Recently I have tried out Revolut 2.0, a service to instantly send and spend money globally with zero fees. But in my two weeks of testing, some money was temporarily lost and my account got locked… twice. Let me take you on the full journey.
So how did it all start? Two weeks ago, I downloaded the app and linked it to my phone number. To spend money you have to have money, so I selected top-up and followed the instructions. Revolut only takes debit cards, if you dare to enter a credit card, it will immediately punish you with a red colored text stating that you can’t use this card. I tried different VISA and Master Cards, but they all appeared to be coded as “credit”—even one that my bank explicitly labels as debit is not supported.
Highly frustrated I tried entering my Number26 Maestro number, which is also labeled as debit. And there, “success”, or so I thought. The top-up was accepted and I saw my money being deducted from my bank account via a push notification, that my bank sends whenever a transaction happens. However just a few seconds later, Revolut told me in their app, that the operation was not successful; but where was my money? It left my bank account and didn’t appear in my Revolut account. I turned to the support chat, which is conveniently located just 2 taps away from the home screen:
It will return to your account. We do not support Maestro Debit.
It took the funds almost a week to come back to my bank account.
In conclusion I had to transfer money to a bank account that I haven’t used in a while, which had a VISA Debit. After two days of waiting for some SEPA magic to happen, I could finally top up my Revolut account with a debit card. I entered the amount, tapped on next and saw my account amounting to 25 EUR. This euphoric state was shortly interrupted by a screen popping up stating that my account had been locked and I have to either identify myself or verify my debit card. WAT?
To verify a card, you need to get your bank statement (in my case by the end of the month) and enter a 4 digit code from that transaction into the Revolut app. Since I didn’t want to wait almost a whole month, I tried the “Passport or ID verification method”, which failed miserably. It was able to read my passport but as soon as it should scan my face, the app did not manage to switch to the front camera and crashed – every time. So, again, I took it to the support chat in the app.
After some wait, I was asked to provide “high definition” photos of my passport’s front, back (which is empty) and me holding the Passport with the front page next to my face, trying to look as pissed as I did when I applied for the biometric passport. I had to send that via email, unencrypted as no one knew what a PGP key or s/mime is. It would be another 2 hours until I was finally able to use my account to send and spend money with zero fees.
In order to continue with your verification process, please send us a clear, full-length, copy of a recent, official ID (passport, driver license or national ID) from both sides, a photograph of you holding the document next to your face and a clear photograph of your face. Kindly mail these with your name and mobile number as the subject to ***@revolut.com
I have then been to the Czech Republic and have spent and withdrawn money in a foreign currency, the Czech koruna (CZK), and everything was fine. I was about to write a lot about my experience and how smooth it worked until I topped it up again just now for a couple of screenshots. However, Revolut was blocking my account again. WAT?!?
This happened at 10pm in the evening on a Monday. The support staff was long gone home so I had to wait till the next day. My “offline” support chat message was ignored, so I sent it again in the morning, asking why my account was blocked. Rather than answering that question, I was asked to send a photo of my VISA card, unencrypted to their support email address. They gracefully allowed me to block out 8 digits of my card, so in case of an interception I would not lose all my data (oh the irony).
The last interaction with Revolut now has been two hours ago, I am still waiting to access my funds and my question to why the account got locked remains unanswered.
In conclusion: The product is great. I wish I could have given you more of an insight on conversion rates and how they compared to other cards, but circumstances prevented that. I feel like Revolut grew big too fast. Obviously, they are having mechanisms in place to reduce fraud, but their support can’t keep up with false positives, so the customers get frustrated. Once my account is unlocked, I will remove my funds and maybe give it another try in a year; that is, if they keep the pricing acceptable:
We reserve the right to change our pricing structure after the first 12 months of using the Revolut service, however, we do not expect there to be a significant change. Revolut was launched with the ambition to offer a fair and transparent alternative to foreign exchange with no hidden fees and we fully intend to live by that philosophy.
We would never charge our customers without clearly explaining the changes and asking their express permission to sign them up on a subscription basis.