This is our review of Revolut, the digital finance app which has been shaking up the financial landscape with its flexible range of products designed to meet the personal finance needs of every 21st-century citizen.
I worked in banking for almost a decade at one of the big traditional banks, so I know firsthand what a threat digital challengers like Revolut are to the established banks. While Revolut and other digital challengers may have their shortcomings, no other digital finance app offers the range of services that Revolut does.
What You Need To Know
If you are looking for an app-only current account that comes packed with features for payments, investing, savings and spending abroad, then Revolut is for you.
However, Revolut does not have FSCS protection (see more below) unlike its digital bank rivals Starling Bank and Monzo, which is one of its main drawbacks. Read on for our full Revolut review, including how it compares to its rivals.
This Revolut review will take a look at what Revolut is, how it works, what it offers and if it’s better than its rival challenger finance apps.
Read on for my full Revolut review or use the links below to skip ahead.
- What is Revolut?
- Revolut Review: Pros & Cons
- Revolut’s Key Features
- How Does Revolut Work?
- Revolut Account Types
- Who Is Revolut For?
- How Much Does Revolut Cost?
- Is Revolut Safe?
- Can You Use Revolut Abroad?
- How To Sign Up To Revolut
- What’s It Like Using Revolut?
- Cryptocurrencies On Revolut
- Can I Borrow From Revolut?
- Revolut’s Customer Service
- Revolut Reviews
- Revolut Review – Final Verdict
Read my reviews of the main alternatives to Revolut here:
What is Revolut?
Revolut is digital finance app which offers a range of personal finance services and products. This includes digital payments, debit card spending, international payments and foreign currency transactions.
It describes itself as a ‘digital finance super app’, with lots of innovative in-app features alongside the range of services it offers.
History of Revolut
Founded in July 2015, Revolut has gone from strength to strength since its initial crowdfunding campaigns on Seedrs. They currently boast over 25 million users worldwide accounting for over 330 million transactions each month. These transactions have saved Revolut customers an estimated £560 million in fees that would have been charged by traditional banks.
Is Revolut a Bank?
Revolut does not have a UK banking licence. Instead it is classed as an electronic-money (or e-money) institution, which allows it to offer some services which are similar to that of a traditional bank. Revolut has applied for a UK banking licence, in January 2021, but its application is still being assessed. The granting of a new banking licence is a lengthy process, so it remains to be seen if and when Revolut will be successful in its application.
It’s important to note that as an e-money institution, Revolut is required to separately hold customer’s money. Revolut does so by holding customers’ money in a Barclays bank account. By holding money in a Barclays account, your money is therefore protected by a regulated UK bank. However, any money you hold in your Revolut account is not subject to the protection of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Revolut does however have a specialised European banking licence which is operational in 10 European countries as of January 2022. It’s also set to apply for and operate banking licences in more jurisdictions over time.
Although it does not hold a banking licence in the UK, Revolut offers a range of payment and spending services through its app, which is packed with innovative features.
Revolut Review: Pros & Cons
Before going any further in this Revolut review, here’s a summary of what we view to be the main pros and cons.
Revolut has a number of very significant strengths that have allowed it to grow as quickly as it has. Let’s look at a few of these below.
- Versatility – Revolut offers its customers access to over 24 different currencies right on the app. This allows individuals in dozens of countries to utilise Revolut’s services in their own currencies. Not to mention the benefits to those who are going abroad and wish to avoid the high overseas charges levied by traditional banks.
- Wealth – Revolut assists its customers in growing their wealth by providing access to a number of different investment options that include cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, and savings vaults.
- Ease – Everything from the signup process to the in-app navigation could not be more user-friendly. The app is designed in such a way that anyone from a child to an elderly person would be able to effortlessly operate it without any problem.
- Support – Lastly, Revolut offers its users free 24/7 support directly on the app. If for whatever reason you are unable to access the app, you can contact their teams directly on social media platforms like Twitter for immediate support and assistance.
