supported, you can transfer it into 29 countries. There won’t be any fee charged. You will only be charged based on the interbank exchange rate. This is mandatory and you won’t get a better deal.

Use Different Currencies Simultaneously

As we have already said, you can convert any currency to a supported currency inside the app you have at the current exchange rate. However, there is a limit of 5000 pounds per month. You cannot convert currency worth more than that without a fee. 

Virtual and Virtual Disposable Cards (premium plans only)

The ability to create a virtual or virtual disposable cards is a HUGE plus for Revolut. This gives you the ability to create on demand a card that you can keep (virtual) or just use one (virtual disposable). In the case of the virtual disposable card it is completely destroyed after use, meaning that there is no way that a charge can be made to this card. If you wonder whether about a refund to a now destroyed virtual card will happen, the answer is yes, as Revolut makes that possible and you’ll be refunded no problem.

Split Bill And pay Friends With Ease

You can make payments to your friends within the app itself. There is also a unique feature called split bill where you can pay different people at the same time. This is useful when you go out with friends and other such scenarios

Real-time Notifications

You get instant notifications after all your transactions, withdrawals, and outgoing transfers. 

Analyze Your Spending Habits 

Within Revolut, the app gives you automatic spending analytics which are auto categorised. This allows you to keep track of how much you spend. It will give a day to day and month to month analysis on how and what you are spending. You can set a budget and see how you are going with sticking to it. 

Freeze Card and set Spending Limits 

In case of an emergency where you lose your card or someone steals it, you can freeze it instantly through the app. The card will then stop working. On the other hand, if you want to set a limit on your spending, you can do that in an instant as well. 

Save Your Money in the Vault

This feature is useful if you have to make monthly or other scheduled payments. Moreover, if you want to save yourself from spending money, you can set aside the amount you want to save in the vault. 

Insurance offerings

Revolut offers insurance for both mobile devices and travel insurance. Their insurance is very comprehensive and you can choose the duration, be it a week a month or a year. With the Metal card you get complimentary insurance which is a great value add.

Buy Cryptocurrency 

Yes, with the Revolut app, you can buy a whole range of cryptocurrencies. We all know how cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity. You can join the trend and buy them with the money you have in your Revolut account. 

Trade Stocks

If you wish to buy and sell stocks, then Revolut also offers this service. It’s not as comprehensive as other online brokers but does offer you the ability to do so easily and for zero fees.

Apple & Google Pay support

Revolut also supports Apple and Google Pay which gives you the ability to make payment in shops and online with your smart devices, pretty handy eh?

 

Which Revolut plan is for you?

Revolut review pricing page

1) Standard Plan (FREE)

This is the most basic plan and comes free of charge. With this, you get a fully functional UK Euro IBAN account. Other than that, you get to convert your cash into 150 different currencies and do so freely with up to 6000EUR. A free plan also includes 200EUR free ATM withdrawals a month.

2) Premium Plan (7.99EUR/mo.)

The premium plan will set you back 7.99EUR per month but you get a whole set of upgraded features, my personal favourite being the disposable and virtual cards. This plan brings you everything you get in the standard plan, plus insurance, shopping credits and access to 5 cryptocurrencies. On the money side of things, you can withdraw 400EUR monthly on the card and there are no limits on the conversion of 30 currencies

3) Metal Plan (13.99EUR/mo.)

The Metal Plan will cost you 13.99EUR per month but comes with even better features, the best features being: Travel insurance; A slick Revolut Metal card (yes it’s actually metal); 0.1% cash back in Europe and 1% abroad and a concierge service, which can help you with things like flight, hotel, restaurant bookings etc. With this plan you can draw 600 pounds per month on your card and there are zero limits on transfers or currency exchange. All in all, this is a very very good deal!

Who is Revolut for?

Revolut is perfect for people who need a good app for daily banking and is well suited for those who also travel a lot. By using this app, you can convert from one currency to another in an instant, without having to pay a fee. Moreover, the process of opening a bank account is also very straightforward. You won’t need any proof of address or a good credit score. Additionally, it is also great for people who need other services like being able to pay or buy insurance, split the bill easily, trade stocks, cryptocurrencies etc.

Who isn't Revolut for?

There is still time for Revolut to become a full-fledged bank with normal operations. If you expect normal banking services like credit cards, savings account, overdrafts etc, then Revolut is not for you. Also, you won’t get any interest on your deposited money. Lastly, if you want to have face to face interactions with your banker, that won’t be possible. 

How do open a Revolut bank account?

