Its name suggests that it’s revolutionary. It also makes it sound like a vodka brand. For frequent travellers and those with friends overseas, this may be the ideal bank.
There are a lot of things to like about Revolut. But, is it for you?
Here’s our ‘at a glance’ guide to some of the benefits and drawbacks of a Revolut account. Read on for our in-depth review.
Easy currency exchange using real-time rates
Store your money as cryptocurrency
A free basic account for all your standard banking needs
Optional premium accounts with useful extra features
Real-time spending notifications
Customisable card payment security
You’ll have to pay if you want a physical card
You can’t pay in with cash or cheques
Revolut does not have a UK banking license
There is no option to include an overdraft facility
What is Revolut?
With more than 7 million customers, Revolut pitches itself as a bank for the modern world.
It’s designed to let you spend money globally with ease and with real-time exchange rates. So, whether you’re shopping in your local supermarket or jetting off to Australia, it should be simple for you to see what you’re spending.
Because today’s hyper-connected world deserves a financial partner just as progressive
If you’re a new user, you can use a virtual card to do all your shopping online. Or, you can use your Revolut account completely card-free, for storing and transferring funds.
If that’s not enough, you can trade up. You can surrender your virtual card, pay a delivery fee, and receive a contactless VISA Debit card.
It’s easy to add money to your Revolut account using another credit or debit card, a bank transfer or Apple / Google Pay.
Who is Revolut for?
Revolut’s services will mainly appeal to frequent travellers and overseas students.
It might also be the perfect account if you have family members in other countries, or frequently do business outside of the UK and get paid in foreign currency.
Though there’s nothing stopping you from using Revolut as your UK bank account, there are undoubtedly more feature-packed and convenient UK accounts.
Revolut’s main focus is on keeping things easy for people that spend across borders. It’s a top bank account if you want to take advantage of real-time exchange rates.
How does Revolut work?
Revolut offers app-based banking. To get started, all you need to do is download the Revolut app. It’s compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Once you have your Revolut account, you can load it with funds for spending.
Money can be kept in GBP, or changed to a different currency.
Revolut customers can easily change their funds into one of 29 foreign currencies. They can also spend abroad in more than 150, using the interbank exchange rate.
Storing your money in another currency might be the ideal solution if you’re preparing for a holiday, or want to lock in a good exchange rate.
Premium accounts include cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ether. Revolut was the first challenger bank to offer cryptocurrency support, starting in 2017.
What features do you get with Revolut?
As well as an app-based bank account with easy currency conversion, you can access:
Disposable Virtual Cards
Revolut gives you the option of using a disposable virtual card to reduce the risk of fraud.
A disposable virtual card gives you brand new card details, to use for one transaction. It’ll be automatically deleted, once the transaction is complete. Fraudsters can’t store your card details or use them for extra spending.
Instant Spending Notifications
As soon as money leaves your account when you’re shopping, you’ll receive a notification on your Revolut app. In most cases, you’ll know that your payment has been approved before the in-store card machine.
It’s easy to save for a rainy day with a virtual vault that separates your savings from your spending money. You can make one-off deposits into your vault, or round up every transaction. You can also set up a regular deposit, to hide excess money on payday.
Tell Revolut how much you’d like to spend on the essentials, like groceries and car maintenance. Revolut will watch your transactions, and alert you if you’re overspending.
Freeze Your Card
If you lose your card, you don’t have to immediately cancel it, then wait for another to arrive. You can freeze your card in-app so that it can’t be used by anyone else. If you find it down the back of the sofa, just defrost it again.
Custom Card Control
You control how your card can be used. Turn off contactless payments or ATM withdrawals, if you don’t want those options available. Or, get transactions to decline automatically if your card is nowhere near your phone.
From within the Revolut app, you can buy mobile phone or overseas medical insurance from as little as £1 per day.
Cover begins almost instantly. You can file a claim through the Revolut app.
Charity donations are simple when they’re made with Revolut. You can round up your purchases, sending your spare change to your choice of good cause. Or, make a one-off or recurring payment easily through the app.
Charities receive 100% of donated money. Revolut will not take a fee.
What packages do Revolut offer?
A free package offers a UK bank account complete with a European IBAN, for cross-border money transfers. You can withdraw up to £200 fee-free, from ATMs each month.
For most users, the free Revolut account will be sufficient.
If you want to upgrade, you’ll pay monthly for additional features.
Paid features include cryptocurrency access, overseas medical insurance, and a LoungeKey Pass that’s ideal for long waits at the airport.
A Premium account will set you back £6.99 per month.
Or, choose a Metal account for a £12.99 subscription. Metal users have access to a concierge service, cashback on purchases and, of course, a fancy metal debit card.
What currencies are available through Revolut?
Revolut customers can change their funds into one of almost 30 foreign currencies. You can also spend abroad in more than 150, using the interbank exchange rate.
If you’ve paid for a premium account, you have the option of storing your money like Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.
