Basically, Revolut is an ordinary prepaid debit card like any other one you might know. But the inventors of Revolut wanted to take it one step further. That’s why this debit card comes with a, what one might call a ‘light version’ of a chequing account at even lets exchange and transfer money globally.
And there’s even more: you can withdraw money from ATMs all over the world. Up to €200/₤200 per month are free! They won’t charge any foreign transaction fees, and you can set up accounts for different currencies.
Tip: You will receive your first prepaid debit credit card for free if you follow some rules during your sign up. For more information, click here: Get your first card for free & without shipping costs
Some of you might have heard of Revolut’s competitor, such as TransferWise or neat. Even if their services might differ, they all have one thing in common: they’re out there to become the biggest nightmare for the long-established banks. Instead of opening branches that cost money, these Startups will use something you’re always carrying with you to replace your old bank: your smartphone.
Good for you. Because the times when you had to drive through town to see your customer service rep for every minor request are over, you can conduct all your banking business via an app.
Revolut is a Startup from the UK. Just like other financial Startup, they begann to conduct business without a banking license. But the guys from Revolut are trying to get their own license in the country of Latvia. Also, Revolut was all international right from the start. That’s why you’ll find them in countries outside of Europe and North America.
To avoid misunderstandings: Revolut is not the perfect replacement for your chequing account. At least not yet. But the company is very ambitious. They already offer a free UK current account, a European IBAN account and you can also set up recurring payments.
Some of the benefits that you get from opening and using a Revolut account a very generous, and some are even pretty unique:
- No annual fee: Revolut won’t charge you for their service. At least not if you’re using their standard account. It doesn’t matter if you use your card or not; you don’t have to fear any recurring costs. There are two versions of the Revolut account that will cost you money. But we think that the perks you get from paying for additional services are very limited.
- 1st card is free: While Revolut lets you use your basic account free of charge, they do bill you if you want to receive a physical card. Precisely €5,99/£4,99 for shipping costs. But we don’t call our site Travel-Dealz for no reason: use our link and save the fees. The only requirement is that you transfer at least €10/₤10 to your debit card account. You’ll find more information here: Get your first card for free & without shipping costs
- Withdraw money without fees: You can withdraw cash from any ATM that will accept credit cards without having to pay any fees. At least up to €200/₤200 with the Standard account. If you need more than that, Revolut will charge you 2% of your transaction. Still pretty sweet if you compare that to minimum fees of €5 and more than some banks impose on you.
- Chequing account functions: Revolut is really trying hard to get rid of the image of being just a plain pre-paid or debit card. Their goal is to be received as a full and reliable replacement for more or less all your banking requirements. And that’s why they’ll provide an IBAN to you. Also, Revolut will let you set up recurring payments. That means you can transfer money to your account and even pay your rent. And you could also have your employer pay you through your Revolut account.
- Accounts for 25 different currencies: You can set up accounts for up to 25 currencies such as Euro, US Dollar, Swiss Franks, and so on. So you can exchange money and use our credit card to pay in with your foreign currency funds.
- Money Exchange: According to their terms and conditions Revolut will let you exchange currency with a total value of up to €5,000€/₤5,000 per month for free! That’s an incredible deal and beats services such as TransferWise. Similar to its competitor, Revolut doesn’t exchange in real time, but it can take a day or two until the transaction is final.
- Physical and virtual cards: unlike other banks, you can have Revolut sent you more than just one card for your account. Physical card and virtual cards are available. Mind you; this isn’t free of charge. Every additional physical card will cost you €5,99/£4,99 and another €5,99/£4,99 shipping costs. A virtual card that imitates a physical one you already possess is free. Additional one will also cost €5,99/£4,99. Obviously, you will save shipping costs here.
- No credit check needed: Since Revolut doesn’t give you a line of credit and their cards are all pre-paid or debit cards, there is no need for credit checks or entries in any kind of register. This could change if Revolut starts to offer real credit cards or any other form of financing. But for the moment it doesn’t matter if how much money you earn or if you have good or bad credit.
