The more I delve into the wonderful world of challenger banks, the more viable alternatives I find to the ‘big four’.
I decided to do this Revolut review because this bank is no exception.
The competition is fierce and it’s hard to stand out but have Revolut done enough to become the best challenger?
This is a question I will have answered for you by the end of this Revolut review.
- 1 What Is Revolut?
- 2 How Does Revolut Work?
- 3 Revolut’s Sign Up Process
- 4 Revolut’s Features
- 5 Is Revolut Safe?
- 6 Revolut Reviews
- 7 Final Thoughts On This Revolut Review
What Is Revolut?
Revolut, similar to other challenger banks, can only be accessed online or via their app.
It should be noted that technically Revolut is not classed as a bank (although I will refer to it as one throughout) in the Uk because it doesn’t have a license.
The correct term to describe Revolut would be a digital payment system but it essentially does everything ‘normal’ banks do.
(Note: I’ll talk more on what Revolut can’t provide as a result of not having a Uk license later)
Revolut has no psychical branches, meaning you manage all aspects of your finances via their app.
The idea of having a bank in your pocket seems much more appealing and up to date than the traditional style of banking.
Revolut was launched in July of 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko.
Both very capable and experienced individuals with backgrounds in finance.
Much like Monzo, Revolut would start out as a prepaid card and app.
It was designed initially to allow travellers to be able to swap between currencies cheaply.
Revolut would not obtain a specialised banking license until 2018 from the European central bank (facilitated by the bank of Lithuania).
This meant the bank could then accept deposits and offer consumer credits.
The company then decided to scale by increasing its staff and receiving several more rounds of funding.
At the time of writing, Revolut is the UK’s most valuable financial technology start-up with a valuation of £4.2 billion.
An impressive story to say the least, but just how exactly does Revolut work?
How Does Revolut Work?
Like I mentioned earlier, Revolut is a solely online bank, meaning you can do all the essentials and then some via the app.
Just like ‘normal’ banks, Revolut offers a personal and business account for its users.
(Note: Instead of joint accounts Revolut offers a group vault feature)
You’ll be able to set up direct debits, standing orders and so on through the Revolut app.
Besides the normal features of traditional banks, Revolut has many money managements features you can take advantage of.
By providing such features (explained later), users have more control over their finances in the hopes it will encouraging better money management.
Revolut’s Sign Up Process
(Note: If you have signed up already, skip this section of the Revolut review)
Like Monese, Revolut advertises that they have a quick and easy registration process.
So here’s a brief overview of how you’d create an account.
The Revolut app is available for both Android and IOS devices.
(Note: This example will be done using an IOS device)
Type in Revolut and download the app.
Wait for it to download and then press the icon.
You’ll then have a few brief slides on some of the features within Revolut (we’ll look at each one in more depth next).
By clicking ‘open a free account’ you’ll be asked to fill in your phone number and verify it via a code.
Then create a passcode that you’ll need to enter whenever you log in.
You’ll also be asked to confirm it which should be no problem unless you have the memory of a goldfish like me.
Next up Revolut will need some information regarding your postcode, legal name and date of birth etc.
After you’ve completed this you’ll be asked whether or not you want to deposit funds currently.
As well as the friendly reminder that you’ll need to verify your identity before you send or spend money.
(Note: I recommend doing this straight away as you’ll have to do it at some point to get the essential functions)
Verifying your identity will require you to submit a form of identification and take a selfie.
Revolut only excepts these two forms of ID:
- Driving License
All you’ll need to do is take a picture of either (ensuring all corner are within the shot) and then it will be sent off.
Then take a selfie.
Once completed, your documents will be reviewed and you’ll have a response from Revolut within a weeks time.
(Note: I received my confirmation the same day but timing will vary)
In the meantime, you’ll be taken to the ‘get started’ section.
Here you can set up a virtual and psychical card.
Let’s first order our psychical card.
What’s great about Revolut is you can customise your card if you subscribe to either their ‘metal’ or ‘premium’ card (more on this later).
Of course, it has no practical use but it’s a nice touch.
