Revolut in test – how does the banking app perform?

A financial app called Revolut wants to replace branch banks and simplify currency trading. atechbook tried it out.

The terror of the banking world is as big as a fingernail and fits on any iPhone or Android smartphone. Revolut, a money app for paying, saving and much more. The British fintech company behind it reached a market value of $33 billion in its last funding round. It is thus valued higher than Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank combined. The startup, which was only founded in 2015, seems to be developing into something like the Tesla of the financial sector; even the hyped neo-bank N26 can no longer keep up. Revolut is actually more of a money management app than a real bank. A European banking license from Lithuania allows it to grant loans, but not to trade securities.

Simple registration with Revolut

It doesn’t matter to the user, who can get a new account without any problems. Register, identify yourself by taking a selfie and scanning your ID card, and you’re done. There is no need for an annoying Schufa inquiry, but Revolut would like to have the tax ID. If it falls into the wrong hands, it can be misused for a lot of purposes. We refuse it, and still get the full scope of services. This includes a full-fledged IBAN from Lithuania, which shouldn’t be a problem, and the ability to deposit money of any currency at the favorable interbank rate. Including Bitcoin, Ether and Co – for a fair fee of 1.5 percent. Those who deal with blockchain currencies thus save themselves a separate crypto wallet.

Credit card flood and good user experience

A Mastercard for contactless payment in almost all stores now flutters immediately onto smartphones and watches. If required, for example for cash withdrawals at ATMs, a physical Mastercard or Maestro card (EC card) arrives in the mailbox a few days later. Both are debit cards without a credit line, just as there is no overdraft facility. So every cent you spend via Revolut must have been paid in beforehand.

It works in seconds from another checking account, and of course you can specify Revolut to receive payments in the traditional way – as a salary account, for example. The user experience with the app is very good. It doesn’t matter whether it’s contactless payments, transfers, currency exchanges or cost sharing, for example for a joint vacation. It works smoothly and is also nice to look at.

The app is clear, simple and informative

Each payment transaction is immediately displayed on the Watch and processed in detail in the smartphone. The recipient, such as a supermarket, precisely and with company logo identified – to the location- by maps. You can enter a monthly limit and track the dwindling of your cash reserves using appetizingly prepared statistics. Expenditures, even from linked accounts of other banks, can be classified by type and you are warned when money is running low. Whether this helps you in any way remains to be seen. However, anyone who has ever despaired of how a traditional bank tries to bring its service from the branch to the smartphone will never get the grin off their face again with Revolut.

With cash, the app becomes an expensive pleasure

The downside: The app is consistently designed for contactless payment and money transfer over the air. Cash handling is rather an annoying exception. Only 200 euros in monthly cash withdrawals from ATMs are included with free app use and the first payment level “Plus” for 2.99 euros a month. Beyond that, a two percent fee is charged. The more expensive subscriptions also offer higher limits, in addition to other benefits such as faster support. “Premium” for 7.99 euros monthly 400 euros and “Metal” for 13.99 euros then 800 euros. The fact that there is still a limit at all with such a high account management fee shows Revolut’s cash aversion.

Travel without money fees

A practical feature is the ability to withdraw cash from almost any ATM worldwide. After all, this does not cost any foreign fees on Revolut’s part. Even when using the Mastercard outside the euro zone, the now unfortunately common 1.5 to 2 percent fee for payments is waived: Frequent travelers will probably be the first to be convinced users of Revolut.

The idea of the Junior app, which is linked to a parent’s subscription, also sounds very clever – although the free basic version is only available for one child. The pocket money, for example, can then be transferred to the app, and the kids can use it to make contactless or online payments (within the scope of their legal capacity). In everyday life, however, the approach simply fails because children often handle astonishing sums of cash that aunt or grandpa slip them or that they earn in the neighborhood with services such as walking the dog. Parents would then first have to deposit the money at the branch of their traditional house bank and transfer it from there on to the junior app.

Also interesting: How secure is online banking?

Conclusion: Perfect for nomads in the digital world

Basically, this also describes its usefulness for adults. Anyone who apologizes to the cashier at the supermarket when they “have to” pay for a pack of chewing gum with a card due to a lack of change is looking for something else. And Revolut is not much use to anyone who likes to use the personal contact person at their bank. The other extreme is the digital nomad, who travels often and internationally. He has long since replaced his wallet with the Apple Watch. Such people can basically replace their old-school checking account completely with Revolut. All users in between won’t go far wrong with the free basic version as a backup to the main account.