Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored. All opinions are strictly our own.
The multi-currency war is fast heating up – and the latest player to launch in Singapore is Revolut, a London-based fintech firm.
Like YouTrip, Revolut users can transact and transfer money with zero transaction fees and exchange rate fees.
We’re proud to say some of our top contributors were at the launch of the Revolut VISA card at a closed-door Seedly x Revolut event on Oct 2, 2019 – during which time users were given an overview of the digital-only bank and led through a Q&A session.
But never mind if you weren’t there; here’s everything you need to know about the challenger bank, and where it stands against YouTrip.
In coming months, another two multi-currency competitors will be launching in Singapore: InstaReM and TransferWise, which you can read more about here.
What is Revolut?
Revolut is a digital-only bank (aka challenger bank) that was launched in 2015 by former investment banker Nik Storonsky and ex-Credit Suisse trader Vlad Yatsenko.
With over 8 million users in Europe and Australia, the banking disruptor is looking to expand into 24 markets, backed by a deal with Visa Inc.
It’s pretty big news, because Revolut aims to be more than a travel card – which customers might expectedly (or initially) think of it as.
Collectively, around 75% of Revolut cards will be Visa-branded.
At present, here’s what the namesake app offers:
- Global transactions in over 150 currencies (commission-free, real-time exchange rates)
- No fees in 14 fiat-holding currencies
- International money transfers in 27 currencies
- Overseas ATM withdrawals (capped at $350 for Standard members)
- Built-in budgeting and P2P payment options
- Vaults to manage your savings
- Physical and virtual cards, and disposable virtual cards
- Lounge KeyPass (access to airport business lounges around the world)
The Revolut Set-Up Process
Setting up was a quick five-minute process for me:
- Enter your phone number
- Set your password and enter a 6-digit code
- Fill out your name, date of birth and address
- Take a photo of your IC (front and back)
- Take a selfie
- Allow time for verification
- You’re in!
Some things to note:
- Photo verification: You can only take photos in real-time; there isn’t the option of pulling up images from your gallery.
- Verification time: Within around 7 minutes of uploading the required images, I got a notification alerting me I’d been verified.
- A minimum top-up amount of $20 is required.
Revolut Membership Options
Presently, the card offers three membership tiers: Standard, Premium and Metal.
Here’s what each tier offers:
|Membership Tier||Standard ||Premium||Metal|
|Card Type||Visa Platinum||Visa Platinum||Visa Signature|
|What You Get||Spend in > 150 currencies at interbank exchange rate||Spend in > 150 currencies at interbank exchange rate||Spend in > 150 currencies at interbank exchange rate|
|No fee exchange on 14 fiat holding currencies (up to S$9,000/month)||Unlimited exchange in 14 fiat holding currencies||Unlimited exchange in 14 fiat holding currencies|
|International ATM withdrawals (free, up to S$350/month)||Double international ATM withdrawals (free, up to S$700/month)||Triple international ATM withdrawals (up to S$1,050/month)|
|Send money domestically and overseas in 27 currencies||Send money domestically and overseas in 27 currencies||Send money domestically and overseas in 27 currencies|
|-||Global express delivery||Global express delivery|
|-||Priority customer support||24/7 concierge (for hotel reservations, flight bookings, etc.)|
|-||Disposable virtual cards||Disposable virtual cards|
|-||LoungeKey Pass access (over 1,000 airport lounges)||LoungeKey Pass access (over 1,000 airport lounges)|
|-||-||1% cashback in any supported currency on all overseas spending|
What’s The Difference Between A Physical Card and Virtual Card?
“If you can have a virtual card, what’s the point of a physical card?” was my question to Revolut’s Growth Launcher, Sarveen Chester.
Here’s a quick look at the key differences between the physical card and virtual card:
- Online and offline transactions
- Doubles as a transport card
- Location-based security
- Online transactions only
- Split payments allowed; up to five virtual cards per month, each of which can be used in specific areas (e.g. Spotify subscription/car loan/plane tickets, etc.)
- Standard members enjoy one free virtual card (it’s S$9 per virtual card subsequently); Premium and Metal members enjoy unlimited virtual cards.
Disposable virtual card:
- For one-time use (no fees to order disposable virtual card); self-destructs upon successful transaction
- Prevents risk of fraud, hacking
The disposable virtual card is a clever one, particularly for one-off purchases. I know far too many friends who’ve fallen prey to fraud after unknowingly saving their credit card details, or making a transaction with slightly dodgy merchants.
It’s essentially Snapchat, but way more useful.
