Even as it becomes easy to quickly, seamlessly transfer money abroad or access our bank accounts when we are off on vacation, it seems like we have trouble avoiding racking up fees. These fees may amount to relatively little in terms of your bank account, but they can add up to serious amounts you can spend on something else. British startup Revolut, which just launched a few weeks ago, believes that they have the solution.
Revolut works by offering users an app (iOS and Android) and a prepaid MasterCard that they can use to send money abroad or spend it yourself when on a trip or holiday. Getting started requires users to set up an account, transfer funds into the account from your previous checking account, and then use the card to access the funds. One of the interesting features that they are promoting is the able to setup your account so that the user can access funds in multiple currencies, ostensibly allowing them to avoid fees while abroad. The startup says that, in an effort to minimize fees, they transfer funds using the interbank rate. Users are encouraged to top-up the account in the currency in which the account is held, however, lest they end up paying a large fee to transfer funds.
Revolut reports that they do not charge anything to send remittances abroad or exchange travel money, instead taking a fee of 0.8% from merchants whenever someone uses the card. It is worth noting, however, that they promise that customers can access funds, fee-free, from ATMs for 12 months, at which point the startup reserves the right to alter their pricing structure (although they add that significant changes to the pricing structure are unlikely).