Does mobile banking and travel while avoiding the outrageous fees banks charge sound good to you?
You’re in the right place.
For some people, Revolut is a great way to manage money from prepaid debit cards, instant payments, and currency exchange – all via their app or other device.
But here’s the deal:
Revolut is great in many situations, but I am also going to uncover situations where Revolut is NOT your best option and point you in the right direction to who might be.
Revolut is one of the best alternatives to save lots of money and also do more.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
1. Quick Take
They say – “One app, All Things Money”.
Truth is they can do an awful lot – but not everything.
For example – getting paid, paying others (with a card or the app), saving money (through “vaults”) is all made possible through an app or online.
But each Plan (below) especially the “free” option has limitations and there are extra fees once you hit these limits.
The paid option could be better for you – even cheaper, especially if you travel overseas, freelance, run a business or are just a frequent user.
The key is to do your homework – or rather just read ours – starting with the Pros and Cons. 🙂
Click here to see the options and pricing available in your country (opens a new tab so you can keep reading).
2. When Revolut Works (and When it Doesn’t)
When it Works
- Easy: When you want simplicity to manage your money including cards, savings and even other bank accounts more easily by a mobile app, desktop or laptop
- Savings: Save on bank fees
- Different Currencies: If you travel overseas, get payments in different currencies or need to make payments in different currencies
- Business: Feature-rich business services including multi-currency account
When it Doesn’t
- Money transfers: fees and phone service
- Service: Need phone assistance
- Where you Have Specific Needs: Investments, Insurance and Banking where you need tailored solutions
2.1 When it Works
Manage money easily, inexpensively and with joy?
Revolut offers many digital banking and money management options for individuals (both local and international). From receiving your salary, splitting bills to tracking all your bank accounts (even high street banks) and spending.
Revolut is pretty comprehensive.
But how can they help you?
For saving, you have the option to create saving vaults and make savings through cash back and discounts.
For spending, you can connect your card to tap and pay with your phone. You also get a card, but the app is where it is at. You can freeze the card and even create single-use cards for safety online. You can also spend in 150+ currencies with low conversion fees.
For international people, getting paid and making payments in different currencies is both inexpensive and easy.
For parents, opening an account (with card) for your child on the back of your account is a welcome addition.
For businesses, Revolut offers payment gateways, payroll, and a multi currency account to pay and get paid like a local (as well as hold 30+ currencies).
2.2 When it Doesn’t Work
International Money Transfers
While Revolut does enable money transfers they can be limited by relatively expensive and complex fees. Also possible frozen accounts.
The reality is dedicated money transfer services can do better and save you more money.
The fees and limits vary based on the country where you live and the plan you have.
As they say, “fees include a variable transfer fee and a 0.5% fee on exchanges above your plan’s monthly allowance. “
The easy way to see what you will pay is to go to their calculator.
In addition to this, regulations can make money transfers relatively complex and as we discovered in the negative reviews (below) one of the biggest complaints people have is frozen accounts.
Fortunately they have a page dedicated to helping people who are locked out of Revolut.
However, if money transfers is important to you, we personally think you are better off choosing a money transfer service that has few restrictions, charges low fees for transfers and (possibly most importantly) has top ranked customer service to help guide you through any issues you might face (due to regulations).
While Revolut scores strongly when it comes to 3rd party reviews (below) this is a low cost service and that means they use an in-app chat box (instead of telephone service). In some situations, a human with specialised knowledge is something worth paying for – especially money transfers.
Some folks need the ability to tailor solutions for their banking and travel insurance. Some examples include loans and more travel insurance options.
A great alternative to Revolut is Wise (review) who also offer money transfer and other banking-like services including cards for individuals and businesses. The difference between Revolut and Wise is that Wise has a much more straight forward offering and is known for both inexpensive transfers and their multi currency account for frequent travellers, digital nomads, freelancers, and growing global businesses.
We recently compared Wise Vs Revolut which uncovered some surprising differences.
When it comes to customer service, Revolut is great for what it does, but sometimes being able to speak to someone is far better. For example, they have travel insurance in some of their plans but what you may need is something quite specific.
Those in Europe might also like our Revolut Vs N26 comparison.
