The British Fintech startup Revolut has been making quite the rounds with its innovation & growth this year. I have been following the headlines about the company consistently and finally it peaked my interest to a point where I decided to dig a little deeper about the company. And to my pleasant surprise when I visited their website, I found out that Revolut is launching its services in Canada soon. This is all a part of its ambitious plan to expand its services to other jurisdictions expanding out of mainland Europe to U.S., Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand in the coming weeks and months. Needless to say I entered my email address to get early access to their product once it goes live officially in Canada & I will be in a better position to assess & analyze their features and services.
The London-based startup has crossed 2 million subscribers months after crossing the 1 million mark in November 2017. Revolut started off as a simple money management app offering currency exchange for the fiat pairs at the live conversion rates or as Forex traders like me call it the OTC (Over the counter) rates. This conversion basically gives the users the ability to convert money into different fiat currencies at competitive rates rather than what traditional banks basically charge you, ripping you off in the process. Over the past 10 months or so Revolut has transformed from a basic currency conversion app to accumulate all the following services under one roof.
- It offers an e-wallets in which you can hold multiple fiat currencies by just adding them to your Revolut account which functions like a traditional bank account. Direct debits are allowed in Europe which will be integrated in oversees versions of the platform as well eventually
- The platform allows you to send fast, secure money transfers seamlessly to over 130 countries at the same OTC counter rates that banks have access to
- The vault feature lets you set up recurring payments by rounding off the amounts or make one-off payments to your savings account set up with the platform
- Use the budgeting feature to control & monitor your expenses in real-time
- It offers Pay-as-you-go travel insurance using the latest geolocation technology that you can choose from a wide variety of providers. Similar credit & insurance products are also offered by the rival Fintech company Starling
- Crypto trading comes integrated with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple & Litecoin trading capabilities which can be easily swapped with fiat currencies within the app. The crypto transaction fees of 1.5% is charged with Bitstamp as the processing partner
- Back in March the company launched Disposable virtual cards which can be used for online shopping etc. The beauty of this product is that it gets destroyed after one use so you don’t have to worry about its misuse or repetitive charges.
- And finally the new & much touted Revolut Metal card which offers a plastic alternative to the traditional Debit & Credit cards with features like cash backs on purchases & transactions, and the ability to use fiat currencies & supported cryptos simultaneously among other value added features. It however comes with a premium fees.
- The platform offers three-tiered pricing plan depending on what features you are looking for – basic version is free
There is one draw back in the Crypto trading feature though – it’s just limited to buying the digital tokens in the App only. There is no wallet service associated with the App & neither is any address assigned your Crypto coins. If you want to transfer your digital tokens somewhere else you have to convert them into fiat equivalents first & then buy back the digital tokens somewhere else. This is a really cumbersome process & maybe something worthwhile looking into for their next feature upgrade.
The company has announced that it will be adding commission free trading to the platform via which users will be able to buy stocks, ETFs & Options etc. of the publicly listed companies in the U.S & U.K from within the mobile platform. U.K.’s Trading212 and U.S. Fintech firm Robinhood will be its direct competitors in this arena.
With all the digital & mobile banking features added to its platform Revolut has become a part of Europe’s so-called Challenger banks – new players in the Fintech space challenging the traditional brick & mortar banks. One such competitor for Revolut is German startup N26 which also has well in excess of 1 million subscribers. However, Revolut’s CEO Storonsky doesn’t consider such Fintechs as its competitors because it expects tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google to be the bigger rivals.
The one things that stands out for Revolut is that it is always trying to do bigger & better things. It is indeed this proactive approach that has kept this Fintech growing at a breathe taking pace. The platform is making a name for itself in its niche market & seems like it is going to be a force to reckon with in the future.