Three years ago, I left to move to Canada. Despite the need to open a bank account on site for administration, I also took the initiative to look at the offer of the neo-bank Revolut and order a card. Outside the euro zone, the 1% cashback with the Metal offer allowed me to make the cost of each monthly payment profitable (€13.99), while taking advantage of its premium advantages.
I have since left Toronto for Lisbon in Portugal, spending several months in France. I changed subscription plans several times, but never left Revolut.
Card in my pocket, app on my phone, the neo-British bank has been following me everywhere for 3 years now. In the meantime, its number of customers has increased from 10 to 20 million. The model has changed a lot, but in the end, it has always addressed a certain type of profile. I don’t think I’m wrong if I say that I am particularly one of them.
The Revolut offer
The typical Revolut customer profile
Young, traveler, city dweller, with relatively good purchasing power, Revolut is aimed at me. And touch me. Without yet needing a home loan or a consumer loan, I am of this generation that has not yet experienced profitable savings. The low rates, the pandemic…my early years in the workforce are unlike those of other generations.
Rather than savings and credit, I am one of those who have seen individuals launch en masse on the stock market and on crypto-currencies, fintechs come to dematerialize and simplify life insurance contracts and democratize facilitation payment in 3x free of charge. I am also part of this new generation that has abandoned cash and no longer finds it normal to have to pay transaction fees abroad.
My generation, too, forgot what a Gold card was, a Premier card, and even more so an Infinite card. As a replacement, we know personalized, immediate debit and systematic authorization cards, international cards, Metal cards and dematerialized cards on our phones via Google Pay/Apple Pay. Our advisor is above all a customer service available by chat or telephone. We draw our confidence from the speed of an application, the lack of bugs in the card, and the bank’s ability to innovate.
My first year with Revolut
Times have changed. Three years ago, Revolut allowed me to have a card compatible with mobile payment at a time when very few French banks had taken the plunge. At the same time, other institutions’ mobile apps were slow and complex. And Boursorama, which was just launching its international cards (Boursorama Ultim), did not yet present itself as a very good solution for a traveler like me.
The application, let’s talk about it. Fast and playful, it also initiated everything a neo-bank can bring as advantages to better manage your money. Revolut launched sub-accounts, allowing me to create pots to save. There are two solutions to this. The first: daily or weekly transfers from my account to these sub-accounts. The second, even more relevant: a rounding to the euro to decant a few cents or a few euros with each payment. In a few months, I managed to free myself from what to book a plane ticket, without any effort.
Tracking the detailed expense history, based on merchants and areas (food, restaurant, travel, entertainment, etc.) also allowed me to quickly understand how my expenses were organized. The impact of ordering $3 every day from the same cafe to go to work is much more representative on the app at the end of the month than in my mind, on a daily basis. Spending estimates, to know how much we will finish the month, are just as important, to calm down before you get to the point of having to go overdrawn.
The Revolut app
Travel with Revolut
In addition to the 1% cashback abroad, my Metal card also allowed me to pay no fees on my payments and on my withdrawals. Insurance for plane tickets, for delays or for luggage, access to airport lounges according to the conditions clearly explained in the formula, also participated in what a traveler can seek. But that was nothing without the currency exchange platform, to exchange euros for Canadian dollars, US dollars or even Swedish kronor.
Abroad, too, what was my surprise when I discovered that my Revolut card was finally the most problem-free. Provided you always have the funds available in your account (systematic authorization card), the Revolut card is certainly one of the least defective. I have never had a problem with a payment terminal, which is not the case with the other cards that I have already been able to test. Same thing for online payments elsewhere. On several occasions, I had to fall back on my Revolut card to book transport, or pay for a purchase on an e-commerce site.
The simplicity of online payments
Compared to other online establishments, Revolut has worked on the simplicity of access to their card number, so that they can easily copy and paste their details for a payment. This seems to be just a detail, but it can quickly get us into the habit of favoring Revolut for Internet payments, as it is easier and faster to enter your card details.
Another detail that is not one: Revolut has long offered the supply of the account by credit card (free), as an alternative to bank transfer. A much faster solution that encouraged people to continue to fund their account. On N26, many customers have certainly abandoned the application because they had to go through a classic transfer that could take several days to avoid paying fees.
Security with Revolut
Revolut has also become obvious to me for my online payments as well as for my subscriptions. The application allows us to know what are our current direct debits and potentially terminate them. I also got into the habit of using the virtual cards made available, but also the ephemeral virtual cards, which self-destruct after each use. The best solution to not be fooled with a malicious site.
On Revolut, double authentication is always required. And after each payment, for three years, I authenticate my purchases by facial recognition or by typing my access code. Soon, Revolut will even offer professionals to use its own payment solution. For customers, this will be a solution to go even faster, without losing protection. It is also an open door to new possibilities of loyalty rewards points. Enough to encourage small businesses in addition to multinationals. All without having to carry a loyalty card in our wallet and receive countless unwanted emails.
A bank that advances
When opening my account until this year, I switched from an English IBAN to a Lithuanian IBAN (November 2020) then to a French IBAN (July 2022). Enough to describe the evolution of the neo-bank towards a traditional bank. Revolut now has licenses that allow it to present itself as a full-fledged bank in France, and this will soon lead to the arrival of the long-awaited savings, credit and authorized overdraft products. For me, it was above all a guarantee of a bank that is moving forward and that will improve over time.
The number of customers and the financial health of the bank also gave me this impression. As a journalist specializing in fintech, I was able to follow Revolut’s journey and the changes to its model. The conclusion is indisputable: Revolut has done much better than N26, which has to deal with problems with regulators, with customers and with its own financial health. The neo-bank is preparing its IPO, but this only reflects a start-up which has not found profitability in ten years of activity and which today must protect itself from investors who no longer really wish to grant it new funds.
Revolut built somewhat on the backlog of N26. This was also the case with investment products. Its platform for purchasing shares, crypto-currencies and raw materials has taken N26 on the wrong foot, which has just announced the arrival of its functionality… 5 years later. With the confinement and the madness of the stock markets and crypto-currency prices, Revolut weathered the crisis with flying colors, without worrying about the drop in the use of its bank cards, yet at the center of its business model at the start. .
Why keep Revolut?
Finally, for a few months, I abandoned the traditional bank with which I had my accounts and my savings accounts for Boursorama Banque, its free card, and its possibilities of support in its banking services. But I haven’t forgotten Revolut. Online banks may have caught up in technology, but they are still not as optimal as Revolut in integrating their technologies and their functionalities.
Boursorama therefore gives me the security of being able to access credit, passbooks, authorized overdraft, but for the rest, Revolut is a better expense management tool in my opinion.
Annual fee: €0 • Initial deposit: €0
Check deposit: ✘ • Cash deposit: ✘
Monthly cost of the card: 0 €
Euro zone withdrawals: Free up to €200 per month • Euro zone payments: Free
Foreign currency withdrawals: Free up to €200 per month • Foreign currency payments: Free
From experience abroad, having two cards with two different establishments is just as important as keeping some cash on you. And while I don’t think Revolut will be able to reach the 100 million customers it was aiming to get soon, according to its pre-pandemic goals, it will soon pass the milestone where a customer base will have integrated it into their daily lives. .
The French IBAN may seem like a detail, but it opens the way for anyone who wanted to add their Revolut account to get their salary directly into their account, link it to telecom providers, Social Security or even organizations. insurance… a whole host of operations unfortunately penalized by IBAN discrimination.