My little brother, 21, has decided to skip the annual return to the island for the whole of summer ritual for this year and instead go on a two-month trip around Asia. Sounds wonderful and all, and as much as I didn’t initially approve (I mean, two months? Without coming back to see his older sister who can provide valuable lessons about life as an adult?) I just had to come to terms with it. Mum said he could go, so nothing else was in the way.
Talking to him over the phone, I asked how he would manage it all financially – not so much in an interest to sponsor his adolescent trip, but rather to see if he’s actually thought about sorting out the issue of dealing with six or seven different currencies across Asia.
He suggested he would be going down to his local bank and ask for a “travel MasterCard or a pay-as-you-go card or something”.
Older sister to the rescue I didn’t need much to start lecturing him, this time about Revolut.
It was the opportunity I was looking for to demonstrate how older siblings – as has also been scientifically proven – have a higher IQ, but mostly to share my excitement about Revolut, the digital bank (understood not in the traditional definition of a bank) through which I have discovered a whole new way of banking.
Revolut is an electronic money institution registered in the UK and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – so it’s legit. Although I do get excited about all the legal stuff that runs behind such institutions I won’t bore you with the details (but if you do want to know drop me a line and I will, for your sole benefit alone, write a post on that too!).
Revolut makes everything simpler and easier by enabling its users to create an online “bank” account for all online or over the counter transactions through a virtual or physical card.
It works solely through the app (available on the Apple and Play Store), and incorporates all Revolut accounts which you may have, in any currency, keeping a nice and clean track of how much you’ve spent (or earned) in each of your accounts.
Depending on the type of plan you want to have (you can choose between Standard and Premium, with Premium membership charging a small monthly fee) you have the ability to order and have shipped to you a physical, debit MasterCard with your name on in glossy print, to use in shops or online – just like you would do with any other Visa or MasterCard.
What makes Revolut so great for traveling is that through the app you have the option to exchange your € into £ or $ or any of the other 25 supported currencies at the inter-bank exchange rate – sparing you that extra 4% or 5% banks usually charge when completing currency exchange. So while you can enjoy your €20 mojito in Mykonos, or in my brother’s case his S$30 Singapore Sling paying in Singapore Dollar (SGD), you can exchange you € into S$ without having to bare any currency exchange fees as would have normally happened if you were to use your usual bank card. No need to mention commission or transactions fees since there aren’t any (and if there are you won’t be feeling them!).
To get your Revolut account you simply need to download the App and follow the instructions as prompted to create an online account. To kick-start your account you need to follow a few simple steps and top up (using the details of your regular bank card or account) an amount of at least €10/£10 etc. There and then you will have created your online account, which will make your life easier at any point!
The Premium package (which comes with a small cost) offers free medical insurance and travel insurance for up to 40 days of travelling, which is always handy when traveling. You also get mobile phone insurance from a starting price of £1 a week. Going Premium also gives you an allowance of €400 cash withdrawals at any ATM per month, whereas the Standard package gives you only up to €200 withdrawals per month.
Through the app you can make payments to other Revolut users, non-Revolut users, to any of your bank accounts, to other bank accounts or to business accounts. The app also offers personal loans (to UK residents only) and Vaults – an interesting way of saving those extra pennies for a cause of your heart (be it getting that pair of shoes or that extra iced latte!).
And if you’re into cryptocurrencies and all Revolut gives you the option to exchange your £, $, or € into Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin which you can spend through your Revolut cards without any cost.
For more info on any of the products and services of Revolut you can always check their website, but do make sure you read and understand all the small letters.
So, go ahead and get those holidays booked in Cuba or Guatemala or Bali and worry not about how you’ll be bringing that “small” 3kg souvenir Buddha back home. Using FinTech and alternative methods of banking will save you those extra £/€ to be able to pay for that shipping home!
To my little brother: yes, a three-piece art work would fit perfectly on my new living room wall. You can pay using your new Revolut card, no excuses 😉 xxx
Let the summer days begin!
Have you used Revolut and have any comments or feedback? Do leave a comment or contact us, we’d be interested to hear about your experience.