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect and that includes Revolut. Here are the three main cons I’ve picked out for this Revolut review:
- Physical Branches – Digital finance apps do not support physical locations. As a result, there is nowhere you can go in-person to make deposits or speak to customer service, for example. Whilst this may not be much of an issue for most, many of the older generations feel much more comfortable with current account providers who have physical locations.
- Cash – Our next con follows on from our first. Since Revolut does not have any physical branches, they are therefore unable to process any cash transactions. Revolut is therefore unacceptable for anyone that has the need to process cash transactions on a regular basis.
- No FSCS protection – Unlike the traditional banks, Revolut does not have a banking license in the UK and is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. It does however have protections and safeguards in place as an e-money institution. The lack of FSCS protection should be a major cosideration for anyone who would like to make significant deposits into their account.
Revolut’s Key Features
Let’s take a look at some of Revolut’s best features.
• International transfers
• Medical insurance
• Delayed flight/lost baggage insurance
• Physical/virtual cards
• Savings vaults
• Concierge service
• Cashback options
• Access to discounts and special offers
• Revolut Stays for booking accommodation. No booking fees are charged by Revolut, but fees and charges from accommodation providers may apply. Read the Stays T&Cs.
• On-Demand Pay
While all of these features bring their own benefits, Revolut’s impressive range of wealth-building features stands head and shoulders above the rest. Younger generations are rarely given the necessary amount of financial education needed to truly succeed in the modern world and Revolut helps to address this issue.
Beyond company-provided pensions, most young people today make no effort to save and invest their income for the future. Often, this is because the cost of living today means that they’re unable to build up savings to invest with. For those who do have money to invest, Revolut’s investment features make investing easier than ever and are some of the most useful features of being a Revolut customer.
How Does Revolut Work?
How Revolut works is fairly straightforward. The first thing you need to do is download and set up the app on your smartphone. Once the app has been installed and you have created your account, you are able to place funds into your Revolut account by transferring them directly from your current bank account.
Since Revolut is unable to process cash transactions, you will need to have cash transferred directly into the Revolut app from another existing bank account in order to top up your Revolut account.
Once your account is funded, Revolut will send you a physical debit card so that you are able to spend your money however you like. Revolut will also provide you with a virtual debit card that you can use when shopping online. Since Revolut offers access to multiple currencies, you can use this debit card abroad without attracting any of the usual fees that would typically be payable.
If you wish, you can then open your stock trading account on the app and begin purchasing shares. You will also have immediate access to Revolut’s range of cryptocurrencies and commodities.
Revolut also offers its customers a range of different account types that are both free from subscription charges and paid for. The paid account types provide access to more of Revolut’s advanced features and offer discounts on certain fees. For example, Revolut’s Metal account holders are given free stock purchases. Therefore, if you find yourself regularly purchasing stocks, it may be in your interest to subscribe to Revolut’s Metal account.
How Does Revolut’s Virtual Card Work?
As you might imagine, a virtual card is one that only exists digitally within the app. These virtual cards are a perk afforded to Revolut customers who wish to make secure purchases online or in-app.
The virtual card will have the typical card number, CVV number, and expiry date that your physical card will have. These will allow virtual cardholders to do anything a physical card can do with the exception of withdrawing cash from an ATM. It should be noted that despite the card details being different, the virtual card will be linked to the same account number as your physical card.
Similarly, Revolut customers who subscribe to Revolut’s premium accounts or above will be afforded access to disposable virtual cards. These disposable cards increase your security when shopping online as the card details are constantly changing meaning that no illicit website or third parties will be able to appropriate your card details and make chargers to your account.
Revolut Account Types
Revolut offers multiple types of accounts and levels of subscriptions to cater to a wide range of needs. Let’s take a look at these now.
Revolut business accounts are designed to cater to the digital landscapes all modern businesses traverse. The business accounts are divided between freelancers and businesses with their own specific offers and fees. Small teams are provided with no-fee accounts capable of supporting over 25 different currencies and offer a limited number of free local transactions.
