Is Revolut safe

Revolut: pros and cons of the bank scare

Revolut is basically a prepaid credit card, which is also known as a current and currency account. It also has some nice advantages when traveling. Among other things, you can withdraw up to € 200 / ₤ 200 in cash (with a maximum of 5 withdrawals) per month, there is no foreign transaction fee for payments in foreign currencies and you can set up currency accounts and exchange currencies without fees.

Just like N26, Revolut is considered a bank scare. Instead of branches and personal advice, the startups rely entirely on an app for your smartphone. Instead of making an appointment with your bank advisor about every little thing, you do everything via the app.

Revolut is a British startup. Just like N26, it started without its own banking license and is currently trying to get its own license in Latvia. Revolut focused on internationalization very early on and is active in many countries, including outside of Europe and North America.

Revolut has revised the fees, these are kicking in from April 23, 2021 in force. Among other things, there is now a limit of 5x free cash withdrawals (the limit of € 200 / ₤ 200 remains in place). Thereafter, 2% is due with a minimum fee of € 1. International transfers now also cost between € 0.3 and € 5, depending on the amount and where you are transferring. A free international transfer is no longer included. Furthermore, the shipping costs for the card shipping will change. Shipping rates will be published on April 23rd and will be displayed in the app.

First of all: Revolut is so far not a perfect replacement for a German current account, but the ambitions are remarkable. It has recently become possible to obtain a Maestro card and SEPA direct debits are now also possible. However, only with a British or Lithuanian IBAN, which often leads to problems for German retailers.

advantages

The advantages of Revolut are very generous and in some cases even unique in their constellation:

  • No annual fee: Revolut does not charge an annual fee. Regardless of whether you use the card or not, you don't have to reckon with any running costs. There is also a premium version for € 82 per year or € 7.99 per month. However, the advantages of this are limited and there is no compulsion to do so.
  • Shipping costs for card only: The use of Revolut is basically free of charge, but shipping costs of € 5.99 are due for a physical card.
  • Withdraw cash free of charge: You can withdraw cash up to 5 times per calendar month at any ATM that accepts Mastercard, free of charge through Revolut. You can withdraw a maximum of € 200 / ₤ 200 per month. If you withdraw more than 5x or more than the exemption, then 2% fees apply. There is also a minimum fee of € 1.
  • 0% foreign transaction fee: Do you pay with your Revolut Mastercard in a foreign currency, e.g. There are no fees for this, for example in US dollars or pounds. With other credit cards, 1-2% are due quickly, which can be expensive if you travel a lot in non-EU countries.
  • Checking account functions: Revolut tries hard not only to advertise itself as a prepaid credit card, but also as a full-fledged checking account replacement. You can carry out transfers and standing orders in the classic way and also get a (British!) IBAN and BIC. So you can simply transfer something from your German account to the Revolut. For SWIFT transfers to non-EU countries, the sender must also provide a reference number so that the payment can be assigned to you.
  • Accounts in 25 currencies: You can manage your Revolut account in several currencies at the same time, e.g. B. Euros, US Dollars, British Pounds, Swiss Francs, Canadian Dollars and so on. A total of up to 25 currencies are possible. If you have credit in a certain currency and pay with the card, the credit in the corresponding currency will be debited first.
  • Exchange currencies: According to its own statement, Revolut exchanges currencies up to € 1,000 / 1.000 1,000 per calendar month free of charge (after that 0.5%) and lets you transfer them to you free of charge. Revolut is said to be even cheaper than services like Wise (formerly TransferWise). As with Wise, the exchange does not take place directly, but can take up to two days.
  • Maestro card can be ordered: It has recently been possible to order a Maestro card (debit card, better acceptance in Germany than credit cards) as a standard card. For a one-time fee of € 6.99 + € 5.99 shipping costs, you can also get the Maestro card in addition to the Visa. It's a shame that you can't get both cards for free - but the one-time fee is a good compromise.
  • Additional physical and virtual cards: Most of the time you only get one card from a bank. It's different with Revolut. Here you can have multiple cards, physical or virtual, issued to you. However, the fun isn't always free. An additional physical card costs € 5.99 + € 5.99 shipping costs. An additional virtual card to the physical card is available free of charge. Additional virtual cards also cost € 5.99 - but of course no shipping costs.
  • No Schufa query / entry: Since Revolut is a British startup and Revolut does not offer you a credit limit (= no risk for Revolut), there is no query at Schufa when opening an account. But that may change in the future, e.g. B. if Revolut should offer a credit limit.
  • Easy verification: Anyone who is annoyed by Post or even Video Identity will be happy with Revolut. For verification, it is sufficient to upload a picture of the front and back of your ID card as well as a selfie of you in the app. The account is then usually activated within a few minutes. However, it is questionable whether this is really sufficient in Germany. Otherwise Revolut will definitely come back to you again. Use completely without verification is no longer possible.
  • Pay contactless: The Revolut Visa Card is equipped with NFC, which means you can conveniently pay contactless and amounts up to € 25 without entering a PIN.
  • Google Pay: You can save your Mastercard or Maestro in Google Pay on your Android smartphone and pay conveniently with your smartphone.
  • Apple Pay: Since the end of May, Revolut has also supported Apple Pay and thus payments with the iPhone without the physical card!