The signup process for Revolut is very simple and convenient and you’ll need a smartphone and your Passport/ official government ID and everything is done via the app. The sign up process takes about 5 minutes and the card is dispatched within a few days and comes in pretty slick packaging too!

The minimum age limit required to open a bank account with Revolut would be 18 years. If you are above that age, you just have to download the app from the playstore or the App Store on Apple devices. Another way to do it would be to visit their website and enter your details there to open an account. However, you would still need to enter a phone number. Therefore, the process is a lot less cumbersome on an app.

Once you have entered your basic details within the app, you would need a bank card of any other bank to deposit some money in your newly created login. The minimum amount that can be added is 10 pounds. The bank card has to be from either Visa or MasterCard to be valid. After that, you can purchase the Revolut card itself through the app. The main advantage of Revolut bank is that you don’t need any proof of address or credit score check to create an account.

The 10 pounds added can be used to buy the card after you verify your account. However, if you want a faster delivery of the card, you will have to pay 12 pounds. Standard delivery times are upto 9 days in the UK, US, and Canada. On the other hand, if you opt for express delivery, you can get a card within 2 days in these countries. For other nations, you will have to wait upto 3 days.

In between the process of creating an account and ordering a Revolut card on the app, you will need to verify your details. Don’t worry, this process won’t be as rigorous as verifying and creating your account in a normal bank. You just need to enter all your details and verify your identity through a government provided ID card. These include passport, driving license, or any other government provided ID. For verification, you will also need to take a clear selfie on the app itself.

Revolut Customer support

We have only good things to say about the customer support as in our experience they are extremely helpful and friendly. They do have virtual AI support which is decent,  but you can simply type ‘LIVE AGENT’ and you’ll get a real person in a few minutes.  All our requests were answered in a timely and prompt manner and the support agents are kind and glad to help solve your issues.

Is Revolut safe?

Revolut has a team of skilled bank security and cybersecurity experts who keep their systems safe and running smoothly at all times.

The application is very secure and also puts users in control of their security. You can easily freeze and unfreeze your Revolut card via the application if you lose it or it gets stolen. You can also use the application to turn off contactless payments, ATM use, and online payments, then easily turning them back on when you want.

In terms of the safety of your money, client money is kept in ring-fenced segregated client accounts that are held by Tier 1 banking partners. Revolut is authorized by the FCA, which means it complies with all the FCA requirements for safeguarding funds. Revolut are also in compliance with the Payment Services Regulations 2017 and Electronic Money Regulations 2011.

You can be sure you’re money will be safe with them. 

 

Customer Reviews

revolut review trustpilot overview

revolut review trust pilot

Trusty TrustPilot reviews can really reveal a lot about any product or service, so we took a good look and we are genuinely pleased with the score, overall 80% of the 48,052 reviews were excellent and 6% bad. We looked into the negative reviews and most are due to people not getting timely support or knowing that if they type ‘LIVE AGENT’ into the support they get an actual human. Some of the other negative reviews claiming their accounts were locked for a timeframe and they didn’t have access to their money. We have heard this complaint with almost all digital banks, as there are times when they must check the source of funds to comply with Anti Money Laundering requirements. Overall though, if 80% of the reviews are very positive (including ours) you can be sure it’s a decent offering and a good bank to go with.

Final thoughts

Pros of Revolut

  • It is great that we have a virtual bank now that lets you keep upto 29 different currencies in the same account
  • It is very easy to set-up and start an account. You don’t even need address proof of credit rating. Just your ID proof is enough
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawal even abroad. This is a big advantage for travelers
  • It supports buying cryptocurrencies too and it was the first virtual bank to allow it 
  • Insurance payments will be very easy and you can even buy travel and medical insurance

Cons of Revolut

  • There will be a surcharge on weekends and public holidays. The rates are 0.5% for major currencies but 1.0% for not so popular ones
  • The amount of free inter-currency conversion is limited to 5000 pounds per month
  • Since it isn’t a fully fledged bank yet, you don’t have options for credit card, overdraft, or a savings account. You also won’t get interest on your savings
  • There isn’t an option for a face-to-face interaction with an employee

In our opinion and extensive experience using Revolut (3 years) we give it our top recommendation out of all the digital banks we have reviewed. Not only is Revolut excellent for daily banking it’s perfect for travellers alike.

Starting off with their free account is a no risk proposition as you get to try test Revolut out for free. Although, we would be inclined to go for the Premium or Metal offerings as the are supreme value and we are confident you will get lot’s of use out of them. 

If you want to try an alternative read our write up on N26.

We hope you have found our Revolut review useful and find this digital bank just as great as we do 🙂

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