- Learn about Revolut's potentially fee-free international money transfers.
- Revolut's interbank foreign exchange rates are fair to its customers.
- A Revolut account offers other financial services which may be useful.
Revolut is an online financial services company offering an app with budgeting and spending analysis tools, current accounts, debit cards, group bill splitting, cryptocurrency and commodity investment, and the ability to spend and transfer money across the globe.
This Revolut review will concentrate on this last feature, international money transfers. You can use it to exchange, receive and send money in 27 different currencies using the interbank exchange rate (the constantly changing rate at which banks swap currencies between themselves, with no added margin).
Compare the rates, fees, and speed of Revolut with other money transfer services here.
Inside this review
How Revolut began
Revolut was started in the UK in 2015 by founders Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, offering only money transfer and exchange services. By 2016 it had 100,000 personal customers, and in 2017 it launched Revolut Business and crypto trading. A European banking licence was granted in 2018, and 2019 saw it expand into Australia and Singapore. By 2020 it had expanded to the United States and reached a 10 million personal customers milestone.
How to transfer money with Revolut
Here are the steps required for opening a Revolut account to start sending money overseas.
- Step 1: Open up a Revolut personal account by signing up via the Revolut app. This should only take a few minutes and can be completed from your Apple or Android mobile phone. You'll need to choose between a Standard, Premium or Metal account. (See more about costs below).
- Step 2: Add money to your Revolut account via a bank transfer or debit card.
- Step 3: You can now send money from your Revolut account an overseas bank account held by your family or friends, by selecting 'Payments' and then 'Transfer', and supplying the required recipient, currency and amount details.
Currencies and countries supported
There are over 27 in-app currencies supported, including AUD and NZD, major currencies like USD, GBP, EUR and JPY, as well as non-Euro European currencies and others. Transfers to most African countries are not available, but South Africa is a notable exception.
How much it costs
There are usually two elements to the cost of an international money transfer – the transfer transaction fee and the foreign exchange profit margin for the money transfer service. But with Revolut it works a little differently, because you need to hold a Revolut account, and put funds in it, before you can transfer money.
You can choose between three Revolut accounts:
- Standard. A free account with no monthly fee. Transfer, with no transfer fee payable, up to $9,000 per month on any weekday, using interbank exchange rates (i.e. no added profit margin for Revolut, except for Thai Baht, where there's a 1% markup). A 0.5% fee is added to any foreign currency transfers above $9,000 per month, and a further 1% markup is added to all currencies during weekends and public holidays (2% for Thai Baht). 'Weekday', 'weekends' and 'public holidays' are based on the time and holidays in London, UK, which determine whether the foreign exchange market used by Revolut is open or closed.
- Premium. $10.99 monthly fee. No transfer fee, interbank exchange rates (except weekends), no monthly limit on transfer amount, so no 0.5% exchange margin added.
- Metal. $29.99 monthly fee. No transfer fee, interbank exchange rates (except weekends), no monthly limit on transfer amount, so no 0.5% exchange margin added.
Each of these account types has many extra features associated with all the other banking and financial services offered by Revolut, and the higher the monthly fee, the more features you get. But if you're only planning to use it as a money transfer service, you'll probably want to opt for the free Standard account unless you're planning to transfer large amounts.
Transfers to an international bank account usually take between 3-5 business days before the money arrives.
Safety and security
Revolut Australia is authorised by ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) and holds an Australian Financial Services Licence. It is also regulated by AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre). Revolut verifies the identity of all clients as an anti-corruption and anti-fraud measure, and has a high-tech fraud monitoring and detection system.
Who Revolut is for
Revolut, as its name implies, is clearly aimed at a younger, tech-savvy market, willing to embrace the fintech revolution and completely change the way they do their banking. It provides far more services than just money transfers, so it's really a wide-ranging financial services app with multi-currency features.