Are there any additional charges?
ATM withdrawals have limits. If you go over your monthly withdrawal limit, then you can expect to pay a 2% fee on all additional withdrawals. Limits range from £200 per month with a free account, to £600 on a Metal one.
Currency conversions are at the interbank exchange rate, for your first £5000 each month. If you’re converting more, there’s a 0.5% fee.
How safe is Revolut?
At the moment, Revolut does not have a UK banking license. It does, however, have a European one.
Your money is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. But, that doesn’t mean that you’ll lose everything if Revolut suddenly announces a problem.
In accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority’s e-money regulations, your money is safeguarded in a UK bank account. At the moment, money is stored with Lloyds or Barclays.
What about customer service?
Without a physical bank branch, you’ll reach out for help online. The in-app support chat service is available at all times, with a priority service for Premium and Metal customers.
Can Revolut replace your everyday bank account?
Revolut is a bank for the digital user.
You can’t pay in cash or cheques. Keep another bank account open, if you ever need to make cash deposits.
You’ll also have to pay for a debit card unless you’re happy to use the virtual one.
Your virtual card is provided when you open the account. You can use it for online spending, transfers and currency conversion, but not to buy things in shops.
You won’t need a physical card to buy your groceries in the supermarket, as long as the tills support Apple and Google Pay. To use either of these, you’ll need a compatible phone. If that’s not enough, you’ll have to pay for delivery of your Revolut card.
If you have any doubts, keep your existing bank account open. You can always close it later if you realise that you haven’t used it.
What else makes Revolut stand out?
You can go online to apply for a Revolut account. But, it’s not your only option. If you don’t want to wait for a card to arrive, then it’s possible to buy them in stores.
Costing £4.99 and found amongst the gift card section, a Revolut prepaid VISA card connects to new and existing accounts. The card doesn’t include any credit, and won’t have your name on the front, but could be great for getting started quickly.
Revolut: The Verdict
If you spend in various currencies, then you’ll probably love the simplicity of using Revolut.
If you don’t, this challenger bank might leave you a little disappointed.
Revolut offers excellent services for travellers, from lounge access and travel insurance to real-time currency conversion. But, it’s not the easiest UK bank account to use.
There are definite restrictions. Unlike some other challenger banks, Revolut provides no way to deposit cheques or cash. Some other providers will let you scan or post your cheques. Others have linked up with PayPoint for occasional cash deposits. With Revolut, there’s absolutely nothing. Most people will find that they won’t miss these facilities. But if you do, you’ll need an account elsewhere.
If you want a physical card, you’ll have to pay for the privilege. You can find them in stores, or pay for one to be delivered. Most other banks provide your debit card at no extra cost, so it’s something to make yourself aware of.
If you don’t need to spend your money offline, a physical card isn’t necessary. Great features like disposable virtual cards will increase security for online shopping. You can always transfer money back to another account to spend it.
Overall, Revolut is a challenger bank with a clear target audience. It’s unlikely to be suitable as a primary bank account, but might be one to add to your arsenal.
Most customers will open a Revolut account as a secondary facility, alongside another current account.
More about Revolut
Revolut is a digital-only alternative bank founded in London by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. It was launched in 2015, aiming to allow users to use and manage their money around the world by offering Interbank currency rates. The bank became a ‘unicorn’ (a privately owned startup valued at more than $1billion) in April 2018 and hit 2 million registered users in June.
Revolut Products and Services
Revolut customers are sent a pre-paid debit card (MasterCard or VISA) that can be topped up using their debit card. Customers can then, if they choose, exchange that amount into a foreign currency to be spent abroad or leave it in their home currency.
Revolut also supports cryptocurrency exchange for the following cryptocurrencies:
Peer to peer payments
Of these cryptocurrencies, Revolut offers instant access to Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin by exchanging to and from 25 flat currencies. All cryptocurrencies are locked into the Revolut app and cannot be moved to another app or wallet.
The Revolut current account was introduced in early 2017 and offers full current account facilities including direct debits, payments and transfers. Customers can also set up direct debits in Euros if they wish and can use the EUR IBAN to receive payments in other currencies.
Revolut Premium, costing £6.99 per month, offers customers unlimited foreign exchange and doubles the value of free ATM withdrawals abroad from £200 to £400 (a 2% charge is applicable over this amount).
Revolut introduced a further premium service, called Metal, in August 2018. So named because the card is mostly made of steel, it costs £12.99 per month and includes benefits such as a concierge service that makes bookings on a customer’s behalf, cashback and travel insurance.
Security at Revolut
Revolut has a range of security settings that can be adjusted by the customer in-app. Customers can disable or enable functionality including magstripe payments, ATM withdrawals and contactless payments if they choose, or enable GPS locators that can find their card in the event it is lost or stolen.
Revolut Contact Details
Revolut Limited 4th Floor 7 Westferry Circus London E14 4HD