Business accounts are able to scale their capabilities by subscribing to the different subscription levels that Revolut Business offers. We will list the various options available and their monthly fees below.
• Revolut Freelancer (Free)
• Revolut Freelancer Professional (£7)
• Revolut Freelancer Ultimate (£25)
• Revolut Business (Free)
• Revolut Business Grow (£25)
• Revolut Business Scale (£100)
• Revolut Business Enterprise (£1000)
Revolut <18 (Previously Revolut Junior)
Committed to teaching young people to better manage their money, Revolut offers the youngest of our society the option of creating their own digital current accounts. The <18 accounts have safeguards in place as Revolut automatically blocks merchants that would be inappropriate for children such as those registered to cigarette, alcohol, and gambling companies.
The <18 accounts come with no additional monthly subscription fees and parents can both set up and monitor these accounts directly in their app. It should be noted that <18 accounts are only available to parents/guardians with a Personal Plus account or above and that the only way for the <18 account holder to fund their account will be through the parent/guardian’s Revolut account. There is no other way in which an <18 account can be funded.
Revolut Personal Accounts
The most widely used Revolut account types will be the Revolut personal accounts. These accounts will range from those which have no monthly subscription fees with limited access to Revolut features and higher fees on certain activities to their most expensive account subscription, Revolut Meta, which comes with a wide range of features. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
The Revolut Standard account is free from monthly subscription fees and can be set up within minutes directly on your phone. Users will be provided with a free debit card that will be sent directly to their postal address and be granted immediate access to sign up for Revolut’s wealth-building features. If you’re new to Revolut and looking to test the waters, the Revolut Standard account is the way to do it.
The Plus option is Revolut’s most basic paid subscription for its personal accounts at just £2.99 per month. Plus provides some limited benefits such as access to Junior accounts and 7.5% cashback for any bookings made through the Revolut Stays feature. Terms and conditions apply.
Plus also offers reduced fees on cryptocurrency purchases and some payment protections on ticket purchases and recently purchases phones or tablets.
The premium subscription option is available to Revolut users for £6.99 per month. Premium account holders have access to all the same benefits as Plus and Standard subscription holders as well as some upgrades. For example, Plus members are only entitled to £1,000 in payment protections for lost or stolen phones or tablets purchased over the last 365 days whilst Premium members are entitled to as much as £2,500.
Further, Premium subscribers will have access to unlimited and fee-free FX exchanges in 30+ currencies (exotic currency mark-ups apply, and only fee-free on weekends), up to 10% cashback on bookings made through Revolut Stays, and access to airport lounges via LoungeKey.
The creme de la creme of the Revolut personal account subscriptions is the Revolut Metal account. The Metal account costs £12.99 per month and provides subscribers with all the benefits above and a few extra features.
Metal subscribers will pay zero fees on stock purchases and a reduced rate of 1.5% on cryptocurrency purchases as opposed to the 1.99% paid by standard plans. Further, Metal holders will be able to access specific insurance-related products such as those available for car hire excess and personal liability.
Finally, Metal holders will also be able to benefit from the Revolut Metal cashback feature which provides 0.1% cashback on any purchases made within Europe and up to 1% cashback on any purchases made outside of Europe.
Ultimately, if you travel regularly, invest consistently, and enjoy the peace of mind that having comprehensive insurance offers, the Revolut Metal plan could be a good option for you.
Who is Revolut For?
Revolut has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible without compromising the functionality of the service. Ideally, Revolut would cater to the needs and preferences of all members of society. However, this is usually easier said than done and in practice, it is almost impossible to satisfy the needs of every individual.
As such, Revolut’s services are best aligned with individuals who travel regularly, wish to begin investing, prefer to handle their finances online, and would benefit from the wide range of currencies and financial products available on the Revolut app.
How Much Does Revolut Cost?
