Revolut Review: A Revolutionary Way to Save, Spend & Invest?

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Revolut say their global mission is for every person and business to do all things money — spending, saving, investing, borrowing, managing, and more — in just a few taps.

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Alternatives

Bank AccountSwitching Offer
Halifax£60 reward, 15% cashback & 0% overdraft interest
Santander1-3% cashback on bills from Santander
Chase Bank1% cashback for a year with Chase saver account
Monzo£5 when you refer a friend to Monzo
Monese€15 for every friend you refer to Monese
Curve£15 + 1% cashback when you open an account with Curve
Revolut£10 top-up offer plus a month of Revolut premium free
Barclays25,000 Avios when you switch to Barclays
Nationwide FlexDirect£200 reward, up to 8% interest on regular savings & 0% interest on overdraft of up to £1,500
First Direct 1st Account£175 reward, up to 7% interest on regular savings, no fees when abroad
Lloyds Bank£175 reward, up to 6.25% interest on regular savings, free gift (e.g. six cinema tickets)
TSB Spend & Save£150 reward, £10 per month cashback for six months
Co-Op Bank£125 referral reward to you and a friend if an existing customer of Co-Op Bank refers a new customer
Starling BankNo switching offer

Revolut Expert Review

In this review we:

  • Give our ratings based on their nearest peers
  • Tell you what we think of them after testing them with real money 
  • Highlight the key costs, facts and figures of their accounts
Revolut Review
Revolut

Name: Revolut

Description: Revolut is a start-up neo bank that also offers investing and currency exchange accounts. You can invest in 1,500 global companies from $1, commodities and cryptocurrency and send money abroad at discounted exchange rates. Revolut claims to have 25 million customers around the world.

Why we like it

Revolut is a good choice for investors that want to buy and sell major shares and cryptocurrencies. No funds, or smaller cap stocks, but a good entry-level account for most investors.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Low cost
  • Innovative product

Cons

  • New company
  • Limited Range of investments
  • App only
  • Pricing
    (5)
  • Market Access
    (4)
  • Online Platform
    (5)
  • Customer Service
    (4)
  • Research & Analysis
    (4)
Overall
4.4

Is Revolut safe?

One of the most commonly asked questions about new banks and fintech is if they are a safe place to keep your money. The answer is generally, yes, if they are regulated by the FCA as funds are protected by the FSCS up to £85,000. But, Revolut, is regulated as an e-money institution and not as a bank so you do not get the FSCS protection.

No FSCS

Revolut says that if they were to go bust, client funds would be paid out of a “safeguarding” account which is a type of ringfenced account where client funds are held.  When funds are in this type of account Revolut cannot (in theory at least) lend them out or use them to run the business. This is how banks traditionally made money, they pay you a smaller amount of interest than they receive on the money they lend out and make a profit from the difference (among other things).

However, there is more to consider than just the safety of your money on deposit. After all Revolut is a new bank aimed at banking first-timers where deposit are likely to be smaller than at traditional high street banks.

Funds may well be ringfenced, but new banks and fintech are much higher risk places to out your money that traditional highstreet banks.  The main reason being is that they generally run at a loss in an effort to grow quickly and secure more customers. Plus you have no visibility over how they are performing apart from sporadic updates. The major high street banks like Barclays and Natwest are all public companies so you can see via their share prices how well they are doing. New fintechs like Revolut have a habit of burning through money and raising funds through crowdfunding and VCs. But what happens when the money runs out? They have no profits to keep them afloat.

Revolut Versus Starling

I personally have bank accounts with Natwest and Starling Bank. I interviewed Ann Boden a few years and an I think she has a great ethos and some excellent ambitions.

Ann Boden also said at a recent Money 20/20 conference that they like to focus more on stopping scammers and protecting their customers money as opposed to promoting crypto. Which Revolut does do. Regardless of what you think about crypto, Revolut is giving its customers what they want. But just because people want to do something is it actually good for them? It just makes Revolut more of a high-risk business than those that don’t offer it. It even said last year when they announced their results that despite generating £221m in revenue, losses of £122m, an increase of £98m from the previous year.

