Revolut has transitioned from a fintech company to a fully-fledged bank (in the EU) in less than 10 years and acquired tens of millions of users along the way.
If you’re still on the fence about whether you should get the Revolut app and bank account or not, join me as I cover all the ins and outs of Revolut from my experience spanning more than three years of extensive use.
But first, here’s a short verdict.
Revolut is an excellent everyday financial app with a good set of features and benefits on paid accounts that will appeal mostly to frequent travelers or those that need to hold and transfer multiple currencies at fair prices.
Revolut is a challenger bank from London that was founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko.
In the past eight-plus years, it has become a global player in banking and finance, slowly taking customers away from high-street banks.
The app already has around 25 million customers worldwide, with additional 500,000 businesses onboard. That’s 10 million more users than what they had when I was writing my last Revolut review in late 2021!
They also added many new features, such as On-Demand Pay (early payday) and Stays (for holiday booking directly through the app), as well as credit cards, Pay Later, and Personal Loans in countries such as Ireland.
It’s part of their course of becoming “the world’s first truly global financial super app”.
The company also applied for a UK banking license, and in March 2021, it applied for a bank charter in the US. There haven’t been any updates on them since, just that they are very close to obtaining them.
Revolut’s groundbreaking app lets you make worldwide money transfers, invest in crypto, stocks, and commodities, have travel insurance, exchange money with no hidden fees, and so on.
But it’s much more than that. It’s a modern banking account that traditional banks simply can’t deal with. To compete, they’ve been launching separate digital banks in a bid to attract younger customers too.
Although I still have a traditional bank account that’s tied to my mortgage, I’m using Revolut and other digital banking apps for my everyday banking needs. They’re just more user-friendly.
Revolut Pros & Cons
|Free account available||The best features are in paid accounts|
|Multi-currency accounts||At times poor customer support|
|Instant international money transfers||Some customer accounts are frozen temporarily due to security reasons|
|Connect all your bank accounts||No savings interest rates in most countries|
|Daily discounts and cashback||Features not uniform across countries|
|Great for travelling and sending money abroad|
|Stocks, crypto, and commodities trading|
Revolut has varying degrees of services depending on where you live.
I already mentioned you can get credit cards and loans in Ireland, but not so much elsewhere. You also won’t be able to utilise its investment platform to the fullest in many countries.
The best Revolut features are in paid accounts and mainly in the UK and the US.
That doesn’t mean that users in other countries aren’t getting any value, far from it. Even with a limited offering, the Revolut app is still years ahead of what traditional banks are offering in most countries.
However, Revolut will never be this financial super-app they’re talking about until they get a banking license in the most important territories and start offering credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, and other traditional banking and financial products and services everywhere.
For now, the app is best suited for everyday spending, international travel and money transfers, and some basic investing. And that’s okay, as this is where it shines.
How to Open a Revolut Account?
It’s incredibly easy to open a Revolut account, just like most digital banks these days.
Simply download the Revolut app on your phone and enjoy a straightforward account opening process.
In the US, there are no credit checks, and the same is true in other countries where this isn’t common in the first place.
When you open an account, you don’t get a physical debit card by default.
Frankly, you don’t need one because Revolut offers single and multi-use virtual cards that you can add to a digital wallet.
A physical card is customizable and free, although you will have to pay a delivery fee in some countries if you have a free account.
As you might expect from a digital bank, the Revolut mobile app is well-designed, the sections are clear and straightforward, and I had no issue finding quickly what I needed when I needed.
|Standard (Free)||Plus (£/€2.99/m)||Premium (£6.99/€7.99/$9.99m)||Metal (£12.99/€13.99/$16.99/m)|
|No-fee ATM withdrawals up to £/€200/m||No-fee ATM withdrawals up to £/€200/m||No-fee ATM withdrawals up to £/€400/m||No-fee ATM withdrawals up to £/€800/m|
|Weekday no-fee currency exchange up to £/€1,000/m||Weekday no-fee currency exchange up to £/€1,000/m||Unlimited weekday no-fee currency exchange||Unlimited weekday no-fee currency exchange|
|1 Revolut Junior Account||2 Revolut Junior Account||2 Revolut Junior Account||5 Revolut Junior Account|
|Crypto exchange markup of 1.99%||Crypto exchange markup of 1.99%||Crypto exchange markup of 1.49%||Crypto exchange markup of 1.49%|
|Commodities exchange markup 1.5%||Commodities exchange markup 1.5%||Commodities exchange markup 0.5%||Commodities exchange markup 0.5%|
|Daily interest on GBP, EUR savings||Daily interest on GBP, EUR, USD savings||Daily interest on GBP, EUR, USD savings||Daily interest on GBP EUR, USD savings|
|Up to £/€1,000/y purchase protection||Up to £/€2,500/y purchase protection||Up to £/€10,000/y purchase protection|
|Ticket and Returns protection||Ticket and Returns protection||Ticket and Returns protection|
|Customizable card||Customizable card||Customizable card|
|Overseas medical insurance||Overseas medical insurance|
|Exclusive Metal card|
There are three or four personal accounts, and three to four company and freelancer business accounts, depending on your country of residence.
