UK fintech Revolut brings new money app down under

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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