- Simple verification and approval process: If you hate the ID verification process that most companies offer (receiving a letter, showing up at the post office, wait, wait, wait, show your ID and wait again for your approval), you’ll be happy to hear that Revolut went for a more comfortable solution. You have to take a picture of a government issued piece of ID and upload it together with a selfie. That should generally be enough to have your account opened within minutes.
- Contactless payments: Of course the Revolut debit card is equipped with the state-of-the-art technology NFC and will allow you to pay small amounts contactless and without even entering your PIN.
- Google Pay: If you’re an Android user, you can use your account together with your smartphone for Google’s contactless payment Google Pay
- Apple Pay:Since May 2019 Revolut can be used on Apple Pay. You can now pay using our iPhone without any need of the physical card!
Get your first card without paying any fees
Usually, Revolut will waive the €5,99/£4,99 for your first card and just charge shipping costs. If you’re frugal and would rather spend those Euros on one of our great Dealz, click the Show Deal button and enter your phone number on the landing page:
Once that’s done, it shouldn’t take too long until you receive a text message containing a download link for the app.
Now, download the app and register for Revolut’s services (it is important that you use the same phone number for the download link and your registration!), then the app will walk you through the verification process. Transfer at least €10/£10 to your new Revolut account from either another bank account or from your credit card. And you will be able to select the physical card in the app menu cards. If you transferred the money from a bank account, it could take a day or two until it shows up in your account.
Next step will be choosing the card, and now you should see the option ‘Standard delivery’ without any costs:
Did you run into problems? Here are some possible explanations:
- Revolut is charging a fee for your first card: this can happen if you already requested a virtual card. In that case, Revolut will charge a fee for the physical one. Try deleting your virtual one, and now the first real card should be for free.
- Revolut is charging shipping costs: if your first physical card is free of charge, but Revolut wants to see money for shipping it, you most likely didn’t follow the process described above. Did you download the app from the app store? Or did you use different numbers for the download and the registration? If so, there’s, unfortunately, no way to solve this issue. You can pay for having the card sent, or you wait until Revolut offers free shipment to existing customers. This has happened in the past, although there’s no way to tell when it will happen again.
Since Revolut is all about mobile banking and used only the app to bring all services to you, they continuously work on improving it and add new features:
- Push Notifications: After every transaction, Revolut will send you an automated notification to your smartphone. This service works fast and reliable. And it’s not only FYI – it’s also a safety feature. You’ll be the first to know if someone is using your card or account without your permission.
- Top-ups: You can transfer money into your Revolut account by credit card or with a standard transaction. Also, you can take advantage of automatic top-ups that will fill your account if it drops below a set amount.
- Show exchange rates: The app has a function that will show you the current exchange rate and a history of the rate. There’s also a calculator integrated, and you can set up notifications that will inform you about favorable exchange rates. Especially if you’re planning on exchanging more substantial sums, this can save you some of your hard earned money.
- Exchange currencies: You only need the app to exchange different currencies. No fees, but Revolut will set the exchange rate.
- Manage your credit card: NFC, Withdrawal from ATMs, Online payments – everything can be activated and deactivated by using the app.
- Geo-Tracking: You can share your current location with Eevolut to add a little extra security. Of course, this is optional, not mandatory.
- Saving account: You can set financial goals and open Wallets, similar to a savings account. For example, open one for your vacation dreams and tell Revolut how much you plan on saving. Then you can either just transfer the money from one account to the other. Or, which is probably the more exciting function, tell Revolut to round up every payment and add the difference to your wallet. The significant difference to a savings account: no interest.
- Spending limit: Can be set for each card separately.
- Set your budget: Set a budget for a specific category, e.g., groceries and Revolut will send you a notification once the limit has been reached.
- Transfers: You can make SEPA transfers from your Revolut account. Also, standing orders are no problem.
