What is Revolut?

Revolut is a prepaid card and smartphone app. It is based in the UK but is available in Ireland and the rest of the European Economic Area as well as, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States.

It is popular as a debit card to use when spending in non-Euro currencies. The lack of transaction fees and currency conversion fees make it cheaper to use than any of the mainstream Irish bank’s debit cards.

Revolut is not a bank, it is an “Electronic Money Institution”. It was granted a European banking license in 2018, but this is currently not operational. Revolut was launched in July 2015 and now has over 7 million customers carrying out $8 billion worth of transactions monthly.

It is easy to open an account with Revolut. You can sign up to Revolut here. You just enter your phone number and they will send you a signup link to download the App on your phone. You will then need to verify your identity by providing a picture of a valid ID document and taking a selfie.
After you sign up, you can request your contactless Revolut card and begin using your account.
Revolut comes with individual EUR and GBP IBANs


Alternatives to Revolut

Revolut was one of the first digital banking apps to launch in Ireland – and they have picked up a lot of customers. But there are now a few alternatives to Revolut.


Revolut – A Summary of Fees and Options

REVOLUTStandard
(No Monthly Fee)
Premium
(€7.99 per month)
Metal
€13.99 per month)
ATM WithdrawalsFirst €200 free per month than a 2% feeFirst €400 free per month than a 2% feeFirst €600 free per month than a 2% fee
Debit Card Spending Free in Ireland and abroadFree in Ireland and abroadFree in Ireland and abroad
Currency ConversionInterbank rate with a 0.5% mark up at weekendsInterbank rate with a 0.5% mark up at weekendsInterbank rate with a 0.5% mark up at weekends
Money Exchange/TransferFirst €5000 is free then 0,5% fee.No limits . Fee Free No limits . Fee Free
Sign Up Apply HereApply HereApply Here
Extras Overseas medical insurance.

Delayed baggage & delayed flight insurance.

Priority customer support
Instant access to 5 cryptocurrencies.
Disposable virtual cards
Airport LoungeKey Pass access
Overseas medical insurance.

Delayed baggage & delayed flight insurance.

Priority customer support
Instant access to 5 cryptocurrencies.
Disposable virtual cards
Airport LoungeKey Pass access.

0.1% cashback within Europe and 1% outside Europe on all card payments.
Access to a concierge to help you manage your lifestyle.
Fully Metal Card

Revolut’s Exchange Rates

When spending outside the Eurozone Revolut says they use the “Interbank” rate.
We did a check on a small sample of dates comparing Mastercard’s rates Vs the Interbank rate as used by Revolut.
(For the interbank rate we used the rates provided by Xe.com who state that all their figures are based on live mid-market rates.)
We did the comparison on 14 random dates in 2019 – including 4 weekend days. We looked at purchases made in Sterling using a Euro currency.

On average – on weekdays ,the Interbank rate was just 0.265% better than the Mastercard rate.
In real money terms that would mean spending £100 would cost you just €0.26 cents more using a Mastercard compared to the Interbank rate used by Revolut.

A spend of £1000 would cost you €2.65 more with the Mastercard than Revolut. (Excluding any fees the card provider adds on for currency conversion. See how much the banks in Ireland add on here)

Weekend Exchange Rates

However , on Saturdays and Sundays, Revolut adds 0.5% mark up to their rates. This would make the overall average difference over the full 2 weeks just 0.1328% .( Revolut just slightly better than the Mastercard rate )

But – If you did all your spending on Revolut on a Saturday and Sunday – based on our small survey – it could cost you on average 0.224% more with Revolut than using a fee-free Mastercard such as N26 or Bunq. (€2.24 on a £1000 spend).

Overall – the difference is probably not enough to worry about for day to day spending abroad or online unless you are spending thousands a month.

Is Your Money Safe With Revolut ?

Revolut Ltd is authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011. This means that Revolut must separate the customer’s funds from their own funds and, when held at the end of the business day following the day on which they were received, place them in an account with an authorised credit institution.
If a Revolut customer has a problem they will need to complain to the FCA in the UK here.


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