All the Pros and Cons of Vivid: Free Bank Account + Visa and Low Foreign Currency Fees

Vivid Girokonto Titelbild

Vivid is a start-up backed by the Russian Tinkoff Bank. As a German partner, Tinkoff Bank has brought Solarisbank on board, which you probably already know from Kontist, Tomorrow, and Bitwala.

According to Vivid, with the free Vivid Standard account, you won’t have to pay any third-party fees (there are some tips on this) and you can withdraw up to €200 in cash per month free of charge. There is also a metal debit card with no monthly fee.

Vivid does not have its own European banking licence but works with Solarisbank, through which you can also get a German IBAN. You can mostly avoid IBAN discrimination and direct debits should not be a problem as long as using a German IBAN (22 characters) is fine in your country. As this is often an issue in Italy, as an Italian IBAN has 27 characters instead of 22, you can also get an Italian IBAN.

Vivid Visa Kreditkarte beidseitig

Pros and Cons

Like every account and every card, the Vivid-Standard-Account has some advantages and disadvantages, which can be of different importance depending on your preferences.

  • Free account: You pay €0 per month – no ifs or buts. This is pretty unique in combination with a metal debit card. Usually, there is a surcharge, if such a card is even offered.
  • Extra secure metal card: The Visa debit card does not have a full credit card number. In the event of theft, the thieves will find it more difficult to use the card for online purchases. You get the credit card number for internet purchases in the app.
  • Up to 15 subaccounts with their own IBAN: You can set up up to 15 subaccounts with their own IBAN at Vivid. This is great for extra accounts, e.g. to set aside money for holidays.
  • Video-Ident: The account is opened completely within the app and the verification is carried out via Video-Ident.
  • Apple & Google Pay: You can use the Visa with Apple Pay or Google Pay and thus pay with your iPhone or Android smartphone contactless and without entering a PIN.
  • No credit check: Since the account is basically pre-paid and no credit is given, your credit score is not checked.
  • Up to €20 cashback per month: With Vivid Standard, you can only collect up to €20 cashback as a champion. Every 2 weeks the customer with the highest expenditure is selected in any restaurant, café or bar and receives 10% cashback on all expenses in this restaurant for the next 2 weeks. The challenges start every 2 weeks on Mondays.
  • Super Deals: If you successfully invite a friend to Vivid, you get access to the super deals for 60 days. These are offers that can bring you up to €50 additional cashback. This turns the cashback program into a pyramid scheme.
  • Referral program: If you invite a friend, you can get up to €20 in Vivid Points, which you can then invest in shares in the so-called Stock Rewards Pocket.
  • Pay “free” worldwide: When paying with the debit card in foreign currencies, you pay 0% foreign currency fees. The prerequisite, however, is that you have previously loaded a Travel Pocket with this foreign currency. Travel pockets are essentially foreign currency subaccounts. The exchange rates when charging are calculated in real time. According to user reports, however, the exchange rates are not quite as good as, for example, with Revolut or Wise. With Vivid Standard, you can create travel pockets for up to 40 currencies.
  • Travel Pockets only for 40 currencies: Most common currencies are supported on the Standard Plan. But I miss e.g. the Vietnamese dong, the Philippine peso, the Indonesian rupiah and many currencies in South America. For payments in these currencies, you have to expect a 0.5% foreign currency fee on the Visa exchange rate.
  • Debit card: The Visa card is a debit card. This means that you have no credit limit and the money will be debited directly from your account. This can cause you problems with rental car providers, as they like to block certain amounts on credit cards as security.
  • €1 per virtual card: You can create up to 3 virtual cards with Vivid Standard. A one-time fee of €1 is charged per card.
  • Own exchange rate: When exchanging currencies in the Travel Pockets, Vivid uses its own exchange rate. Under certain circumstances, a fee can be hidden here. With the help of the calculator on the website, we took a closer look at the exchange rates.
    • For example, for the Canadian dollar, the American dollar and the British pound, the exchange rates on January 27, 2021 were worse than the Visa exchange rates (even without the 0.5% foreign fee). For these currencies it is pretty much the same whether you use the Visa exchange rate + 0.5% foreign fee or the Vivid exchange rate. A card without external fees would be the better choice here.
    • For the South African rand, the Indonesian rupiah and the Swedish krona, the vivid exchange rates on January 21, 2021 were actually somewhat better than the official Visa exchange rates without foreign fees (between 0.07% and 0.3% better). Apparently, it is more worthwhile to load a travel pocket with the less common currencies.
  • Partly 0.5% foreign currency fees: If you do not top up a Travel Pocket before paying in a foreign currency or if the currency is not available in Vivid Standard, you have to accept 0.5% foreign currency fees. In addition, the currency is then converted using Visa exchange rates.
  • €200 withdrawal limit: You can withdraw a maximum of €200 per month for free. Any additional cash will incur a 3% fee. In addition, you have to withdraw at least €50, otherwise you must also pay 3% or at least €1.
  • Virtual cards only in Europe: The virtual cards can only be used in Germany and other EU countries.
All available currencies in Vivid Standard & Prime

Updated on December 30, 2020 (no guarantee for correctness)