But even with Starling, I wouldn’t keep more that what was protected by the FSCS in the account, I’d spread that out among larger more established banks.

Money Transfers

For small money transfers, Revolut is safe enough, but as with all currency conversions if you are sending over £10,000 abroad you should be using a currency broker. You’ll get much better rates, more control over when you buy and sell, help with all the AML (anti-money laundering) issues that may come up, and the ability to lock in the currency exchange rate for up to a year in advance (if you think it will move against you).

Is Revolut good for cryptocurrency?

Yes, you can buy, sell, and send over 20 digital currencies at the touch of a button, with no hidden fees. But, Revolut’s cryptocurrency service is not regulated by the FCA, other than for the purposes of money laundering and you capital at risk.

Revolute is a good choice for cyprto if you are just dabbling in cryptocurrency and don’t need anything too complicated.

The 1.99% crypto commission for base accounts is quite high, but crypto fees are reduced to 1.5% for Metal and Platinum account holders.

Revolut Versuse eToro & Coinbase For Crypto

Compared to Coinbase and eToro, Revolut offers more mainstream cryptocurrencies and the least overall, and fees are in the middle. Revolut is far cheaper than Coinbase, but more expensive than eToro.

Cryptocurrency PlatformNumber of CryptocurrenciesCosts & FeesMinimum DepositGMG RatingMore Info
Coinbase Cryptocurrency1503.5%$50
(4)
See Offer
Capital at risk
Revolut Cryptocurrency301.99%$50
(3.7)
See Offer
Capital at risk
eToro Cryptocurrency1201%From $50
(3.7)
See Offer
Capital at risk

Revolut Ultra Review, a platinum-plated membership for £540 a year

Ultra is Revolut’s exclusive top-tier membership category which sits above the firm’s existing premium memberships. Would-be super-app Revolut has added a new membership tier to its services with the introduction of Ultra, a platinum card and account designed to spearhead a refined luxury lifestyle.

Revolut says the Ultra account is aimed at ambitious explorers who are interested in a luxury lifestyle, which Revolut sees as an important and growing consumer segment. The Ultra account concept was unveiled by Revolut last year, and potential customers in the UK and Europe added their names to the waiting list.

In fact, Revolut has had more than 430,000 expressions of interest in the new account from within Europe, 88,000 of which, hailed from the UK. The wait is now over as the new high-end account has gone live.

Revolut Ultra benefits

Ultra account holders will receive numerous benefits, including 5% cash back on purchases made within the first month of account opening.

Access to up-scale travel lounges in more than 1400 airports, across the globe, and “any cause” cancellation insurance should travel plans go awry.

Alongside cashback of up to 10% from hotel bookings and expenditures, made via Revolut’s own booking service, Revolut Stays.

There are also unlimited currency conversions and money transfers, backed up by a 24/7 member support and call-back service, alongside access to a host of subscription services provided by Revolut’s partners which include the FT, WeWork, Nord VPN and ClassPass.

Ultra members will also get reduced crypto trading fees as well as annual interest paid on daily savings held in GBP or US dollars.

Revolut values the Ultra account’s annual benefits package at an impressive £4100.

Is the cost of Revolut Ultra worth it?

Revolut Ultra will cost UK members £540.00 per annum or £55.00 per month.

Speaking about the launch of the Ultra account Tara Massoudi, Revolut’s General Manager of Premium Products, said:

“An increasing number of our customers are interested in travel, lifestyle & investment products that offer top-of-the-line experiences. This growing consumer market is redefining luxury, making it more functional and present in day-to-day life. They want to build a steady passive income, but also enjoy life, keep up to date with the latest trends and travel the world.”

She added:

“In response to our customer’s demands, we’re launching this new bespoke membership that we envision as the ultimate travelling and lifestyle companion”

Everyone likes to be made to feel special even if they pay for the privilege.

This new high-end membership option will likely appeal to aspiring globetrotters and digital nomads alike.

How Revolut must wish they could offer full-service banking alongside it.

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