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    What is Revolut? – The Good and the Bad of the World’s Most Popular Digital Bank

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    Revolut Review 2020

    What is Revolut?

    Founded in 2015 amid a wave of new digital neobanks, Revolut stands out for offering free bank accounts, best in class foreign exchange margins, while also offering features such as cryptocurrency exchange and stock trading facilities. It’s the fastest growing digital bank, and it’s also one of the easiest to sign up for using their app – with just 24 clicks you can complete an account opening.   

     When you open an account you’ll be able to add accounts for up to 29 different currencies, and exchange between your accounts at the interbank exchange rate –far better than any currency exchange house. You can withdraw cash at ATMs world-wide in 120 currencies, while enjoying features such as free airport lounge access if your flight is delayed by more than one hour. With perks like these it’s not hard to see why Revolut is such as popular choice for many travellers and urban nomads. 

     Opening an account can be done for free, though there may be charges to receive your debit card in the mail. The digital bank also offers paid accounts that have additional features and can accommodate higher volumes of currency transfers. 

     To expand its product offering beyond a typical digital bank, Revolut has gradually been adding new features including the option to buy cryptocurrencies and trade stocks or commodities such as gold.

     One downside of Revolut however is that although it has a European bank licence it doesn’t offer deposit insurance protection, meaning that it’s a less safe way to store large amounts of money for a longer period of time. 

    Revolut pros and cons

    Pros:

  • Easy sign-up and free account
  • Exchange currency at interbank rate, hold multiple currencies  
  • Exchange currency at interbank rate, hold multiple currencies Perks for travellers
  • Ability to buy cryptocurrencies and trade stocks
  • Cons:

  • No deposit insurance; 
  • Customer service can be clunky, though is improving
  • High margin on cryptocurrency purchases
  • Revolut doesn’t accept cash or cheque deposits
  • Revolut Fees 

    • Account opening and maintenance fee

    The basic account with Revolut is free. The Premium account has a charge of €7.99 a month or €82 a year. The Metal account has a subscription fee of €13.99 a month or €135 a year. The Premium account is design for people that intend to exchange large amounts of money each year. The Metal account has additional features – apart from the stylish fully metal card (it weighs 18 grammes) – including a 24/7 concierge service, 0.1% cashback on purchases 

    • Card Fees

    To get first debit card there is a delivery fee of €5.99. For replacement cards there is a fee of €6 plus the delivery fee. Cards are free with the Revolut Premium or Metal accounts, as are replacement cards which come with free global express delivery. On the free account you may be able to get your first card delivered for free if you refer a friend who also signs up.  

    • ATM Fees

    For the free account ATM withdrawals are free for up to €200 per month, with a fee of 2% applied to all withdrawals over this amount. That rises to €400 for the Premium account and €600 for the Metal account. 

    • Transfer Fees

    Sending money within the UK is free. When sending money outside the UK and EEA, an intermediary bank may be used, and that bank and the receiving bank may charge a fee. Intermediary banks may also charge fees when you transfer to Revolut from outside the UK and EEA.  

    • Currency Exchange Fees

    For most currency exchange there is no fee or margin – the rate is the same as the interbank rate, meaning it’s the best deal on offer. There are a couple of exceptions for illiquid currencies – for the Thai Baht and Ukrainian Hryvnia there is a mark up of 1%.

    It’s important to note though that the interbank rate is only available on weekdays, when Forex markets are open. On weekends (Friday 00:00 - Sunday 23:59 London time) Revolut charges additional mark ups – 0.5% for major currencies, and 1% for most other currencies (for THB and UAH the mark up rises to 2%). That means it’s more expensive to exchange over the weekend. 

    • Cryptocurrencies

    Revolut charges 2.5% on cryptocurrency exchange fees, rising to 3% for high volume users. This fee was increased in May 2020.  

    Is Revolut available for UAE residents? 

     Founded in the UK, Revolut is available for legal residents of the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States, but promises to support more countries shortly. That means Revolut is not formally available for UAE residents, but many still manage to use its services and maintain an account. How? The Revolut streamlined signup process requires that you have a mobile phone number in one of the eligible countries. If you’re a citizen or former resident of one of these countries and still have an active mobile phone account and a postal address to receive your debit card (such as a relative) then you may well be able to sign up for a Revolut account. Once you’ve got an account you’ll be to fund it from your UAE bank account in Dirhams, and take advantage of their inexpensive exchange margins, whether it’s to fund a brokerage account or investment, transfer money to your children or relatives, or pay off debt. Revolut supports AED meaning you can hold AED in your Revolut account and wait for a more favourable exchange rate. 

    Supported currencies

    Money can be transferred money to your Revolut account via bank transfer in any of these 28 different currencies: AED, AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HRK, HUF, ILS, JPY, MXN, NOK, NZD, PLN, RUB, QAR, RON, SAR, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, USD, ZAR.

    Transfers to your Revolut account through card top-ups, auto top-ups and GooglePay is supported in 18 currencies: AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HUF, HKD, HRK, JPY, NOK, PLN, RON, SEK, USD, ZAR

    Why travelers and digital nomads love Revolut

    Beyond the attractive exchange rate features and the ability to withdraw cash at ATMs in 120 currencies, the digital bank also has tailored its product offerings to make it the perfect bank account to use when travelling. That includes the option of booking passes to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide via the app, and free lounge passes if your flight is delayed by more than 1 hour. Premium account holders get global medical protection, as well a flight and luggage delay coverage with no deductible.  

    Revolut Banking Features

    • Revolut uses savings accounts which it calls Vaults. You can transfer into these using a one-off transfer, recurring transfers, or by rounding up your spare change on your purchase. 
    • It also has Group Vaults or savings accounts, where multiple people can contribute to a vault for a common goal such as a group holiday or even a wedding. This is an alternative to joint accounts which are not available at Revolut. 
    • You can link external bank accounts and then be able to see account balance and transaction details via the Revolut app. 
    • You can set up direct debits, but only Euros and Pound Sterling 
    • Revolut offers the option for loans via Lending Works for its UK customers, though this credit feature was halted in April 2020 due to coronavirus. 
    • You can use the app to track your daily and monthly spending, and create daily budgets for individual categories such as shopping and eating out. 
    • Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay (not available in all countries)
    • Free transfers between Revolut customers
    • Revolut Junior is an account service for children and teenagers that parents can set up through their own account. They can spend money made available for them – and parents can check and track their balance and transactions (only available to parents or legal guardians residing in Europe). 
    • Premium and Metal account holders can create virtual debit cards, which allow you to shop online without worrying about security issues such as a merchant hack revealing your card number. Disposable virtual cards increase security even more by generating new virtual card details for each transaction and then destroying them.          

    Revolut customer service

    Revolut customer service is available 24/7 around the clock via its app. The default is a Chatbot – to reach a real person type ‘Live Agent’ into the chat box. Revolut also has a phone hotline that is only for card blocking service.

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