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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Learn more about bank accounts

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 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.

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.

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:

  • Payee’s name
  • 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.

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.

How do I transfer money from Paypal to my bank account?

Transferring cash from Paypal into your bank account is simple…if you have a Paypal account that is.

Once you’re logged into your Paypal account, the account balance will appear on your home page. Below your balance are two options:

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Choose option two if you want to transfer money from your Paypal account to your personal bank account.

The next screen will prompt you to either enter new bank account details or choose a bank account that’s connected to Paypal. You can always add more bank accounts to your Paypal profile.

Another way to transfer out of Paypal is by jumping to the wallet tab on the top menu, and clicking ‘transfer money’. Both options will give you the same result.

Can you open another account at the same bank?

Yes, you can open another account at the same bank if you already have an account there, but some banks place a limit on how many specific accounts you can open.

Generally, though, it is possible to have more than one everyday account, one personal account and one joint account, or have different types of accounts – such as a transaction account and a savings account.

Keep in mind that some bank accounts come with fees, so you could be charged twice for having two types of the same account at the same bank.

Also, if you have more than one high-interest transaction account at the same bank, only one account will be able to earn the highest rate of interest.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.

Can you find your bank account number online?

If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.

Keep in mind that each type of account you have with a bank comes with a unique account number. This means if you have a bank account as well as a savings account, for example, your bank account number and your savings account number will be different.

If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.

Alternatively, you can call your bank’s customer service number or visit a branch to retrieve your account number.

How can I find bank accounts in my name?

To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.

How do I open a bank account for a child?

There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.

A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.

If the child is too young to open the account, you can do it for them as their legal parent or guardian. 

To do this, you would need to be over 18, have an Australian residential address and currently reside in Australia (or have proof of residency).

You would also need to provide:

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Depending on the bank account, you might be able to choose what level of access the child has to their bank account (online and via the phone).

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

Can I open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

How do I close a bank account?

Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.  

Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.   

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