As you can see, the free accounts have almost no benefits regarding travel, shopping, and insurance. They also come with the lowest limits and interest and the highest fees.
However, there’s still commission-free stock trading, as well as fee-free ATM withdrawals up to £/€200/m (no limits in the US).
All accounts also have access to Vaults and Pockets, under 18 account(s), trading and investing, donations, gifting, hotel booking, etc.
Do I recommend upgrading to a Premium or Metal account? I do. The insurance and protection packages are worth it, in my opinion.
However, make sure you are familiar with their T&Cs, so you know exactly what your rights and responsibilities are.
I used Revolut extensively to transfer money locally and internationally using different methods.
You can send money to an existing contact in your phone book or create a new beneficiary.
The easiest way is to send funds to other Revolut users that can live anywhere in the world. This is free and instant, and you get a fair foreign exchange rate.
Apart from that, you can send money to a bank account or card, as well as a payment link in a few taps. I also used the app to make split payments with my friends for restaurant bills and even trips.
The app uses the actual exchange rate, so you’ll know upfront how much you’ll be paying for the transfer.
There’s a notable absence of hidden fees. Unlike some other money transfer services, what you see is what you pay and get.
The Everyday Protection package is available in most countries, as far as I know.
With it, you get the following:
- Theft and accident coverage
- Ticket and event coverage
- Refund protection
- Purchase protection
These do tend to vary from country to country, as do the annual limits. But overall, it’s more or less the same.
Purchase Protection, for instance, is theft and accident insurance coverage on stuff you bought using Revolut.
These must be bought new for personal use in the last 365 days after the policy started. It covers accidental damage and theft.
I made a claim through the app for my smartphone that got damaged. I had to send photos of it as well as the receipt of purchase as well as receipts of it being fixed.
With some back and forth, everything went well in the end.
The Everyday Protection package isn’t available on the free plan.
All paid plans offer this with various limits, depending on the country you live in. In the US and the EU, for example, there are no differences between the paid plans.
Travel Savings and Protection
Premium and Metal plans offer even more protection. These are intended for (frequent) travellers.
International spending with the account and card comes as default on all plans. You don’t have to enable it or anything. It works out of the box.
When you’re travelling out of the country, you will be protected by medical insurance, delayed baggage and flight insurance, winter sports cover, free and discounted lounge access for you and your friends (1-3 friends), and car hire excess.
In the UK, you also get personal liability insurance for up to £1 million per year, but only on the Metal plan.
As with any insurance, you have to familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities so you don’t get disappointed. It’s easy to blame Revolut and their insurance partners if you don’t get compensated (although they aren’t completely innocent, too), if you haven’t spent a second of your time reading the T&Cs.
I argue that it’s not the cool personalised debit cards that will sway you into paying for a Revolut account but whether you need these insurance coverages or not. I.e., if you’re a frequent traveller or not.
Revolut offers several ways to invest your money. Let’s start with crypto.
Although I’m not a big crypto guy, I did use Binance and Coinbase to buy cryptocurrency since 2017.
I discovered that Revolut is no different. It does have far fewer tokens, but, to be honest, 99%+ of the tens of thousands of tokens are bs anyway.
You can invest in around 100 cryptocurrencies that range from the well-known Ethereum, Bitcoin, Ripple, and Cardano to some that I’ve never heard of, such as Loopring (LRC) and the Graph (GRT).
You can get alerted when crypto hits your desired price, read the latest market news, send your crypto to others, stake them, pay in crypto with your card, and withdraw when you want.
Although I prefer investing in ETFs, I did tinker with stocks on Revolut. It’s just so accessible that it’s almost irresistible.
You can invest in fractional shares for as little as $1 + fees. With more than 1,500 companies available, it’s easy to find the ones you are looking for.
Although the wording on the Revolut website says it’s commission-free trading, it’s only commission-free if the trades are inside the monthly allowance of:
- 1 free trade for Standard plans
- 3 free trades for Plus plans
- 5 Free trades for Premium plans
- 10 for Metal plans
Outside of those, Revolut does charge a commission and many countries also impose minimum fees per trade. There are also custody, FX, and regulatory fees.
Still, if you’re only investing occasionally, these shouldn’t bother you that much.
Commodities trading has been available in Revolut since early 2020. You don’t outright buy the metals (Gold (XAU), Silver (XAG), Platinum (XPT) and Palladium (XPD)). You only get exposure to them. Which is common practice.
You can use these precious metals just like crypto, with almost all Revolut features such as cashback, Vaults, spare change round-up, send to friends, and make Stop and Limit Orders, for example.
I haven’t tried anything related to commodities, to be honest, but if you want to dip your toe into this aspect of investing, it’s there, waiting for you.
