UK fintech Revolut brings new money app down under

UK-based Revolut has rolled out a money app in the growing Australian fintech market, which brings together budget management and fee-free money transfers in one app.

The mobile wallet, dubbed as a “financial super app”, allows users to manage their funds digitally, as well as send and spend money around the world.

The fintech company, which has a waitlist of 30,000 Australians, has been active down under since mid-2019 through a beta trial among limited customers. 

Revolut secured an Australian Financial Services Licence in late April from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, but it is technically not a bank, which means any funds deposited with Revolut won’t accrue interest.

Anyone can sign up to Revolut for free through a standard plan, but extra features and perks will be available for those on premium and “metal” plans, which will set customers back a monthly fee of $11 and $30 respectively.

Some of the main things the Revolut app can do include:

  • Store, transfer and exchange money to and from overseas in 27 currencies fee-free.
  • Transfer money and split bills with friends and family instantly, locally and internationally.
  • Set budgets and track spending with in-app analytics.
  • Create “vaults”, which users can contribute to individually or with friends and family. Users can also round up spare change from what they spent on their Revolut card into their vaults.
  • Set up one-use Visa virtual cards for online shopping, which generate new details each time a transaction is made online for extra security.
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs fee-free (monthly limits apply).
  • Supports Apple and Google Pay.
  • For “metal” users – up to 1% cashback outside Australia and 0.1% cashback within Australia on card payments.

What money management could look like in the future 

Revolut Australia’s chief executive officer Matt Baxby said it makes sense for most Australians, particularly millennials, to manage their finances using their mobile phones.

“Revolut is building towards a financial SuperApp that enables Australians to truly take control of their finances in one place,” he said.

He pointed out that Aussies shouldn’t have to pay unnecessary fees to send money abroad.

“When it comes to exchanging and sending money around the world, Australians have drawn the short straw for far too long and pay some of the world’s highest fees for sending money overseas. As the world becomes more connected, there’s no reason our money shouldn’t be too.”

Mr Baxby added that more features are on the cards for the Revolut app.

“Our plan is to rapidly introduce a range of new features, such as simple access to holding and exchanging cryptocurrencies, commodities and fractional ownership of US stocks, as well as a rewards program to save money on day-to-day purchases, and ways for customers to easily give back to their communities,” he said.

Innovation is “good news” for the banking and finance sector

Sally Tindall, research director at RateCity, said competition from fintech in general could be beneficial for the banking and finance sector.

“Fintechs like Revolut will help drive innovation in a sector traditionally dominated by big banks with lethargic legacy systems. It’s good news for the sector and good news for consumers who will ultimately benefit from greater innovation in finance,” she said.

Ms Tindall noted that the digital wallet app is “limited” in what it can do at this stage.

“Revolut hasn’t got all pistons firing yet. It will need a banking licence in order to properly compete in this market, and ideally a competitive savings rate, especially if it’s looking to be a one-stop-shop for young Australians,” she said.

While Revolut is largely being marketed to mobile-savvy millenials, Ms Tindall believed it was unlikely that the fintech would be able to gain significant market share from the big banks.

“Revolut is targeting younger Australians who want to manage their money entirely from their mobile phones, quickly, simply, and from the one app,” she said.

“It’s hard to see fintechs like Revolut turfing the entrenched incumbents any time soon, but it is likely to catch the attention of younger generations, especially if it can continue to expand its service offering.

“The success of the platform over in the UK gives it credibility, however it will probably have to tough it out through COVID before making inroads in the Australian market.”

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How to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

Can the government take your money from your bank account?

There are some instances when the government can take money from your bank account. This generally occurs in situations where you have an outstanding government debt.

Before it can take money from your bank account, the government authority owed money would first need to issue a garnishee notice. 

A garnishee notice is issued by the government agency (such as Centrelink or the ATO) to a third party that holds money for you or owes you money.

To take money from your bank account, your bank would be issued with the garnishee notice requiring it to pay ‘your money’ to the requesting agency to satisfy the debt.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

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  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

Opening a bank account for someone under 18

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

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You can close your Commonwealth Bank account at any branch, provided you have appropriate identification. You can also close your account over the phone, by calling 132 221, 24 hours a day.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

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Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

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In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

There are some types of bank account that you can apply for only in a branch. However, most bank accounts can be applied for conveniently online.

How do I overdraw my Commonwealth Bank account?

Overdrawing a bank account can happen by accident. It’s often hard to know what your balance is, particularly with direct debits, scheduled repayments and pending transactions competing for cash.

To avoid being stuck with a bank fee every time your account is overdrawn, you can apply for a personal overdraft. This will enable you to overdraw your account up to an approved amount.

A personal overdraft is connected to your CommBank Everyday Account, so you can enjoy easy access to extra funds once approved – anywhere from $100 up to $20,000.

Your overdraft funds can be accessed via your CommBank keycard or Debit MasterCard, or online through NetBank and the CommBank app.

To apply you can either call the Commonwealth Bank directly or visit your local branch.