The free standard card is featured below.
Confirm your pin, delivery address and when you want to receive your card.
As you can see from the image below you have a few options.
The first option requires you to sign up for a subscription plan (premium or metal).
That means it’s not ‘free’ but instead the minimum you’ll pay is £6.99 a month for premium (includes added perks).
Alternatively, you can select express delivery for 11.99 if you are in a rush or standard delivery for £4.99.
Either of these options doesn’t require you to subscribe to Revolut’s upsell services.
What this does mean is you pay to own the card whether that be in the form of a one-time delivery payment or a monthly subscription fee.
Once you’ve ordered your psychical card, you can then sort out your virtual card.
You have the options of a standard virtual card and what’s called a disposable virtual card.
The standard version is fairly self-explanatory and will be your ‘main’ virtual card if you like.
It can be connected to Apple pay to allow touchless transactions in shops etc.
A disposable virtual card, on the other hand, is a card that will change after each use.
This adds another layer of security for online transactions and protects your card from online fraud.
It’s also worth noting that you cannot connect this virtual card to apple pay.
That’s the signup process completed as well as the available cards you may need!
Next, we are going to move on to the card’s features in this Revolut review.
(Note: All of these features are standard and do not include the added perks from upgraded plans)
This section on features is likely to be the most interesting part of this Revolut review simply because it provides so many.
Let’s take a look at each one in some detail.
Having started out as a card designed to help achieve good exchange rates when travelling abroad, you would assume Revolut would excel here.
If you did, you’d be 100% right because Revolut charges no fees for spending abroad.
It should be noted however that limits do apply.
Another handy feature that is accessible through the app whilst on the topic of being overseas is their currency exchange feature.
You can choose between 28 different currencies (at the time of writing) using an up to date exchange rate.
To do this all you need to do is head over to your accounts tab and click the account you want to adjust.
Then you can choose what currencies you want to exchange using the markers.
There you have it, simple and useful.
Every time you make a card transaction with Revolut, they can round up your purchase to the nearest whole number.
By selecting this feature it can then place that money in one of your vaults/saving goals.
You have the option to accelerate this if you choose so, meaning the change can be multiplied by a factor of 2 for example.
Roundup is also adjusted for each currency as the value of each unit varies.
This is an idea that was given to Revolut by a user.
So not only did they listen but they implemented it which is nice to see.
To activate this feature head over to ‘vaults’.
Select what type of vault you would like and label it.
(Note: Savings vault is only accessible to upgraded accounts)
After you select you goal, you’ll be taken to the section below where you can choose to activate the feature and to what degree.
This goal will then appear in the ‘vault’ section after completion.
Budgeting is a very useful feature that we all need.
Whether we like budgeting or not it’s important and Revolut thinks so too as they have integrated a budgeting feature.
In theory, the more control you have over your finances, the better you’ll manage it.
To set up a budget simply head over to the graph in the top right-hand corner and you’ll then be presented with the budgeting function.
You can then set a budget for whatever you like.
There is also the option to categorise your budgets as shown below.
Budgeting made easy.
Although this is almost a compulsory feature in today’s day and age, it’s still worth noting.
You can find a clear breakdown of your spending on you homepage, as shown below.
Further information about the transaction can be accessed by clicking on it.
Splitting bills is a neat feature you can take advantage of with Revolut.
You can settle payments with any of your contacts.
When you set up a split bill feature, the individual who owes you will be notified instantly.
In a few clicks, the payment can be sent to you.
To set this up all you need to do is head over to payments and click start.
(Note: When you first get started you will have various slides on features that you can familiarize yourself with including splitting bills)
Click ‘get started’.
Then you can select who from your contacts owes you their share of the bill.
An extremely impressive feature that Revolut is able to facilitate within their app is not only investing in stocks but in cryptocurrency and commodities.
To further sweeten the deal, all transactions on stocks are free from fees.
To access these investments move over to the ‘wealth’ section.
As you can see from the image below, you have various investments vehicles to take advantage of.
To invest, simply click on what vehicle you want.
(Note: This example will be done using stocks)
Choose from the options listed through Revolut.