Apply for an account & card

Normally, Revolut gives you the one-time fee for the 1st card, but you have to pay € 5.99 shipping costs to Germany. For that you have to open here To the deal click and then enter your mobile phone number on the landing page:

You will then receive an SMS with the download link for the app:

Download the app, register (important: use the same mobile phone number here), go through the verification process and top up your new Revolut account with at least € 10 by credit card or bank transfer. Then (you have to wait 1-2 working days for bank transfers) you can go to in the app cards about the + choose a physical card. Here you have to choose between a Visa or a Maestro card (debit card, with better acceptance in Germany).

The app

Revolut relies entirely on their app for iOS and Android. It is regularly updated with new features:

  • Push notifications: With every transaction you will automatically receive a message on your smartphone via the Revolut app. The notifications are extremely fast and also very reliable. In this way you can react directly to misuse of the card and always have an overview of your incoming and outgoing money.
  • Top up your account: You can currently top up your Revolut account by credit card (Visa / Mastercard and in the local currency without fees!) Or bank transfer. What is missing so far is the charging of the account by direct debit. You can also have your account topped up automatically if the account balance falls below € 50, for example.
  • Show exchange rate: Under More -> Courses you can display the current exchange rate used by Revolut and its history. Also a converter and an alarm, so as not to miss the cheapest possible exchange rate, e.g. B. If you want to send larger amounts of money, these are nice functions.
  • Exchange currencies: In the app you can exchange your credit in any other currency. This works without a fee, but at Revolut's exchange rate.
  • Manage map functions: NFC, withdrawals at ATMs, magnetic strips, online payments can be specifically and individually deactivated
  • Geo-blocking: You can use the app to share your current location with Revolut and protect yourself from possible fraudulent transactions. Everything is optional - not a must.
  • Savings accounts: You can set certain goals and invest them as a valet, similar to a savings account. For example, you can set up a vacation fund in which you can save € 300. Then you can always put some money in the safe yourself or instruct Revolut to round up every payment / transfer and to put the "small change" in the safe. Unfortunately, there is no interest on the savings accounts.
  • Spending limit: You can set your own monthly limit for each card.
  • Set budget: You can set a monthly budget for certain expenditure categories, e.g. B. Food, set. Revolut will inform you when the limit is reached soon.
  • Transfer: You can make SEPA transfers from your Revolut account. Standing orders are also possible.
  • Request payment via link: In the app you can generate a link that you can use to request money from someone. They can then pay the amount you have set by credit card (Mastercard or Visa).
  • Send money via link: At the same time you can also generate a link to send money to a person. They do not need to have a Revolut account, they can simply enter their bank details.
  • Send money to / from Revolut users near me: Another handy feature is the ability to send money to nearby Revolut users. To do this, the function must be activated on both devices and the people must be in the vicinity (is determined via the location function). Especially to z. A very practical feature, for example, is to quickly split a bill in a restaurant.

disadvantage

Every credit card - like every financial product - also has disadvantages. However, think about what demands you actually have on such a card:

  • No credit limit: The credit card is a pure prepaid credit card. You can only dispose of the money that is actually in your Revolut account.
    Car rental companies in particular and to some extent hotels have a problem with it. They often only accept real credit cards to deposit the deposit.
  • Exchange rate will be frozen on the weekend: On Friday 23:59 UTC the exchange rates are frozen at Revolut and to protect against currency fluctuations between 0.5-2.0% are added to the exchange rate, depending on the currency. The exchange rate can be viewed in the app at any time.
  • Problems with direct debits: Because of the British IBAN (starts with GB instead of DE) problems with direct debits may arise. Some merchants do not accept the GB or LT IBAN.
  • No German banking license: In contrast to N26, Revolut does not yet have a German banking license. Revolut has a European banking license for this in Lithuania and has applied for another in Ireland. As a customer, you have to be prepared for the fact that your personal IBAN will change in the future.
  • American Express is not supported: Unfortunately you can only top up Revolut with a Visa or Mastercard (or by bank transfer). American Express is not currently supported.
  • International transfer fees: For all cross-border transfers that are not executed in euros, or transfers outside the SEPA area (SWIFT), fees amounting to 0.3 to 5 € due. The fee depends on how much money is being transferred and where.
  • App compulsion: Almost all functions are only available via the smartphone app. You even need the Revolut app for iOS or Android to open an account. There is now a rudimentary web interface that you can use, for example, to query your credit balance, but you cannot even use it to make transfers.
  • Own exchange rate: Officially, Revolut says they always use the best possible exchange rate. In the case of samples, it is really very close to the reference exchange rates of the European Central Bank. Nevertheless, Revolut has full control and can impose surcharges if necessary. Currently this is done on weekends.
  • No reimbursement of third-party fees: If you withdraw cash in many countries, the machine operator often charges its own fee.
  • Startup: What you should definitely not forget is that Revolut is a startup! Currently there is no fee for most of the services and at the same time over 300 million dollars in capital have flowed into Revolut. At some point, investors want to see profits and that will definitely be very difficult with the current price. It must therefore be assumed that services will be reduced and fees introduced in the future. The best example of this is the German startup N26 (formerly Number26). In the beginning there were almost no fees and now the withdrawal of cash has been restricted and is no longer free without limit.
  • No branches: As an internet bank, of course Revolut does not have any branches. You will definitely lose the usual comfort that the bank advisor knows you personally.

withdraw money

With your Revolut Mastercard you can easily withdraw cash from almost all ATMs worldwide. For this you always need your PIN, which you can find in the app under cardsPIN and securityShow PIN can show you.

But note the limit of free of € 200 and 5 withdrawals per month for the free basic version. Should you exceed one of the two limits, there will be a 2% cash withdrawal fee (and a minimum fee of € 1).

Advantages of the premium variant

Revolut tries to make money with a premium variant. For € 7.99 per month in an annual contract (= € 95.88 per year), or € 82 with annual payment, additional benefits:

  • Withdraw € 400 per month free of charge: The limit for free cash withdrawals per month is doubled. Instead of € 200 / € 200 you can withdraw € 400 / € 400 from the ATM without any fees. Also, there is no limit to the amount of cash you can withdraw.
  • No limit when changing money: Instead of a maximum of € 1,000 / ₤ 1,000 per calendar month, you can exchange unlimited money in other currencies.
  • International travel health insurance: A travel health insurance abroad is included. However, according to British law and with a deductible of 75 ₤ (approx. 85 €) in the event of damage. You can get comparable insurance in Germany from 10 € / year.
  • Free card delivery: Instead of € 5.99 shipping costs, Revolut delivers you a card free of charge within three days worldwide.
  • Virtual one-time card: You can store a virtual one-time card in the app where the card number changes after each payment. Practical if you want to shop at dubious online shops - but also cumbersome to enter a new card number every time.

The question is whether the annual fee is really worth it for these advantages. The free product is already very extensive and many advantages could certainly have been packed into the premium version. Maybe it'll come after all.

Conclusion

Revolut is really a very comprehensive prepaid credit card and it is also free of charge. Especially since there are many features that are unique to Revolut, this makes the product very interesting.

One sticking point, however, is the prepaid credit card. When renting rental cars and sometimes also hotels, real credit cards with a credit limit are expected as security. The prospect that all cards and numbers will have to be swapped because of your own banking license creates a bland aftertaste.

You should also ask yourself the question of whether Revolut can maintain the current standard in the long term or whether compromises will not have to be made at some point in order to make money. However, there is hardly anything that speaks against testing the product now. Personally, however, I would not give up my current account at my bank in Germany for this.