However, you might want to start with money transfers, given the favourable exchange rate policy and potential absence of transfer fees, and gradually explore all the other available features, such as spending overseas in multiple currencies with no added fee (unlike most credit cards). The Premium and Metal accounts have even more features, similar to those found on premium credit cards.
Pros and cons
- No transaction fees for money transfers, unless you have a Standard account and exceed the $9,000 monthly foreign exchange limit.
- Interbank currency exchange rate used, with no profit margin for Revolut, in most currencies for weekday transfers.
- Standard account has no monthly fees, and extra features beyond money transfers.
- Top-up and hold account balances in various currencies, and switch currencies using a favourable exchange rate.
- Lots of different additional features available, such as crypto trading and disposable virtual cards.
- Premium subscription options include handy perks, like airport lounge access and cashback on card payments.
- Monthly subscription required for larger transfer amounts if you want to avoid the 0.5% exchange rate surcharge.
- Transfer to recipient's bank account only, unless they also have a Revolut account, so no cash pick-up available.
- Requirement to put funds in your Revolut account before you can transfer, adding an extra delay before the transfer can be completed unless you always keep a balance in your account.
- Monthly fee payable for Premium and Metal accounts.
- Limited currencies and countries available for transfers, for example no transfers to African countries except South Africa.
How fast is it to send money?
Transfers within Australia will take a matter of minutes, but international bank account transfers can take 3-5 business days to complete.
Are there any limits on the amount I can send?
You can transfer as little or as much as you like, without any restriction imposed by Revolut. However, some overseas governments may impose restrictions on transaction amounts in their own currencies. You also need to be aware of the $9,000 per month fee-free foreign exchange limit if you have only a Standard account. A 0.5% fee is payable on transactions which exceed this amount.
How much do Revolut money transfers cost?
Transfers can effectively be made free of charge on weekdays (London time), provided you stay below the $9,000 per month foreign exchange limit for a Standard account. If you choose a Premium or Metal account you'll pay a monthly fee (but receive extra account features which could be worth paying for if you can use them) and you may pay extra fees if you make transfers on UK weekends and public holidays, or in a few specified minor currencies.
What is the difference between Standard, Premium and Metal accounts?
Revolut is much more than a money transfer service, and so it has three account levels offering additional financial services, as follows:
- Standard. A free account with no monthly fee. Free foreign currency transfers up to $9,000 per month, mainly using margin-free exchange rates. Free Revolut card, free overseas ATM withdrawals up to $350 per month, cryptocurrency trading.
- Premium. $10.99 monthly fee. No transfer fee, interbank exchange rates (except UK weekends and holidays), no monthly limit on transfer amount, so no 0.5% exchange margin added. Free overseas ATM withdrawals up to $700 per month, priority customer support, disposable virtual cards, airport lounge access.
- Metal. $29.99 monthly fee. All the features of the Premium account ($1,400 per month free ATM withdrawals), and up to 1% cashback on card payments.
Does Revolut have an app?
Yes, Revolut has an app for both Apple and Android phones. In fact, Revolut is designed around being used via an app rather than via the website.
Is Revolut safe?
Revolut Australia holds an Australian Financial Services Licence and is authorised by ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) and regulated by AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre). It has a high-tech fraud monitoring and detection system called 'Sherlock'.
Is Revolut better than PayPal for money transfers?
Revolut allows you to make international money transfers to either bank accounts or other Revolut accounts, whereas PayPal only allow transfers to other PayPal accounts. This means Revolut could be a better option if you have the recipient's bank account details but not their PayPal account details (or if they don't have a PayPal account). Unlike Revolut, PayPal also charges a fee for overseas transfers and uses an exchange rate with a built-in profit margin.
If you just want to use Revolut for infrequent international money transfers in amounts below $9,000, you can open a Standard account and transfer free of charge at a favourable currency exchange rate, making it one of the lowest-cost options available. Its currency, recipient country and delivery methods are more limited than those offered by some competing services, but if your requirements fit in with its available options it's definitely worth considering.