If you decide to invest, you’ll be asked to fill in your national insurance number as well as some other details.
After you have completed that, you can use it freely to invest in whatever you like.
If you ever lose or misplace your card, you can simply freeze it via the app.
This feature can save you time.
You won’t have any potentially long and boring phone calls with your providers this way.
Traditional banks should take note.
All you need to do to freeze your card is head over to the card section and click ‘freeze card’.
To unfreeze your card, simply re-click it.
Revolut allows you to connect all of your other bank accounts so you have all your finances in one place, similar to Curve.
As you can imagine this is very useful.
To connect you accounts, head over to ‘home’ and click ‘linked’.
You’ll be taken to this screen.
After having a read you can connect the bank accounts you have with different providers.
Revolut proudly advertises that you can send money to over 30+ countries at the correct exchange rate.
That’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider there are no ‘hidden fees and rubbish rates’ as Revolut puts it.
You can covert up to £1000 for free and upgrades to Premium or metal will allow you to send higher amounts.
To transfer, all you need to do is head over to the payments section.
Then press the plus sign in the top right-hand corner a click ‘add bank account’.
From here you just need to fill out some details including your recipients country.
After that, you’re good to go.
You can get real-time information regarding your spending as soon as you make payments.
That means you’ll be notified instantly.
This can be particularly handy for users who have a joint and/or business account.
It’s a simple feature but a convenient one to have.
You can find information regarding your standing orders, direct debits and subscriptions all in one place.
By knowing in advance when money is coming out of your account you can manage your finances around each payment.
This information can be viewed on the home screen.
You may have picked up earlier in this Revolut review that they offer 3 different versions.
Standard is free, ‘premium’ is £6.99 and ‘metal’ is £13.99.
Here’s a look at what each one provides in a side by side comparison.
|Card Customisation||standard card||Standard + 4 available colourways||Premium + metal card with extra 4 colourways|
|Cashback||N/A||N/A||0.1% in Europe, 1% outside|
|Overseas Medical Insurance||N/A||Included||Included|
|Free Spending Abroad||Included||Included||Included|
|Customer Support||Included||Included + Priority||Included + Priority|
|Junior Account||N/A||Upto 2 Children||Upto 5 Children|
As you can see both subscriptions provide a fair few more perks than just the standard package.
Having said that, it’s a reoccurring fee each month and the standard version has everything MOST people could want from their card.
Ultimately it’s your decision, I hope this has somewhat helped you identify the differences between each package.
Don’t hesitate to email me (email@example.com) if you have any more questions on this section of the Revolut review.
If you’re all up to date, we can now move on.
Is Revolut Safe?
Revolut is fully regulated by the FCA, meaning it has the same security levels as Uk banks.
They must adhere to strict regulations under the FCA to ensure great care is taken with our personal and financial details.
The goals of the FCA are:
- To safeguard customers
- Enhance the integrity of the Uk financial system
- To promote healthy competition to improve service for the public
However, as I stated earlier, Revolut does not have a Uk bank license.
What does that mean?
The absence of a license means that your money is not protected if for any reason Revolut was to go bust.
Banks with a Uk license are backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which protects accounts up to £85,000.
(Note: The only other difference is that Revolut can not offer lending services)
However, a license is hopefully on the horizon as Revolut has filed for its Uk license.
If there are any new developments, I’ll be sure to update this portion of the Revolut review.
So to sum it all up, your money is safe and protected unless Revolut goes bankrupt, at least for the time being.
As with all of my reviews, I like to include other users opinions/experiences to arrive at a more well-rounded conclusion.
This Revolut review is no exception.
All reviews are courtesy of Trustpilot.
Here’s a quick overview of 74,000+ Revolut reviews so we have a rough idea of what to expect.
So not only is there a vast amount of reviews to increase the representativeness but the overwhelming majority are positive.
As always I like to look at a few examples in detail because the outline doesn’t always tell the full story.
Let’s first take a look at the positive Revolut reviews.
It’s always important to include customers who have used the product for a prolonged period.