I had to emphasise the Donations feature as I just love it too much.
Revolut has partnered with dozens of local and global charities. They get a 100% of your donation, and Revolut doesn’t charge any fees.
You can give a single donation, set up recurring donations, or even round up your spare change (with a multiplier) to the charity of your choice.
I’ve enabled the last option, but be warned that this way, you can’t have spare change going into your Vaults, for example, for obvious reasons.
Still, it’s worth it.
Revolut Junior Account
If you have kids, you’ll be happy to know that all Revolut accounts have Junior accounts available and ready to go. With the free account, you can have 1 Junior account, with Pro and Premium 2, and with Metal up to 5.
You can order prepaid cards for your kids from your Revolut app and download a dedicated Revolut Junior app for them if you wish so.
It’s a modern way to give your kids their allowance and teach them how banking, saving, budgeting, and even analytics work.
My kid is still way too young for this, but as soon as he gets to the appropriate age, I’ll get him a Junior account.
Revolut lets you organise and save money with Pockets, Vaults, and Savings Vaults.
Savings Vaults are obviously the most interesting as you earn interest, but you can still easily deposit and withdraw money whenever you want to, which can be a good and a bad thing.
The interest is higher or lower depending on your account type and where you live.
And while you can fund regular Vaults with crypto and commodities, you can fund your Savings Vault by making a one-off payment, rounding up your spare change, or setting up recurring transfers.
Then there’s Revolut Business. It offers some great features to help entrepreneurs stay on top of their finances.
It’s easy to register for multi-currency accounts that enable you to hold and send money in 28 currencies. You’ll be, at the same time, exchanging money at the cheaper interbank rate.
Not only can you have multiple Revolut Business accounts, but you can merge them under one login as well while still keeping your businesses separate.
You can also create an unlimited number of accounts for each team member or each office or client, for example.
Setting spending limits and controlling payments and transfers made by your team members is also a breeze.
Revolut extends top-notch security features from Personal to Business accounts, too. These enable you to freeze and unfreeze cards, limit contactless, online, and swipe payments, as well as ATM withdrawals.
Revolut has three or four company accounts, depending on the country, and three freelancer accounts. They all range from free to custom monthly membership.
Remember to check your local Revolut website for a complete breakdown of all features that are available in your locale.
Revolut Vs. Competiton
With so many digital banking apps, why would you choose Revolut in the first place?
I say you download the app and try it for free. You just need to transfer some cash onto the account or ask someone else to send it to you.
On the other hand, there are many great alternatives to Revolut. Some of them I’ve tried and tested for this website, and basically, you wouldn’t go wrong if you chose any of the following.
Revolut Vs. Monzo
Monzo and Revolut have two major differences – Monzo is already registered as a bank in the UK and isn’t spreading that much outside of the UK (it’s present in the US).
Because it’s already a bank, it can offer banking products like loans and overdrafts. Your deposits are also insured by the government for up to £85,000. Read more in my Revolut vs Monzo comparison.
Revolut Vs. Starling
Starling is an award-winning digital bank you probably heard of. I love Starling and the fact that it has only one type of personal account. And it’s free.
Granted, it might not have all the fancy things Revolut has, but it’s a fabulous offering and one of the best, if not the best, bank account in the UK, period. Read more in my Starling vs Revolut comparison.
Revolut Vs. Wise
I recently revisited Wise and made an exhaustive review of the app and its many benefits. It’s free and is similar to Revolut in many regards, but yet again, it doesn’t have as many features. Read more in my Wise vs Revolut comparison.
As I’ve said in my Wise review recently, there are people that are getting their accounts suspended out of the blue.
It’s not a small number of people, too. Other experts and I agree that it’s probably due to the tough anti-money laundering regulations the company has to abide by.
Unfortunately, even people who have done nothing wrong can end up with their accounts suspended, and fixing these kinds of issues is very slow in some cases as well.
Is my Money Safe With Revolut?
The funds you keep in your Revolut account are safe and sound. This is good to know in light of recent happenings in the banking sector across the world.
However, whether your deposits are insured depends on whether you’re signed up with Revolut EMI, UAB, or LTD.
In the United States, your deposits are held at the Metropolitan Commercial Bank and are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000.
Although Revolut is still not a full-fledged bank in a lot of countries, including its home base in the UK, they do safeguard your money in separate accounts in respected big banks. This is a requirement for e-money institutions, and Revolut is bound by these rules.
Safeguarding protects you because if Revolut gets insolvent, the money in these accounts will be returned to you and other customers. Revolut also isn’t speculating with it as traditional banks are.
To check which Revolut entity you are registered with, open the Revolut app and look at the bottom of the Settings page.
So, do I recommend Revolut or not? I have to say, based on my experience of using it at home and abroad, traveling to numerous countries, and sending (and receiving) money to friends and family across borders, that I do.
It’s definitely in my top three digital banking and finance apps, and it’s only getting better, year after year.