The good news is that Revolut’s basic accounts, whether personal or business, are free from monthly subscription fees. If your needs are more sophisticated or you wish to access Revolut’s more advanced features you will be required to subscribe to one of their subscription based accounts. Personal accounts will cost you a maximum of £12.99 per month while business accounts can cost up to £12,000 per year for larger and more established businesses.
Is Revolut Safe?
Revolut is classed as an e-money institution. This means it does not hold a banking license in the UK, and nor does it have Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection.
However, Revolut is regulated by the FCA and says it complies with the regulations that apply to e-money institutions. These regulations are known as ‘safeguarding’, and mean that customers’ money must be deposited in a separate account with a regulated bank, or the e-money institution must hold insurance that covers customer’s deposits.
Given these safeguarding regulations, there is a level of protection in place that means you should be able to recover your money in the event that Revolut went out of business. This is not, however, guaranteed and you may not recover all of your money.
The lack of FSCS protection is one of the major drawbacks of holding deposits with Revolut. Under the FSCS, your deposits of up to £85,000 are guaranteed by the government in the event that the bank that holds them collapses. You should consider whether or not this lack of FSCS protection is important to you before depositing serious money with Revolut.
In December 2022, Revolut made the news for not reimbursing a number of customers who lost money due to fraud through Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams. Although in some cases Revolut did eventually refund customers, there were some complaints with the way in which Revolut dealt with customers who believed they had been the victims of fraud.
There is a code of conduct in the UK that many high street banks are signed up to regarding APP fraud, called the Contingent Reimbursement Model Code. In the event of APP fraud, the banks signed up to this Code will – in most cases – reimburse the amount of money stolen. Digital account providers such as Revolut are not signed up to this code, so this highlights something else to be aware of if you’re thinking of signing up to Revolut. That is not to say that you won’t get reimbursed in the event of fraud as a Revolut customer, but that it won’t be automatic in the way it is with most high street banks.
Can You Use Revolut Abroad?
Yes! Your Revolut account and debit card will be available in almost every country in the world. You should have no more trouble purchasing a car in Australia with your Revolut account than you would if you purchased a Starbucks coffee in London Heathrow.
Similarly, if your card is frozen due to suspicious activity while you are abroad, you can unfreeze your card directly on the app immediately and continue using your card.
Revolut’s foreign exchange and international payments features were one of its main selling points when it launched. More recently, its money transfer offering isn’t as competitive as it once was. Rivals, such as Wise, offer just as good, if not better, money transfer and international payment options.
Which Currencies Are Available on Revolut?
Revolut provides its customers with a comprehensive list of 30 currencies to choose from. You can find the full list of available currencies below. Beyond the 30 currencies that can be held on the app itself, Revolut currently supports card payments and ATM withdrawals in over 140 currencies wherever Mastercard and Visa are accepted.
• Great British Pound (GBP)
• United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
• Australian Dollar (AUD)
• Bulgarian Lev (BGN)
• Canadian Dollar (CAD)
• Swiss Franc (CHF)
• Czech Koruna (CZK)
• Danish Krone (DKK)
• Euro (EUR)
• Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
• Croatian Kuna (HRK)
• Hungarian Forint (HUF)
• Israeli New Sheqel (ILS)
• Icelandic Krona (ISK)
• Japanese Yen (JPY)
• Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
• Mexican Peso (MXN)
• Norwegian Krone (NOK)
• New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
• Polish Zloty (PLN)
• Romanian Leu (RON)
• Serbian Dinar (RSD)
• Russian Ruble (RUB)
• Saudi Arabian Ryial (SAR)
• Swedish Krona (SEK)
• Singapore Dollar (SGD)
• Thai Baht (THB)
• Turkish Lira (TRY)
• United States Dollar (USD)
• South African Rand (ZAR)
How To Sign Up To Revolut
Signing up to Revolut couldn’t be simpler, all you will need is a phone, a working phone number, and access to some basic identification documents. Once you have gathered all these items, you can begin the signup process by downloading the app directly onto your phone.