The main tone of this review is positive, particularly when on the topic of its cross-border capabilities.
Having customers that say your upsell products are ‘worth every penny’ is most certainly a good sign too.
A prime example of the good impressions that a wide array of features can have on users.
In comparison to traditional banks, you have much more control over your finances.
The comment regarding excessive jargon is an interesting point, let me know in the comments below if you feel the same about other banks.
A share the same opinion as this user, making something as complex as finance clear and simple can only be positive.
Again, having a customer for prolonged periods of time is a great sign.
Not only that but having been to many countries he can testify to Revolut’s perks abroad.
It appears that this is one of the biggest strengths of the card.
Next up is Revolut reviews we consider to be average or ‘middle of the road’ as I like to call them.
References to the new update of Revolut’s interface have come up frequently when searching for reviews to break down.
Unfortunately, I never had the app with the old interface so I can not make an accurate comparison.
What I will say is it takes lots of time and money to improve aspects of companies, in this case, Revolut’s interface.
When we get used to a style or look, particularly of an app, as soon as it’s changed and features are moved, it normally has a bad reaction initially.
If remarks regarding Revolut’s interface keep appearing in numbers a few months down the line than it’s likely that the concerns are legitimate.
For now, the change is fresh, so these kinds of response are expected.
Opinions on customer service are always subject to your own experience.
Having said that, I have noticed a common trend with ‘challenger banks’ that are solely online.
The trend is that if you cannot get a hold of live chat, there isn’t much you can do but wait.
I noted in the section before that subscription cards with Revolut have priority when it comes to customer care.
That seems fair if you are paying for a service, but if users with a standard card are waiting for hours for a response, this is unacceptable.
Last up, some of the more negative Revolut reviews.
Although Revolut provides features that allow you to trade multiple investment vehicles, they are not solely brokerage business.
That means you unlikely you have the quality and speed of these companies.
On top of that, there are many rules and regulations regarding stocks etc.
It’s, therefore, more than likely that you’ll encounter some hardship’s down the line if you use these features frequently.
Whilst on the topic of trading, if you were wondering why he was flagged for ‘day trading’ it’s because Revolut does not favour this method of investing.
I decided to include this review because, despite the provocative and over-exaggerated title (likely because they are angry), they have some interesting points.
Accounts being blocked is a problem I also encountered with Monzo, this is likely due to the strict regulations and rules in place.
If you have ever had an account suspended before, it’s a frustrating experience to say the least so I can understand the anger.
Their customer service seems to be predominantly bots and the option to contact an agent (i.e a real person) is there but can be a lengthy process.
As I stated earlier, everyone customer support experience is different, with bad and good reviews to be expected.
However, there doesn’t seem to be much of an in-between, it’s either great or poor.
Perhaps this is a system/process that Revolut needs to refine in order to thin out these polarising customer support reviews.
Just to give a quick summary, Revolut is overwhelming well-reviewed, but as to be expected they have the problems.
- Great Features
- FCA Regulated
- Virtual Cards
- Overseas Perks
- Overwhelmingly Positive Reviews
- Link Your Accounts
- Not protected By FSCS
- Time Delays In Contacting Live Agents
Final Thoughts On This Revolut Review
To wrap this Revolut review up, on the whole, I was very surprised.
Revolut was not on my radar until recently and having studied the company with the services they provide I can say I’m impressed.
This card seems to be a must-have when you go abroad for the wide array of travelling perks they provide, staying in touch with their roots.
I also think the addition of virtual cards and investment vehicles within the app is very forward-thinking, that should be admired.
However, every business has its faults.
The main criticisms with Revolut seem to be related to their customer service and/or handling of users accounts (freezing and suspensions).
Lastly, if it had not been for the absence of their Uk banking License, Revolut would be in the conversation for the best challenger bank.
The decision is ultimately yours, but I hope this Revolut review has provided enough information for you to make a choice (whatever it may be).
If you are looking for reviews on alternatives to Revolut, check out some of mobile app reviews articles I have recently created:
As always be sure to leave a comment on this Revolut review if you enjoyed it or equally if you think I missed anything out.