Currency abbreviationCurrencyStandardPrime
ALLAlbanian Lek
DZDAlgerian Dinar
AOAAngolan Kwanza
ANGAntilles Guilder
AEDArab Emirates Dirham
ARSArgentinian Pesos
AMDArmenian Dram
AUDAustralian Dollar
BHDBahraini Dinar
BDTBangladesh Taka
BBDBarbadian Dollar
BZDBelize Dollar
BMDBermudian Dollar
BOBBoliviano
BAMBosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark
BRLBrasilian Real
BNDBrunei Dollar
BGNBulgarian Lev
CADCanadian Dollar
CVECape Verdean Escudo
KYDCayman Islands Dollar
CLPChilean Peso
CNYChinese Renminbi
COPColombia Peso
CRCCosta-Rica Colón
HRKCroatian Kuna
CUCCuban Peso
CZKCzeck Koruna
DKKDanish Krone
DJFDjiboutian Franc
DOPDominican Peso
ETBEthiopian Birr
EUREuro
FJDFijian Dollar
GELGeorgian Lari
GBPGreat Britan Pound
GTQGuatemalan Quetzal
GYDGuyanese Dollar
HTGHaitian Gourde
HNLHonduran Lempira
HKDHong Kong Dollar
HUFHungarian Forint
INRIndian Rupee
IDRIndonesian Rupiah
ILSIsraeli New Shekel
JMDJamaican Dollar
JPYJapanese Yen
JODJordanian Dinar
KZTKazakh Tenge
KESKenyan Shilling
KRWKorean Wong
KWDKuwaiti Dinar
LAKLao Kip
LSLLesotho Loti
LRDLiberian Dollar
MOPMacanese Pataca
MKDMacedonian Denar
MGAMalagasy Ariary
MWKMalawian Kwacha
MYRMalaysian Ringgit
MVRMaledivian Rufiyaa
MURMauritian Rupee
MXNMexican Peso
MDLMoldovan Leu
MADMoroccan Dirham
MZNMozambican Metical
NADNamibian Dollar
NPRNapalese Rupee
TWDNew Taiwan Dollar
NZDNew Zealand Dollar
BTNNgultrum (Bhutan)
NOKNorwegian Krone
OMROmani Rial
XPFPacific Franc
PGKPapua New Guinea Kina
PYGParaguayan Guarani
PENPeruvian Sol
PHPPhilippine Peso
PLNPolish Zloty
QARQatari Riyal
RONRomanian Leu
RUBRussian Ruble
RWFRwandan Franc
SVCSalvadoran Clolón
STNSao Tomé and Principe Dobra
SARSaudi Ryal
RSDSerbian Dinar
SCRSeychellois Rupee
SLLSierra Leone Leone
SGDSingapore Dollar
ZARSouth African Rand
LKRSri Lankan Rupee
SRDSurinamese Dollar
SZLSwazi Lilangeni
SEKSwedish Krona
CHFSwiss Franc
TJSTajikistani Somoni
TZSTanzanian Shilling
THBThai Baht
TRYTurkish Lira
UGXUgandan Shilling
UAHUkrainian Hryvnia
UYUUruguayan Peso
USDUS Dollar
UZSUsbekistani Som
VNDVietnamese Dong
ZMWZambian Kwacha

Vivid Prime

You will have already guessed: Vivid Prime is the paid version of the account. The first three months are free, and then you pay €9.90 per month (€118.80 per year).

Is the price of €9.90 per month worth it? Check out the following pros and cons (combined with the pros and cons of Vivid Standard):

  • Up to €100 cashback per month: In addition to cashback as a restaurant champion, you can also collect up to 10% cashback when paying by direct debit or card at the following providers: Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime (only subscriptions), Prime Video (only subscriptions), YouTube, Kindle, Tinder, Flixbus, games from various console manufacturers and many more! There is also 3% cashback on purchases in restaurants and bars outside of Europe. All other purchases outside of Europe give you at least 1% cashback. The cashback is also only capped at €100 (and not at €20).
  • Travel Pockets with up to 107 different currencies: The selection of currencies for which you can create Travel Pockets is significantly larger compared to Vivid Standard with 107 currencies. At first sight, we didn’t notice any currency that could be missing here.
  • A free virtual card: With Vivid Prime, you get your first virtual card at no additional cost.
  • €1,000 withdrawal limit: For a paid account, €1,000 in cash as a free limit per month is a bit low. After that, a 3% fee is due.
  • €1 per virtual card (from the second card): From the second virtual card onwards, these can unfortunately no longer be created free of charge and €1 per card is charged.

Conclusion

I think Vivid had very good intentions with this product. There are a lot of great ideas and innovations here. However, at some point, I didn’t see the forest for the trees. Restaurant Champion, Stock Rewards Pocket, Travel Pocket, Vivid Points, Super Deals may all sound great, but you lose track of things very quickly because all these advantages are also provided with special conditions, some of which are only explained in the help area on the Vivid website.

The terms and conditions are also confusing because partly the general conditions of Solarisbank and partly the extra conditions of Vivid apply. In addition, the website does not contribute to understanding. First, with regard to Travel Pockets, the website says “Travelling to another country? Create a separate Travel Pocket with the currency of the country you are visiting and pay without fees.” In the section below, however, it says: “Pay anywhere in the world at a live currency exchange rate with low flat markup.

Ultimately, I see at most an added value in cashback, but in my opinion, Vivid cannot keep up with its direct competition, Revolut. With Revolut there are more currencies, better currency conversion, several free virtual cards, and a number of other advantages, some of which are otherwise only available in the paid Vivid Prime version.

Vivid Prime can be worthwhile for frequent travellers thanks to the cashback in non-EU countries. However, you would have to spend €330 a month (!) in restaurants, bars, and cafés or €990 with other expenses to recoup the monthly fee. That seems a little unrealistic.

Translated by Ditmar Lange

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