Revolut, founded by CEO Nikolay Storonsko and CTO Vlad Yatsenko, is one of the fastest growing FinTech’s to have hit the market. The CEO Nikolay Storonsko has become a familiar face in the FinTech space, not shying away from publicity and doing all he can to drive the growth of Revolut. Prior to founding Revolut Nicolay was a forex trader at Credit Suisse whilst the CTO Vlad Yatsenko had many years experience building payment networks for tier 1 banks.
Of all the new FinTech’s to launch in the last five years it has grown at the most staggering pace of all. In the space of just 4 years Revolut has acquired over 6 million customers (that’s even more than TransferWise) and processed over 350 million transactions for over £40 billion in value. Revolut isn’t just focusing on customer acquisition either, since its formation as purely an international currency card, Revolut has launched a money transfer service as well travel insurance and a bitcoin exchange.
Revolut has had various funding rounds, including some neat crowdfunding initiatives for early adopters and 3 significant investment rounds for private investors raising $336 million. The most recent of which raised $250 million alone and was led by serial tech investors DST Global. There are even reports of a $500 million investment round later in 2019.
Today the company is valued $1.7 billion, one of the highest rated valuations of all the companies we have reviewed on our site.
Despite receiving generally excellent reviews from its customers online, Revolut has received more complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service than any other digital money provider. There are also negative media reports with regard to the conduct of the CEO and Revolut’s AML software. Unsurprisingly with a firm that has grown as rapidly as Revolut has question marks have been raised as to whether the compliance function is adequate for the number of clients it has. The CEO has reportedly approved high risk clients despite insufficient KYC information for onboarding whilst its sanction screening software was reported to have not been operating for three months. Revolut both deny any misconduct from their CEO and that any payments have been processed which did not pass through their AML software. Explaining that the three month period in question saw trades going through a new market leading compliance platform as well as its original compliance software.
As the old adage says there’s often no smoke without fire and it’s not incomprehensible that Revolut grew beyond its means too quickly. And invariably its compliance function was probably the last to receive investment. Importantly, since the accusations have been made, Revolut has made a series of senior level hires within its compliance function including a new director of financial crime, Philip Doyle.
Revolut did secure a Specialised Bank license from the European Central Bank, which was facilitated by the Bank of Lithuania. It doesn’t hold a full-range bank licence, which would then allow it to provide investment services. It also holds an Electronic Money Institution license by the Bank of Lithuania.
Revolut is one of the most well known startups to enter the finance market of recent years. Its trusted by literally millions of people to handle their international transactions abroad through the Mastercard/Visa network. What we aren’t able to see through our research online is how many users are actually using Revolut for money transfer too, although we expect this to be much less than its reported 6 million total users.
Revolut has faced question marks over its AML practices as well as receiving more complaints to OFCOM than any other FinTech. We must not forget Revolut have significantly more clients than any other FinTech so there’s a natural increase but it’s still not a crown you want to have.
The company appears to get much of its revenue from the Premium and Metal plans, which included benefits of larger limits and cosmetically improved debit cards. Being a subscription-based service means they get high amounts of reliable monthly revenue, but is entirely voluntary, as this has allowed them to keep extremely competitive rates elsewhere for free. The company found themselves in a PR mess in 2019 when they were exposed by an employee whistle blower, showing the company to have poor working practices such as unpaid work and unfair hours.
“Despite the negative press covfefe”, said the U.S president on Twitter on May 31 of 2018. We are not entirely sure what that means, but we put negative press – especially if came as a result of client complaints – as a majorly negative factor in ranking of money transfer companies. The best money transfer companies have normally pristine reputation throughout their many years of their operation. aaaa
Incredibly slow customer service by the in app chat functionality
Fraud refund process is not smooth and dependent on the Visa & MasterCard refund scheme
Issues with blocked accounts
Overall, Revolut reviews from across the internet are very positive. It has a significant number of Trustpilot reviews but being an app-based product it has hundreds of thousands positive reviews across the app store and google play. There are a lot of reviews from users who have encountered issues with blocked accounts but it looks as if these are under a compliance review to check the safety and security of each users account.
