If you travel a lot – and plenty of EL readers can raise their hand on that score – you’ll want your money to work for you everywhere overseas. That includes being back home, on a business trip, enjoying a holiday, or in Singapore. A typical traveller’s wish list might includes the following: you don’t want hidden fees or dodgy exchange rates on transactions in different currencies; you want to be able to transfer money seamlessly; you want digital banking options rather than being tied to a physical branch; and, if you get a few sweeteners thrown in too, perfect!
If this is you, it could be worth taking a look at Revolut. This digital-only financial service provider launched in London back in July 2015. It then expanded throughout Europe, before arriving in Singapore in October 2019. It’s a virtual and physical card, along with an app that manages all your finances. The idea, according to the Revolut team, is to break down financial borders and enable you to live like a local, wherever you happen to be at the time. Here we take a closer a look at a few of the features.
# Digital only
There’s no bricks-and-mortar with Revolut: you won’t find a branch in the Singapore CBD, or anywhere for that matter. So, everything from opening an account to customer support is all done through the app – and it’s quick (no queues, of course!).
This digital banking aspect extends to getting started with Revolut too. Forget about paperwork: to open an account, you download the app from whichever app store you use, complete the registration details, upload a few identity documents and take a selfie. Once verification is complete (it generally takes a few minutes), you’ll get a confirmation message and you can top up your account straight away, or order a physical card to your home and start spending.
# Account options and perks
As a new user, you have three account options to choose from. The Standard account is free. Then there are two paid options: Premium (S$9.99 a month) and Metal (S$19.99 a month).
Which one to choose? It depends on your spending behaviour. If you don’t make or spend more than S$9,000 in foreign transactions a month, then the standard account is likely to be more than enough. If you do exceed that, and you also want access to a host of complimentary perks that come with Premium and Metal accounts, then upgrading makes sense. These perks include global medical and dental insurance, along with travel insurance for loss, damaged or delayed items – even free airport lounge passes.
Another enticement to go for the Metal plan – aside from the dedicated concierge service, and the 1 percent cashback you can earn in any supported currency on all your spending abroad – is that it comes with a chic-looking metal card. The card weighs 18 grams (three times the weight of a regular card) and is crafted from a single sheet of reinforced steel!
# Benefits near and far
Among the major benefits of Revolut is that you can spend in more that 150 countries without paying for any currency conversion mark-ups, commission fees, admin fees and so on. So, you can get currency conversion at the real interbank exchange rate (sometimes described as the rate from Google). This can amount to significant savings when you’re spending overseas. Plus, it applies to remittance too – handy for anyone who sends money to their family or friends back home.
You can also use the account locally. For example, there’s an in-app budgeting and spending analytics feature for keeping track of expenses and budgets automatically. So, you can predict what your spending will look like until the end of your budget month. You can also make use of the P2P feature. It’s a bit like PayNow, only it works both locally and globally. Here’s just one example: got a child who’s travelling overseas or doing a uni course or an internship somewhere? Pay directly into their Revolut account and they can start using the money immediately – no fees, no waiting.
According to the team, more perks will be introduced for its Singapore-based customers in the near future too.
To find out more about Revolut’s digital banking solutions, visit Revolut online.
For more helpful tips, head to our Living in Singapore section.