When you have downloaded the app you will be required to create a 4 digit passcode after which Revolut will send you a 6 digit security code to ensure that the mobile number you provided is correct.
Once you’ve verified your phone number, Revolut will require you to provide them with your full name, email address, and identification documents.
Please note that those who wish to access the brokerage services offered through the Revolut app in order to purchase stocks will also be required to provide their National Insurance and tax numbers.
What’s it Like Using Revolut?
As has been noted several times throughout this Revolut review, using Revolut is as straightforward as it comes. Let’s take a look at what Revolut currently looks like.
Above you can see the Revolut home screen. You will immediately notice that the design and layout of the Revolut home screen are extremely tidy. Users can see their cash accounts at the top of the screen as well as their net worth breakdown just below it. Besides their accounts, users can also move to both their stocks, crypto, and commodities holdings right on the home screen.
Please note that the commodities section is not visible in the above photo because that user has not activated the commodities section. Activation can be completed through “the hub”.
The Revolut app is divided into three main pages, the home screen, as shown above, the transfer window, and the hub. You can move between these three pages using the options at the bottom of the screen as shown above.
Above you will see the second page of the Revolut app, the transfer window. From this page, users will be able to transfer money to other Revolut users or external bank accounts. This page will also allow users to make international transfers in any currencies that are currently supported by Revolut. As you can see, the sleek and intuitive design makes it as simple as can be to complete any task you may require.
Finally, we have the hub. The hub is effectively the settings page for the Revolut app. From here, users will be able to manage the entire app including any junior accounts they may have set up for their children. The hub allows users to activate Revolut’s wealth features, control their cards, upgrade their subscriptions, set up savings pockets, and even locate any nearby ATMs.
As a final note, the Revolut app also supports both Apple and Google pay which means that users will be able to pay for purchases using their phones inbuilt payment facility.
Overall, using the Revolut app is a pleasant experience that is suitable for most age groups and satisfies most individuals’ current account needs. The only negative to the Revolut user experience is that their desktop service still leaves much to be desired as Revolut is mostly focused on its mobile experience.
In the future, we would love to see Revolut give their desktop service a significant upgrade so that we can attain the same level of functionality on the computer as we have on the phone.
Cryptocurrencies On Revolut
Among the many features that Revolut has added in recent years is the ability buy and sell Cryptocurrencies. You can also trade in stocks and some commodities too. Cryptoassets are volatile and not regulated or protected by investor compensation schemes – value can go down or up. Trading may be subject to tax. Fees payable.
There are over 90 tokens available to trade on Revolut including Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP but this changes regularly. You can buy, sell or send crypto all through the Revolut app.
There is a 1.99% fee for Revolut Standard and Plus accounts (minimum 99p) and 1.49% for Premium and Metal accounts (no minimum). This compares relatively well to other platforms, although many crypto trading platforms will only tell you the fee when you come to place an order, such as with Coinbase.
I ‘bought’ my first Bitcoin using Revolut in early 2021 to test out Revolut’s crypto and trading features. It was very easy and straightforward to do, and included clear risk warnings which was good to see.
Revolut does not charge any fees for holding crypto on your behalf. It also states that “the majority of our funds are held in cold storage with trusted custodians. Your private keys never touch the internet”. Given the recent turmoil among crypto exchanges, this should help to give you some peace of mind. The usual warning applies though – don’t invest more than you’re willing to lose when trading crpyocurrencies (and any other asset class for that matter).
Can I Borrow From Revolut?
Not in the UK. At least not in the typical sense such as a personal loan or credit card. You can, however, get paid your usual monthly salary early.
Revolut offers two features to this. The first is to get paid your salary one day early using Revolut’s ‘Early Salary’ feature. To set this up, you will need to have your salary paid into your Revolut account and then send an email (ready-made by Revolut) to your employer. Once they’ve confirmed, you can then choose to get paid a day earlier than your usual payday. There are no fees or charges to do this.