Optional Monthly Fees to Upgrade your Standard Revolut Account:
£7.99 / m
£12.99 / m
Cross-currency exchange transactions are entirely free with Revolut, providing some criteria. It must be less than £5,000 (or equivalent) and it will be standard transactions, which may roll over to the next business day. If you want a faster transaction, you can pay an additional fee for a Turbo transfer – unless you have a premium account plan.
Premium accounts are €7.99/m, whilst Metal goes up to €13.99/m.
Withdrawing money from an ATM in a foreign country with a different currency is free regardless of plan (including the free Standard plan). After the limits have been exceeded (see below), a 2% fair usage fee applies.
Real-time, interbank exchange rates. There is no margin they take or cut, assuming it is on a weekday when the markets are open. If not, they take a 0.5% markup. However, this fee isn’t always crystal clear and some customers claim the markup is between 0.5% and 1%.
The reality is, the markup (on weekends) is 0.5% for major currencies and 1% for other currencies, for hedging reasons. There is a 1.5% markup on weekends for illiquid currencies such as Thai Baht and Russian Ruble.
Cash withdrawals from ATMs are capped at £3,000 or currency equivalent per a 24-hour window.
The caps in per each single transaction is £200, £400 and £600 for those on a Standard, Premium and Metal plan.
When making a transfer domestically in the UK, there are daily and weekly limits. The transfer limit is £80,000, the daily limit is £100,000 and the weekly limit is £250,000. You can’t make over 15 transactions per 24 hours, and a weekly cap of 80 transfers is also applied. Business accounts have a transfer limit of £250,000 and a weekly limit of £500,000 (domestic transfers).
The limit for cross-currency transfers is much less. The monthly limit is £5,000 for all plans.
If you’re using the app within UK banking hours the rates are simply some of the best you can find anywhere as the interbank exchange rate is applied. It’s particularly beneficial for users trading small volumes who would normally not be able to receive this rate.
Users should be careful when looking to purchase more exotic currencies or use the app outside of UK banking hours as not so transparent fees are added.
Global Reach & Service
Dedicated Dealer: None
Offices: Global – Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, UK, US
Ways to approach: In App Chat
Translations: App available in an impressive 24 languages, Customer Support in just English and Polish but with plans to launch in various other languages later in 2019
Accepts clients: UK & Australian only
Currencies Handled: 29 via Bank Transfer, 140 with Currency Card
Client reviews: 8.9/10 TrustPilot
Revolut has offices in an astonishing number of countries, in fact probably more than any other FinTech.
Disappointingly though Revolut are not making the most of their physical presence in these countries as users are only accepted in the UK, EEA and Australia for now. With a launch in the US expected soon.
Revolut’s service is inapt for people or businesses who desire to move substantial amounts of money over seas.
Manage account balances through a digital bank account in GBP, EUR, USD. Additional functionality for businesses and more accounts available.
Transfers to cryptocurrency exchange – this is one of only two money transfer companies we know facilitating this.
Apple Pay – quick tap functionality with your iPhone once you register your Revolut Account
Mobile Phone & Overseas Medical Insurance – Provided with partners and as part of monthly fee subscriptions.
Revolut is trying to cover all bases for expats or travelers who are on the move. As well as their core currency card offering, Revolut users can send bank-to-bank transfers, activate travel insurance and even trade crypto.
Credibility Score - 50%
Client Feedback - 70%
Fees, Exchange Rates - 96%
Global Reach, Availability, Service - 70%
Added Values - 94%
Revolut is a huge FinTech with over 6 million registered users. The rate at which it has grown is truly unbelievable.
Revolut is not in the mould of your standard money transfer company and whom we regularly review so users with payment requirements over £50k will encounter difficulties. Not only is there a single transfer limit but also daily and weekly limits. Even if higher bank-to-bank transfers were available, the lack of dealer guidance would make this even less of an option for high value currency transfers such as property purchases.
Additionally, the concerns that were raised about the founder’s conduct and the wrong type of press it attracted, in combination with the young age of the company, makes us trust them less with our money as would a competing money transfer company like Currencies Direct which has kept out of scandals for it’s 20+ years of operation.
As such we are not recommending Revolut in our Top Recommended Money Transfer Providers List but have to appreciate what an incredible job Revolut have done in the digital banking and international currency card space.