I like to think I’m a tech- and finance-savvy person; I use a finance app for tracking investments and checking foreign exchange rates in Singapore, a money transfer app for transferring money overseas and apps for online shopping, too. My preference is for payment apps that charge the lowest transaction fees or give cashback on purchases.
Recently, I was sent £800 from London to my currency account here. I was expecting to receive approximately S$1,500 but the final amount was closer to S$1,380. Even after factoring in the changing foreign exchange rate in Singapore, the difference was too huge to ignore. It turned out that the receiving agency charged a fee for converting pounds to Singapore dollars, but it wasn’t reflected in the transaction. As this transfer occurs monthly, I wanted to know how much I was paying.
How a finance app can help
That’s when I discovered Revolut, a financial services app where any fees charged are transparent to the sender and receiver. I asked JAMES SHANAHAN, CEO of Revolut Singapore, what makes them different from other payment app providers; here are five things that he pointed out.
#1 High degree of transparency
The FX rate used and the fees charged are all shown clearly on the Revolut finance app. Nothing is hidden.
#2 Best FX rate
Revolut money transfer app uses the interbank rate for converting foreign currencies. This is what the banks use to transact between themselves.
#3 Low fees
Although Revolut has fees for transferring large amounts or making transfers outside of business hours, these are low. All cross-border transfers via its payment app are charged a fee pegged at 0.3 percent of the amount exchanged, and these are pegged to a minimum fee of 30 Singapore cents, and a maximum of S$9.
#4 Peer-to-peer instant transfer
It doesn’t take two days for funds to arrive – or even five minutes. Sending money to another Revolut customer on their money tranfer app means that the money arrives instantly in your beneficiary’s Revolut wallet. And it’s free!
#5 Flexibility to convert and hold currencies in the payment app
If your beneficiary receives US$100 in their USD wallet, they can choose to hold that amount or opt to convert it into other currencies. So, they could choose to convert US$50 to SGD, US$30 to AUD and US$20 to HKD. The converted amount will be held in the respective currency accounts on the Revolut finanace app. And the money transfer app supports 28 currencies, including USD, GBP, HKD, AUD, CHF, EUR, JPY, DKK and CAD.
Saving time and money for a domestic helper
Anyone who has a domestic helper from Indonesia or the Philippines will be aware that, each month, the helper will queue at a remittance agent to send money home. Besides eating into their rest day, the transfer process is also subject to a weekend markup on FX rates.
James highlights how Revolut’s payment app makes things easier: “Your helper can open a Standard account for free with proof of identity and proof of residence in Singapore. You can use FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers) to top-up funds directly to their account without any fees. The moment the funds are in their account, they can send the money where they want and it will arrive in one to five business days. Since the money transfer app is accessible 24/7, they also don’t have to wait for the weekend to send money. This way, they get better exchange rates without the weekend markup.”
On the Standard plan, maximum of S$5,000 can be exchanged and transferred each month, without fees, at the interbank rate. Helpers can remit the money to their family member’s bank account or that of a cash delivery service in their home country with a reference number for the agency. The Revolut finance app has a transfer tracker so that they can see when the money has arrived at their beneficiary’s account.
Making it easier for elderly parents
James also uses the finance app to transfer money to his mother who lives overseas.
“She’s 90 years old and doesn’t have a mobile phone. She lives with my sister on an island in Brisbane, Australia. My sister works and has to find the time to drive Mum to the bank at the other end of the island. To save herself from making that drive, she set up a Revolut payment app account, so I send money for Mum to her directly. She then transfers it from her account straight into Mum’s bank account.”
Your Revolut debit card is more than a multi-currency travel card – you can use it to pay for daily purchases like groceries and morning coffee, too! Plus, when travel starts up again, paying with your Revolut card overseas will ensure you receive the best possible exchange rate. If you’re shopping online in USD or GBP, paying with Revolut gives you a better exchange rate than if the prices were converted to SGD using the shop’s currency converter.
Metal members will also receive one percent cash back on all payments, including paying into eToro and Crypto.com accounts, made with the card. You can keep this in your wallet on the app or spend it. All members can get cash back on ecommerce spending at selected websites using Revolut Shopper, an extension that you add to your Chrome browser.
Written in collaboration with Revolut.