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We are moving inevitably towards a more cashless society with more online and card payments taking place every year. This trend has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic where cash was seen as a potential virus transmission vector and studies have shown a 30% decrease in its use in the first few months of the pandemic. Tap to pay limits were also increased by banks and card providers to encourage more contactless payments.
For years traditional banks were slow to implement and roll out new technologies like internet banking and embrace the mobile wave by providing user-friendly and secure solutions in the form of banking apps. Their implementations and apps were slow and clunky and not intuitive or user friendly. This led to a gap in the market in which innovative Fintech companies were keen to fill. In the US, companies like Venmo and Paypal exploded in popularity. Closer to home Revolut has been at the forefront of this financial innovation. Launched in 2015 as an online-only bank with more features and lower fees, they have seen explosive growth in recent years reaching over 10 million customers worldwide.
Banking with Revolut
For Irish customers, it’s quick and easy to open an account and start availing of all the services they offer. Revolut’s main and initial offering is its prepaid contactless debit card for chip, contactless and online payments as well as for sending and withdrawing money more cheaply and conveniently abroad. It has a great user-friendly payments app that lets you track and control spending and savings. They also make it easy to transfer money quickly and easily between other Revolut users and friends which is great for splitting bills or for lending or gifting money. They have a range of plans depending on your needs from a free service up to a premium option with a cool metal contactless payments card. They even have a kids option so parents can monitor and limit what their kids are buying and spending money on.
Revolut is always innovating and has added cool features like single-use virtual debit cards for safer online shopping and virtual savings vaults where you can temporarily lock up your money for saving. You can also buy travel or device insurance and make charitable donations through the platform.
Revolut Trading - Stocks and Cryptocurrency
One of the biggest developments they have made more recently is the ability to trade stocks and shares and also the ability to buy and trade Cryptocurrency. You can invest as little as €1 and get exposure to up to ten of the top cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is a great way to dip a toe in the water of the exciting new developments in the virtual asset world and gain exposure to the recent large rise in the value of the crypto ecosystem. Through the platform, you can buy and sell these cryptos quickly and easily with minimal fuss and reasonable fees of 1.5% for Premium or Metal account holders and a slightly higher fee of 2.5% for free account holders.
Revolut Supported Cryptocurrencies
Aside from Bitcoin, Revolut offers exposure to a growing list of digital assets that are the most popular and largest in the space. Due to the large number of scams in the space, Revolut carefully vets and assess any project to make sure it is safe and trustworthy before adding it to their portfolio. They currently give customers access to the following ten cryptos.
- (BTC) Bitcoin – The original Decentralised cryptocurrency
- (BCH) Bitcoin Cash – A fork of Bitcoin promising more transactions per second
- (ETH) Ethereum – A smart contract platform
- (LTC) Litecoin – Digital currency promising quicker payments and more TPS
- (XRP) Ripple – Technology for improving banking transfers
- (EOS) EOS – Smart contracts and faster transactions
- (OMG) Omise network – For inter blockchain Exchanges
- (XLM) Stellar – Payment protocol for increased speed and throughput)
- (XTZ) Tezos – Smart contracts and Governance
- (ZRX) 0x – Open protocol for Decentralised Exchange
Crypto Custody vs Non-Custody
It should be noted that you are only buying exposure to synthetic Bitcoin. If you use a Boinnex ATM, the Bitcoin is sent immediately to your personal Bitcoin wallet or if you use an exchange like Kraken you can withdraw your Bitcoin and custody it personally. With Revolut, you are not able to withdraw or send any crypto you buy on the platform to an external wallet. You will only be able to sell it back to Revolut in the future or you can also send it to other Revolut customers within the Revolut ecosystem. However, these are not blockchain transactions. Revolut, like other exchanges, have omnibus accounts, and trades on the platform are not blockchain transactions.
We always recommend you custody your own Bitcoin personally in a wallet that you control. As the saying goes “Not your keys, not your coin”. Revolut buys the Bitcoin or other Crypto on your behalf and uses secure third party custodians to manage and protect the private keys for you as opposed to the self-custody option described above and normally favoured by crypto enthusiasts.
Revolut Crypto Pros & Cons
- Ease of use
- Revolut has good security on their platform
- Revolut has deposit insurance
- You can’t currently transfer cryptocurrency to anyone who is not a Revolut customer.
- You’re locked in to sell at the price Revolut offer you and some customers have reported differences in the rate offered vs the market rate.
- You can’t stake your crypto to earn a yield
- You can’t pay in cryptocurrency using your Revolut Card.
Revolut makes buying and selling cryptocurrency easy and simple. A mix of custodial and non-custodial solutions might be a good idea for some people. Overall, we like Revolut, but for crypto, it boils down to, “not, your keys, not your coins”.