Revolut, your digital banking alternative - or at least so the slogan says. Of course, in the Netherlands all banks are 100% digital, and my German banks are not too analog either.
Nevertheless Revolut is a unique product. In this article, I will point out some of the great benefits that Revolut has and why in many situations it is my default choice.
Revolut offers some unique advantages that are not found like this in many banking products. Some of the things that I particularly value are:
- free of charge for the basic account (maximum annual turn-over € 30.000)
- commission-less usage of any currency outside your home currency
- easy to ‘top-up’ your account with any VISA or MasterCard credit card
- free choice between Maestro, VISA and MasterCard cards (or all three of them)
- unique safety features
I am going to discuss these advantages one by one below, and I am sure we’ll find another trick or two along the way, too.
Free of charge
There are no charges for the basic product, beyond a postage fee for a physical card. On presentation of basic proof of income, an annual turn-over of € 30.000 is usually assigned. At least, that’s the unofficial figure doing the rounds, as the annual limit can no longer be seen in the app itself.
Commission-less exchange rates
Unlike many other cards, there are zero charges for using other currencies. You have two options: either you exchange-as-you-go (and keep a balance in your home currency (euro in my case) or you keep a balance in another currency. This allows you to exchange your money when the exchange rate is favourable.
It is also very handy during the weekend, as in the weekend (when financial markets are closed) Revolut does charge an extra fee to cover any sudden exchange rate change during the weekend. The mark-up depends on the currency: from 0.5% on liquid currencies (Dollar, Pound, Yen) to 1.5% on illiquid currencies such as Russian Ruble and Thai Bath. Exchanging the money for the weekend and spending the balance protects you from any surprises.
Easy to top-up your account
Of course, you get a IBAN bank account number for your account, but you can also top-up your account using a VISA or MasterCard. This can be very handy for avoidin foreign exchange commissions. Some cards even allow you to collect points, for top-ups. You could then theoretically transfer the money back to your own account, but most people report that they will be told by Revolut to refrain from such behaviour.
Free choice of cards
With Revolut, you get to use between Maestro, MasterCard and VISA card. You can order them from your app once the account has been set up, for a nominal fee (around € 10). There are often special offers where this price is waived for the first card, so keep an eye on the Revolut Community Webpages and their Twitter feed.
Unique safety features
Revolut lets you switch on and off using the magnetic strip for payments, contactless payments, on-line shopping and more. This makes it a very versatile card for those who like full control. It is a also a real boon for those who travel a lot.
Limitations of Revolut
Of course, with a free product there are limitations, too. The major ones are:
- only € 200 per month for cash withdrawls
- no possibility to use AMEX
- relatively basic designs for cards
Revolut does offer a very modern way of banking. It’s perhaps not quite an alternative to my other bank accounts, but their cards certainly deserve a spot in my wallet. I have been having no issues at all over the last two years with my card.
The Maestro is my standard card in the Netherlands, and I tend to use either their VISA or MasterCard when travelling outside the eurozone.
As with all these products, it remains to be seen if other banks may not copy feature of Revolut and become more like their competitor. However, I am very happy with the product and wish Revolut every success!