3. Real Speeds (Including Transfer Speed) – Uncovered
Account Opening and Card Delivery
You can get your Revolut account up and running in a matter of minutes. It may take 7-9 days for you to receive your card. You may choose express delivery if you want your card earlier.
Revolut to Revolut transfers are free and instant. Local transfers with 3rd party banks can take 2-3 days.
Different payment methods and the currency selected affect your transfer speed.
Payments to other Revolut users and card payments are instant.
Transfers to cards typically take a few minutes but can take up to 30 minutes.
International transfers can take up to 2 to 5 business days to reach the recipient’s account. Generally this speed is more related to the receiving bank and the country where they operate.
4. Costs + Features (Real Costs)
Because of the many options you can choose with Revolut it helps to start with the right country:
For the UK use their latest price and feature comparison chart (opens new tab to keep reading).
For Europe – choose your country here
US residents click here (opens a new tab to keep reading) for pricing in USD dollars and different offerings.
Australian residents click here (opens a new tab to keep reading) for pricing in Aussie dollars and different offerings.
All other countries select your country here.
In it you will notice they ALL have the following:
- Free account option
- Spend in over 140+ currencies at the interbank exchange rate
- Exchange in 28+ fiat currencies
- No fee ATM withdrawals (Limits apply based on the plan, then fees apply)
There is a long list of additional benefits for Premium and Metal users. Like medical insurance, baggage and flight insurance, priority customer support, LoungeKey Pass (at airports) and fancy looking premium cards.
The business account also has different tiers and you can (check out the comparison chart here).
Generally for paid plans will get you:
- A multi currency account
- Local accounts in global currencies
- A global IBAN
- Physical and virtual cards
- Unlimited team members
- Bulk payments
- Payment Gateway
- Payment QR code
Revolut also offers affordable business accounts for Freelancers (both free and paid options).
Check out the comparison table here.
1) Revolut Standard (Free)
- Free UK account
- Free Euro IBAN account
- Spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate
- Exchange in 29 fiat currencies up to £5,000 per month
- 5 Fee-free ATM withdrawals up to £200 per month
- Revolut Junior account (1)
2) Revolut Plus (£2.99/month)
- All features available on Free
- Revolut Junior Account (2)
- Free card delivery
- Fee-free ATM withdrawals up to £200 per month
- 24×7 Priority customer support
- Theft and accident coverage
- Refund protection
- Safer online shopping
3) Revolut Premium (£6.99/month)
- All features available on Plus account
- No limit on exchange in 29 fiat currencies
- Fee-free ATM withdrawals up to £400 per month
- Overseas medical insurance
- Global express delivery
- Delayed baggage and delayed flight insurance
- Priority customer support
- Premium card with exclusive designs
- LoungeKey Pass access
- Disposable virtual cards
3) Revolut Metal (£12.99/month)
- All features available on Premium account
- Fee-free ATM withdrawals up to £600 per month
- 1% cashback within Europe and 1% outside Europe on all card payments
- Exclusive Revolut Metal card
- Get access to a concierge to help you manage your lifestyle
1) Revolut Free (£0/month)
- Personal accounts for online sellers and freelancers
- 2 cards and limited access for an accountant
- 52 Free local transfers
2) Revolut Grow (£25/month)
- Corporate cards and 10 users access
- Foreign currency transfer up to £10k at midmarket rate
- 100 Free local transfers
- 10 Free international transfers
3) Revolut Scale (£100/month)
- Corporate cards and 30 users access
- Foreign currency transfer up to £50k at midmarket rate
- 1000 Free local transfers
- 50 international transfers
4) Revolut Enterprise (£1000/month)
- Corporate cards and unlimited users access
- Unlimited foreign exchange transfer at midmarket rate
- Unlimited local transfers
- Unlimited international transfers
- International transfers at the mid-market rate t
- Mark-up of 0.5% on the exchange rate on weekends
- Small delivery cost for the first debit card and for the replacement cards.
- For out of network ATM withdrawals fair usage fee applies on amounts over limits based on Plan
Just like low cost airlines, low cost banking often means the devil is in the details. Knowing these details is your secret weapon.