- Request payments: the app allows you to request money from other people. You can generate a link that will be sent out to an email address. The person can then pay you using a credit card.
- Send money: the Same system as with the money request, just for money you want to get rid of. Send a link with all the necessary information to a friend or colleague, and they can enter their bank data for the transfer.
Every product has its pros and cons. So it is essential to know what you want to get from your credit card.
- No line of credit: Revolut is offering a debit card (it depends if you’re using a digital or physical card). So you can only spend the money that is sitting in your account at the moment of the payment. This means that you could run into trouble with car rental companies or hotels. They often only accept ‘real’ credit cards.
- Exchange rate will not change on weekends: Friday, 11:59 p.m. UTC, Revolut will freeze all exchange rates. And to be on the safe side in case there should be any significant currency fluctuations, Revolut adds 0,5 – 2% to the last exchanges rate. So, weekends don’t seem to be the best time for your money affairs if you’re using Revolut.
- Potential problems with direct debit: Since Revolut will provide a UK IBAN, there are reports of people having trouble to set up a direct debit with online merchants, if the buyer is not from the UK.
- No banking license: As of now, Revolut does not have a banking license. They already applied for one, and as soon as they get it, all credit cards have to be replaced and also your IBAN will change. But this can also affect the protection of your funds. Your money is most likely not guarded by the EU deposit protection fund.
- American Express is not supported: Unfortunately, you can only tap up your Revolut account by using a MasterCard or Visa.
- You have to use the app: No matter how, much you love new technologies – or not. To become a Revolut customer, you will have to use the app for sign-up but also after that. No app, no banking. If there’s any problem with the mobile application, you can still pay with your card. But that’s about as far as you will get.
- Exchange rate: Revolut officially claims to use the best possible exchange rate. And some tests have shown that their rate is close to what the European Central bank sets. But then Revolut can always change the rate according to their own convenience.
- No reimbursement for third-party fees: Especially for withdrawals from ATMs, the companies that run the machines often charge a fee. While some credit card companies do reimburse you for those fees, Revolut doesn’t.
- Startup: You should keep in mind that Revolut is a startup company that only went into business because they were able to get investors to fund their plans. Sooner or later, they might have to change the way they work to become more profitable. And that could mean extra fees for customers.
- No branches: Revolut is online. Only online.
Perks of the ‘Premium’ account
For now, Revolut is happy with taking money from customers that opt fot the premium account. For prices between €82/£72 (onetime payment) and €96/£84 (€7,99/£6,99 per month) per year, you’ll get some extra benefits:
- Higher withdrawal limit: instead of €200/₤200, you can withdraw up to €400/₤400 per month, without running into any additional costs.
- No limit for currency exchange: While the basic account lets you exchange up to €5,000/₤5,000 per month, there is no limit for customers with a premium account.
- Overseas medical insurance: Might sound like a great deal. But there is a deductible of €85/₤75 per case. And depending on where you live, you might be able to get similar insurance for €10/£10 per year.
- Free shipping of credit card: Instead of charging a fee for shipping, Revolut will send all its premium customers a new card within 3 bank days. For free.
- Virtual ‘disposable’ card: you can set up a virtual card in your app and have it change its number every time you pay. Great, if you value your privacy or deal with sketchy people online.
As already mentioned at the beginning of this article, we’re not so sure that it will pay off to opt for the premium version. After all, the basic version has enough perks already.
Revolut is offering an excellent package. And the best thing is: it’s free. That makes the product pretty interesting.
But it is only a debit card that revolut is giving away. If you’re okay with that, go for it. But if you’re planning on renting cars and staying in hotels all over the world. You should at least think about other options. Maybe an additional credit card would make sense.
And you should keep in mind that Revolut is a rather new company. There’s no way to tell how pricing will change, if and when they will get their banking license and what that means for customers. But then: Hey, it’s free. So no good reason to not take the product for a test drive. You might want to keep your current chequing account though.