Traditional international bank transfers are costly, but thanks to digital challenger banks like Revolut, customers have been able to take control of these costs. The goal for Revolut is to enable customers to manage all their finances using a single app and one of the defining characteristics of the brand is convenience. In this review, we will take a closer look at whether the same convenient banking functions are carried across to Revolut’s international money transfer services.
The Revolut blueprint was a prepaid money card provided by Mastercard and “designed for a global lifestyle.” Since first entering the market in 2015, Revolut has expanded their offerings and now host a range of products including virtual bank accounts and various tiers of membership to suit personal and business needs. The company has spoken openly about its desire to build “the world’s first truly global financial superapp” for their customer base of over 15 million.
Revolut is a UK-based company which is authorised to handle money and currency exchanges, but unlike fellow challenger bank, Monzo, cannot offer financial services such as overdrafts or loans. Although commonly referred to as a challenger bank, Revolut is technically an electronic money institution which safeguards all funds using tier one UK bank security, overseen by e-money regulations. Revolut is not covered by FSCS but is considered a secure institution, having acquired a European Banking License in 2018.
We will be taking a closer look at Revolut’s international money transfer services, reviewing the various aspects which set it apart from its banking incumbents.
Due to the tier system of Revolut memberships, when sending funds internationally different transfer fees and exchange rates apply to personal and business users. The total cost of your money transfer is determined by your membership plan, the day and time, the currency and country. However, although different prices apply to different customers, the overall cost of any Revolut transfer is substantially lower than traditional banks.
If you send your money transfer when the market is open, Monday – Friday, Revolut will match the exact mid-market rate, adding a maximum markup of 0.5%. The strongest exchange rates provided by Revolut are for smaller transfers sent in standard currencies including USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF, JPY, SEK, HKD, NOK, SGD, DKK, PLN and CZK. During weekends, or when requesting exotic currencies, Revolut applies a markup of 1%.
We would recommend initiating your international money transfer with Revolut as soon as you receive the most competitive exchange rate, as the value of your currency pairing will fluctuate during market hours and may have changed when you go to initiate your exchange. Exchange rates are displayed on the Revolut app and we always suggest reviewing the total cost, ahead of paying for any transfers.
As with the exchange rate, the transfer fee structure of Revolut differs between personal and business accounts and is determined by currency and country. As previously mentioned, more remote, exotic regions and currencies incur higher charges.
Revolut strives to guarantee zero hidden costs and low-transfer fees; below is a list of the types of fees customers can expect:
Revolut provides free money transfers to bank accounts in over 150 countries, which is enticing, but this offer comes with its own terms and conditions as outlined in the previous section. In regards to international money transfer fees: as long as remittances are arranged during the week, sent in a standard currency and smaller than £1,000 (or equivalent) Revolut will match the mid-market rate, along with competitive transfer fees. All costs are clearly displayed in the app, ensuring total transparency.
The costs may be similar to specialist money transfer providers, but companies such as WorldRemit, Wise, XE, Currencyfair, Key Currency, Instarem and TorFX have more experience sending money to remote parts of the world, and are therefore able to offer better deals for exotic currencies.
We have compiled a list of the pros and cons associated with Revolut’s international money transfers, making it easier for you to compare the services to other providers:ProsRevolut account holders can hold and manage 30 currencies, with over 150 destination countries supportedFees are calculated in real time and displayed in the app before payment is made. Transfer fees will differ but maximum fees are cappedInternational bank transfers within SEPA zone are freeFree ATM withdrawal limit of £200 per monthConsAdditional costs for sending international money transfers to remote countries and currencies, as well as during weekends and bank holidaysCustomer service is only available via in-app chat and community forum; no support via phone
In this section we will review the finer details of Revolut accounts, outlining commonly asked questions surrounding international money services.
Personal accounts are currently available to individuals from the 31 countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), as well as Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and the United States.
Revolut Business is currently available to business owners registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
Yes, Revolut has a mobile app that is free to download from the Google Play or App Store. The app is considered easy to navigate and user-friendly, having been rated 4.9/5 stars in the App Store and 4.6/5 stars in Google Play Store.
There are some transfer limits for Revolut account holders and additional charges apply to larger, more frequent transfers. It is worth considering the following:
As a UK based company, Revolut transfers money between UK accounts instantly. For payments made elsewhere, the average delivery time ranges between 1 – 2 business days for domestic transfers and 2 – 5 days for international transfers. Additional delivery speeds are available to customers on certain monthly memberships plans.
Revolut customer support is available via the in-app support chat, “Ask Our Community” forum, Help Centre or Blog. As an online-only entity Revolut does not offer customer service via phone.
Revolut was originally designed to be “a better way to handle your money” and this includes overseas spending. Once you have set up your Revolut account, you will be able to hold and exchange 30 currencies which can be spent and sent to more than 150 countries. Frequent travellers interested in opening an account, can find out more about different Revolut accounts here.
In this section we will outline how to open a Revolut account – using the app – and how to send money overseas.
It is free to open a Revolut account and your physical bank card can be delivered direct to your front door. Most customers start out with a standard account, which is a free account, assuming you don’t go over the limits. To set up an account with Revolut, you will need to download the app from the Google Play Store or App Store.
Step 1: Open the app, select your country and enter your phone number. To confirm your account you will receive a 6 digit verification code via text, so do not skip this step.
Step 2: Once you have verified your contact number, you will be asked to enter a 4 digit security passcode, as well as your first and last name, date of birth and home address.
Step 3: At this point you will be asked if you’d like to Top Up Your Account, adding funds to your Revolut balance. You can select Not Now if you would like to complete this step later.
Step 4: Now you must verify identity by reviewing your personal information and providing the relevant documentation for your country. This can be done by taking a photo of the relevant document. For instance, British users will be asked to submit a photo of their passport, drivers license or identity card.
Step 5: Take a selfie using your phone camera and once this has been submitted, Revolut presents confirmation that your documents and personal information will be reviewed within 10 minutes. Some users have noted that this process typically takes up to 24 hours to be completed.
Step 6: Once your account has been activated you will be able to make your first money transfer.
Step 1: Tap the Payments button at the bottom of the screen, and select Transfer
Step 2: You will be asked to select the Transfer type from Friends – you will be able to scroll through your list of contacts – or Bank Accounts. The Bank Accounts option will require you to enter the banking details of your recipient, by tapping Add Beneficiary
Step 3: At this stage you will be asked the recipient’s country and currency, first and last name, IBAN and email address. You will be able to review the details of your recipient before the next step.
Step 4: Enter the size of the transfer you wish to send to your recipient, along with a Reference note. Before sending you are given the option to schedule the transfer – by tapping the Calendar option – or you can send instantly by clicking Send.SWIFT Transfer Charges
Customers please note: if the recipient’s bank is located outside of the EU, your transfer will be sent via the SWIFT network which may result in international wire transfer fees.
We would recommend Revolut to frequent travellers who are based in Europe and/or have friends and family in other EU countries. The app is simple and intuitive, recipients can be set up quickly and easily and money transfers made within the same country, using the same base currency, are cheap.
However, if you are looking to send money overseas to more remote foreign countries, such as Thailand, additional charges will apply when using Revolut services. If this is the case for you, we would recommend checking out our reviews of other great international money transfer companies. We also encourage customers to make use of our comparison engine, to find the most competitive exchange rates and cheapest transfer fees.
Keith is a digital specialist with a background in the financial industry, both as a marketeer and a journalist. Keith joined MoneyTransfers.com in order to take the business to the next level and expand our offering in multiple international money transfer markets.