We can see how this may be an occasionally useful feature, but it’s not that exciting to get paid one day early.
Alternatively, you can have access to up to 50% of your usual salary anytime during the month through Revolut’s ‘On-Demand Pay’ feature. This is perhaps more useful if you find youself in a position where you’re short of cash before your usual payday. However, this feature does come with fees attached so be warned that it will cost you if you use it.
I would urge against any borrowing that invovles fees or interest if you can avoid it, even if it’s an early payday facility like Revolut’s. You are likely to be better off maintaining an interest-free credit card for situations when you need to buy something and don’t have enough cash on hand. But remember to always pay the credit card balance before interest kicks in.
Note that if you’re in certain EU jurisdictions however, you can borrow from Revolut through a personal loan of up to €35,000.
Revolut’s Customer Service
Customer service is a key consideration when it comes to choosing your current account services provider. When something goes wrong with your money, the last thing you want to do is spend hours trying to get a hold of someone who can help you.
Thankfully, Revolut’s customer service teams are known to consistently provide the highest levels of customer service. Customers who have any issue are afforded the opportunity to speak to a human representative on Revolut’s Customer Support Team through the app’s live chat function.
This live chat function can be accessed by selecting your profile picture on the top left-hand side of your home screen and then selecting the “help” option. Once selected, scroll down to the “New Chat” option and type in “Live Agent” to be directed to a human representative who will be able to handle any problem you may have.
We tested this out on the app by asking to chat to a Live Agent. It took around 20 minutes to get through to a respresentative, which is similar to how long it takes with traditional banks through their apps in our experience. Although the time it takes will fluctuate depending on how busy they are at the moment you contact them.
It’s also worth noting that paying subscription holders will be given priority by Revolut in the order of their subscription level.
Revolut has a 4.3 rating on Trustpilot which is rated as ‘Excellent’. However, this is slightly lower than Starling Bank and Monzo who both have ratings of 4.4 on Trustpilot.
Although Revolut’s customer service was fine when I tested it for this Revolut review, it’s clear when looking through Trustpilot reviews that not everyone is satisfied with it. Some complaints mention how long it’s taken to get a response from Revolut’s customer service. Others talk about how long it took to get their account setup and going through the Know Your Customer (KYC) verification. In my experience when signing up to Revolut, the setup process was straightforward and didn’t take long, but that doesn’t appear to be the case for everyone.
Revolut is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy around the world as well as within the UK. It could be that this has meant less of a focus on customer service as they instead focus on expanding their product ranges and features. If you want to get Revolut for the many features it offers then that’s not such a big deal, but if customer service is your number one concern then you should bear this in mind.
Overall though, Revolut has tons of good reviews online with lots of customers praising the app itself and the many useful features, such as those I’ve talked about in this review.
On the Apple App Store reviews provide for much greater comfort as Revolut has a strong 5* rating from over 500,000 reviews.
Revolut Review – Final Verdict
Overall Revolut’s app is easy to use and navigate and is packed with features. Unlike its main rivals, Monzo and Starling, it offers stocks, crypto and commodities trading through its app. Revolut’s intention is to become a financial ‘super app’ and not just a digital current account and this is reflected in the number of features it offers. You’re unlikely to find another financial app that offers so much in one place.
However when looking at costs and fees for this Revolut review, there are cheaper alternatives for foreign exchange such as Starling Bank and Wise. That being said, you will save on costs when spending money abroad with a Revolut card vs traditional banks.
Revolut also doesn’t have the best customer service record according to user feedback. This is something to consider especially if you are more interested in a bank account rather than making use of all of Revolut’s features.
Revolut’s lack of FSCS protection will also be a concern to many and may put you off from wanting to deposit large sums of money with them. Again, Starling is a viable alternative here as it does offer FSCS protection because it’s a fully regulated UK bank.
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