You can enjoy most of the Revolut services such as fund transfers and cash withdrawals free of cost. However, there are limits on the amounts you can transfer or withdraw without cost.
5. How to Use Revolut
Everything right from registration to identity verification, authorization and funding happens online via their app.
Download the app, create a profile, and choose a personal or business plan that works for you. You can upgrade or downgrade your account anytime. You can also select the card as per your requirements.
Provide an ID for verification. The eKYC takes no longer than a few minutes. However, sometimes you may be asked for additional documents for verification.
Fund and Start Using
You can fund your Revolut account using any of the supported methods and start transacting.
5. What do Revolut Customers Say (including Negative Reviews)?
Revolut gets great reviews on most review sites.
On Trustpilot, Revolut are rated 4.4/5 on over 100,000 reviews, which is considered “Excellent”. We analysed 100s of reviews, and 87% gave 4 or 5 stars with only 9% giving 1 star. Compared to their peers this is very respectable especially given their size and low cost operation. Most banks score below 2/5.
But there’s a lot to be learned from the negative reviews.
- Simple interface
- Good customer service
- Great for travelling
Here’s what 2 users had to say on Trustpilot:
I find Revolut so easy to use given we are travelling a lot this year and have done so pre-covid. Once we have uploaded our currency of choice we are ready to go with no fuss and no fees. Transfers are so quick and easy too. Excellent for overseas travel— Lewis
I am very happy with Revolut, very easy not complicated like another banks.the staff is very friendly and helpful and quick.all around very happy— Monica Beatrix Bachem
Too many features
Revolut has a lot of features that can seem attractive at first. However, many users expressed their dissatisfaction that many of the features (like international transfers) are not what is needed.
Long verification time
Some users complained about the long time it took to verify their account. Usually, it only takes a few minutes to get set up on Revolut. However, as a registered financial services provider they may need to verify both individuals and businesses to comply with anti-theft and money-laundering laws.
7. Is Revolut Safe?
Revolut is not a full-fledged bank, so your money is not necessarily protected under the deposit guarantee scheme.
However customers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden may be able to upgrade to Revolut Bank.
But even if you are not cover by them being a full bank, Revolut do protect money in “Saving Vaults” and other ways.
For example, in the UK they partner with banks that are part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that, if you are eligible, your Savings Vaults deposits are protected up to £85,000 per.
In the Europe, it is the Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS) which means protected up to €100,000 per person, per bank.
In the USA, Savings Vaults are held by Sutton Bank, which means your funds are fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 USD.
And so on.
Each country has their own rules and amounts which you are insured for.
Recently revolut has been in the media for a possible lapse in compliance. Reports indicate the FCA is involved, which could be seen as a good thing long term as they no doubt face further scrutiny and (if required) will pull their socks up. Important to note that the compliance issue relates to prevention of financial crime and not security. Revolut from what we can tell is fully secure.
The app gives you complete control over your card and transactions. For example, you can freeze and unfreeze your card instantly. The app also lets you turn on and off features such as swipe payments, ATM withdrawals and contactless payments. It comes with GPS based security, which means, if your card is used in a different location from your current smart phone location, the card will be blocked.
So far as we can tell Revolut takes ample measures to keep your money safe. And even though there may have been a lapse in compliance, they’ve bridged this gap through more robust eKYC and other encryption methods.
However, we think it a good idea to avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket. Hold on to your high street bank account and use Revolut as an every day account because they offer great day-to-day money management options like bill splitting, cards etc. In this way you get the best of both worlds.
Revolut is a modern, convenient way to manage money from an app. You get a prepaid debit cards, make instant payments and exchange currencies.
It has various plans for individual and business users. You can use the one that suits your needs the best.
Click here to see the options and pricing available in your country (opens a new tab so you can keep reading).
But as we discussed above in our section on When Revolut Works (and When it Doesn’t) it might be better for you to use specialised services for insurance and other services they offer.
We think it is also important to use specialist money transfer services where things can get complex due to regulations in different countries. Using a service geared towards money transfers can mean less chance there are any hold ups.
Our picks are Wise (review) for smaller transfers below £4000 GBP / $7000 USD or equivalent and OFX (review) for larger transfers.