Alternatives

Currency accounts and the extensive app are good arguments for Revolut, but the card is certainly not perfect for everyone.If you are only looking for a good and free card for your trip and that at a bank in Germany, you have the following good alternatives:

  • Barclaycard Visa: The Barclaycard Visa is brand new on the market and is almost the perfect travel credit card: Permanently without annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fee and no fees for cash withdrawals.
  • N26 incl. Mastercard: The startup N26 is pursuing a very similar concept to Revolut. Everything is managed through the app and there are no foreign currency fees. However, N26 has now limited the withdrawal of cash to three withdrawals within Germany.
  • Hanseatic GenialCard: In return for Revolut & N26, the Hanseatic Bank issues the GenialCard, a real credit card with a credit limit. In addition, all foreign and cash withdrawal fees are waived and full payment is possible on request.
  • DKB-Cash incl. Visa: The DKB is one of the pioneers in direct banking. Although you can only get the best conditions as an active customer, changes to the card's services are unlikely in the near future.

Fees & costs

In principle, there are no monthly or annual costs for Revolut in the standard version.

Here is an overview of the most important fees:

annual fee
0.00 € for standard
€ 95.88 for Premium (€ 7.99 per month)
€ 167.88 for Metal (€ 13.99 per month)
Foreign transaction fee
0,00%
Cash Withdrawal Fee
0.00% up to € 200 per month
2.00% but at least € 1 from € 200 per month
Reimbursement of third-party fees
No
Replacement card
5,99 € shipping costs
Replacement PIN
Free

frequently asked Questions

What is Revolut?

Revolut is a fintech start-up founded in 2014 with the goal of offering a digital app-based current account with payment cards across Europe with little or no fees. In addition to the usual functions such as transfers and payments with credit card, Revolut also offers special functions such as currency accounts, currency exchange, Krypo wallets and peer-to-peer payments. An account with Mastercard is basically free of charge with Revolut. A shipping fee is only charged for sending the card. However, premium accounts with additional functions, e.g. insurance, are also offered.

Is Revolut really free?

In principle, there are no costs for registering for Revolut or for the first physical card if you follow our instructions. You only have to top up your Revolut account with € 10 (you can spend it later or post it back to your current account). Then you can order the first card without the usual shipping costs (€ 5.99).
There are no ongoing costs, e.g. an annual fee or account management fees. Even if you only have the card in the drawer. However, the exchange rate is set by Revolut. In theory, a fee can be hidden here.
In addition, Revolut offers additional services in the form of Revolut Premium or Metal for a monthly fee.

What are the disadvantages of Revolut?

You can't compare Revolut with a traditional bank. It starts with the fact that you can only manage the account via the app on the smartphone. There is no online banking.
In addition, Revolut gives you no credit limit. You can only spend what you have in your Revolut account. You will also receive a British IBAN, which may be rejected for direct debit in Germany.
Revolut has its own banking license, but does not (yet) use it. Similar to the competitor N26, the step can be taken in the future that all cards issued must be exchanged and the personal IBAN also changes.
Over the weekend, Revolut always freezes the exchange rate and adds a slight surcharge. More on this in our article under Cons.

Does Apple Pay or Google Pay work with Revolut?

Yes, both payment options are possible with Revolut. You can even add a virtual Revolut card to Apple Pay!

Can I use Revolut in Germany?

Yes, Revolut is available throughout the EU and you can apply for an account with a residence in Germany without any problems.
However, there are some limitations. You will not receive a current account with a German DE-IBAN, but with a Lithuanian LT-IBAN, which may not be accepted by every company for direct debit payments. Even if they had to.
That is why we can only recommend Revolut as the only current account to a limited extent.

Is Revolut registered in the Schufa?

No, Revolut does not make an entry or query the Schufa. However, Revolut does not provide you with a credit limit or overdraft facility, i.e. you cannot overdraw the account.

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John

I founded Travel-Dealz in 2010 and have been writing about the latest travel deals every day. Since I was 17, I've been looking for ways to fly as cheaply as possible. With my knowledge, I try to do exactly the same for you. If you have a question you can always contact me! Just write me an email to: [email protected] Please do not confuse this with a travel agency.

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