Revolut is a UK-based fintech company that offers online banking services with prepaid debit cards, currency exchange, crypto exchange, and peer-to-peer instant payments, all via a good-looking and user-friendly mobile application.
The London-based startup was founded in 2015 by two former banking and investing traders. Revolut has been conceived to fulfill the desire of building a fair and frictionless platform to use and manage money internationally by removing hidden fees and offering interbank currency rates.
By the end of 2018, the company has passed a 3 million users mark and has managed to collect over $1Bln investments made by some of Europe’s most well-known investors.
The company is licensed to operate in Singapore and Japan and just recently secured a Specialised Bank and an Electronic Money Institution license from the Bank of Lithuania.
The Revolut App allows account charge-offs and cash withdrawals in 120 currencies, along with direct transfers in 26 currencies within the app. Another feature is instant buying and saving in the most popular cryptocurrencies and converting them to/from 25 fiat currencies.
Every customer is provided with an account number and sort code, just as with any classic bank, so that it could be used as the main bank account – to pay the bills and collect salary.
A large part of Revolut business is its travel spending (+ travel insurance) and payment splitting features. A multi-currency account with spending and withdrawals abroad, is meant for travelers and expatriates. At any given time you can exchange between any available currencies. The payment splitting feature is created to let users share costs such as taxi rides, cinema tickets or rent with friends or family who also have Revolut account.
On top of that, the app offers a variety of other financial services, such as peer-to-peer loans, provided by Lending Works, the mentioned-above travel and phone insurances, crypto exchange, and multiple offers from partner companies. For instance, Revolut is offering bonuses to its users who will decide to invest their pensions with “PensionBee”.
There are multiple methods for funding your Revolut account:
At the time of the review, Revolut only supports opening account for legal residents in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, and Australia.
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.
However, the company’s plans are to be presented across the world, so check the updated information. For example, the first quarter of 2019 should add Japan and Singapore to the list.
A bank account in your phone, making sending money, managing your account and your savings and keeping your money safe — easy and available at your fingertips.
A mobile bank account that is made for business owners, as well as freelancers and online sellers. Get paid and earn on your purchases. Keep business and personal separate.
There are no Revolut branches, so the account registration, authorization, and funding are all remote and instant and made from within the mobile app.
However, you need to verify your identity first in order to use your Revolut account. This policy is a standard banking regulation commonly known as ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) and is required to verify the customer identity as an anti-corruption and anti-fraud measure. Being totally digital it is an “eKYC” in this case (where “e” means “electronic”) and literally takes minutes.
The majority of Revolut services have amount limits, and mid-market interbank exchange rates are used for currency exchange. The only charge of a markup from 0.5% to 1.5% happens on weekends. It is done in an attempt of avoiding losses on fluctuations since the exchange market trades are closed. A mid-market exchange rate, used by Revolut is typically better than the credit card companies or classic banks usually offer.
Your first debit card delivery costs £5, the replacement card is one pound more. For new accounts, there is a top-up limit of £1,000 to £3,000 per day.
Some of the extra options require upgrading the account to the next level.
The Revolut mobile app is their business face and only venue, so naturally, they’ve put a lot of work in it. It is clear, intuitive and easy to operate. On top of the standard banking features, there are also very handy unique solutions:
The account registration and authorization is done within minutes and completely from your phone. Cards are normally delivered within 9 working days. There is also an option of a 3-4 business days express delivery, depending on your location.
The transfers and payments made by Revolut account are promised to be instant anytime, anywhere. In just a few clicks from within the app, you can make real-time payments, send, receive or request money from your friends instantly.
Revolut client money is securely stored under a segregated trust account at Barclays/Lloyd’s. However, Revolut itself is still not a full-range bank legally, which means your money is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
However, as an FCA authorized institution, Revolut secures your funds according to FCA requirements, the Electronic Money Regulations, and the Payment Services Regulations. If something happens, customers can claim their funds from this segregated account and their claim must be paid above all other creditors. Revolut card providers and processors are Mastercard, Maestro, or Visa networks, so they have their own protection rules and systems.
Revolut also offers some interesting in-app security features:
Revolut customer support is available via in-app chat, email or over the phone. Also, an extensive FAQ knowledge base is available from within the App and on the website.
Online banks or “challenger banks” as they call them in the US are slowly but surely taking over the lead and winning more and more clientele, and Revolut is no different. A modern thought-through product with lots of handy features created with the “millennial” needs in mind and designed in a simple and good-looking form-factor. Low pricing, no fees, and mid-market exchange rates surely add up to a pleasant experience. Among the downsides are the fact that unlike competitors like N26 or Monzo, Revolut doesn’t (yet) have a full banking license and the relatively low fee withdrawal and topping up limits.