The Revolut Vault
Unlike YouTrip, Revolut offers various options for personal and group savings goals.
Here’s where it gets interesting: you’ve the option of creating multiple vaults for each of your goals – whether a holiday to Europe or monthly HDB loans.
You’ll also be able to set an end date for each of your goals. The spare change option expedites the saving process; every transaction made is rounded up, and the difference deposited in your vault.
So if you’ve spent $3.40 on bubble tea, the difference – 60 cents – will be placed in your vault.
The group savings vault works in a similar manner: set monetary group goals for areas spanning leisure and bills, then add contributing members (they’ll first have to be on Revolut, though).
While I haven’t had the chance to fully utilise the Vault, time will tell – so watch this space.
How Does Revolut Compare Against YouTrip?
If you’re a YouTrip user, you’d likely regard it as a travel card. You’re not wrong, although the multi-currency player has plans to introduce insurance and remittance services eventually.
Here’s a look at how Revolut and YouTrip compare:
|Card Type||Visa Platinum (Standard and Premium); Visa Signature (Metal)||Prepaid Mastercard|
|Membership Tiers||S$0/month (Standard) to S$19.99/month (Metal)||None; free for all|
|Card Issuance and Setup Fee||Free||Free|
|Replacement Card Fee||$9||$10|
|Overseas Transaction Fees||None||None|
|Currency Exchange Fees||None||None|
|Max No. of Holding Currencies in Wallet||14||10|
|Minimum Top-Up||$20 (in local currency)||$20 (in local currency)|
|No. of Foreign Currencies Offered||Over 150 currencies||Over 150 currencies|
|Foreign Currencies for Money Transfers||27||NIL|
|Exchange Rates||In real-time; commission-free||In real-time; commission-free|
|ATM Withdrawal Fees||Free for first S$350 to S$1,050 (dependent on membership tier)||S$5 per withdrawal (overseas withdrawals)|
|Option to Trade?||Not yet||NIL|
|Use on Public Transport||Yes - contactless payment||Yes - contactless payment|
|Termination Fees||None. Cancellation fees may apply if you downgrade your membership plan after using the higher tier's benefits.||No option to terminate card|
|Option to Freeze Card (Without Terminating)||Any time; free||Any time; free|
|Option to Set Monthly Spending Limit||Yes||No|
Check out our complete guide to YouTrip here.
You’re probably wondering about exchange rates. This comparison chart pits Revolut’s against YouTrip’s.
Note: Rates are accurate as at 18.20pm SGT on 3 Dec, 2019.
|Revolut Rate||YouTrip Rate|
|1 SGD||0.7323 USD||0.7328 USD|
|0.6612 EUR||0.6613 EUR|
|0.5641 GBP||0.5643 GBP|
|76.7295 JPY||79.78 JPY|
|5.7333 HKD||5.737 HKD|
|1.0701 AUD||1.069 AUD|
|1.1235 NZD||1.123 NZD|
|0.7240 CHF||0.7246 CHF|
|*Based on Revolut and YouTrip in-app numbers and rates.
Accurate as at 18.20pm SGT on 3 Dec, 2019.
UPDATED 3 DEC: With YouTrip’s move into offering mid-market rates, both digital banks are now on fairly equal footing.
Unless you regularly exchange foreign currencies – and in large sums – Revolut’s rates are unlikely to incentivise YouTrip fans to make the switch…at least, in this respect.
Final Thoughts: Revolut VS YouTrip
Both Revolut and YouTrip operate with a similar goal: to simplify travelling and trim the excess by transacting in real time (goodbye, hefty fees!). They’re also pretty much on par in terms of exchange rates, if the above table is any indication.
But that’s also where the similarities end.
Some things I thoroughly enjoy about the Revolut app thus far: the fairly customisable Vault, the ability to enjoy commission-free rates (and observe real-time fluctuations of interbank exchange rates), and how much control I have within the eco-system.
From budgeting to trading, it’s brimming with potential and has all the makings of a well-rounded app.
YouTrip operates primarily as a consumer travel card, and dominates the Singapore market at present – oweing to the fact that it was the first digital bank to launch in Singapore in 2018. I also like how it can be used as an EZ Link card without a minimum top-up value.
The differences between Revolut’s physical and virtual cards are minimal. Unless you fancy using your physical Revolut card for transport, I imagine most users would prefer sticking to using their existing Visa- or Mastercard-enabled cards on a day-to-day.
Frequent business/leisure travellers – or anyone who regularly makes remittance transfers – might appreciate Premium and Metal membership perks. Otherwise, Revolut’s Standard (aka free!) membership would suffice.
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