Innovations startups Uncategorized

A digital card – an innovation or a fraud?

Digital cards with multi-currency payment option – I just have realised that since few months people got crazy about them. Almost all of my friends already have/downloaded/ordered Revolut or other digital card and hardly believes that life without another plastic card in the pocket is still possible. When did it become impossible to operate everyday tasks without it? Do you remember yet times without Netflix? We were somehow able to watch our fav series on-line back then.

Trying to avoid being ignorant, I tried it. I downloaded the app and ordered my Revolut card. Curiously I’ve checked, what are the differences between Revolut services and cards that were available so far. After the 2-weeks long holiday, I totally understood its phenomenon.

I wasn’t the first one to question the issue – some rational bloggers yet pointed out the drawback of these services. As Jan Fijor, the author of www.milionerstwo.pl had observed, this revolution isn’t secure nor prestigious. It also isn’t that cheap or free, as it seems. He let himself got trapped once by this app.

“Multi-currency card varies from others in the way that they create an illusion of a comfort. – he says.

Revolut i karty wielowalutowe -Zawsze chroń swoje dane i pieniądze wykonując operacje na aplikacjach mobilnych!

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

I am not going to limit myself and stay on the beaten track. In XXI century we have got so many different payment options that, in effect, the cash becomes irrelevant. We cannot deny its success – great design, modern and colorful card and easy-to-use mobile app make the perfect UX.

Travelling with multi-currency card

It’s main customer target include – travelers, tourists, foreign exchange students and all those people who are willing to spend their money abroad.  There’s no issue with the card, as long as you stay in one of the big european countries – it pays for all your needs, products and services you order. Under the plain control of the mobile app (thank God for the roaming in EU, now we can spend holiday plugged in to the Internet. Don’t forget that these currencies are exchangeable in every.

Let’s suppose that you’re hitchhiking across the South America, or just making a reservation for holiday on a tropical island. I bet there are places in the world which does not accept credit card payments. Not even payments made by such innovative card as Revolut, despite the illusion of the modern world which surround us. What I mean is that still in XXI century, there are so many countries which values strong currencies (such as euro or dollars) over their own local money. To give you some living example – last time I went to Dominican Republic I was given quite big discount for covering my accommodation fee in USD.

Human error

Although it’s hard to admit – We all have been mistaken some time. I bet that the majority of users committed some kind of tiny mistakes while commissioning transfers or exchanging money.

Holiday mode on

You are on holiday, living the time of your life with your friends. You pay with a multi-currency card for your orders at the bar. The next day, you’re looking at your account balance terrified and wonder how could you spend that much. Maybe someone deceived you? Probably, it was just you.

I know, it was hard for me to swallow, too. Multi-currency card makes us lazy. This card knows from which wallet is has to take your money out, BUT, when it runs out, the Revolut app makes you pay with available currency. That makes you pay not only the price of the drink, but also charges you for conversion. Additional costs includes also charges for mistaken exchange orders. None of us is willing to tell about their own pitfalls, but this is one of Revolut’s sources of huge income.

I understand that the rapidity of the app is its advantage. Unfortunately, it lacks the option which would protect us, users, from our own mistakes. We do not have the possibility to control the order data before we click send button, therefore all transfers or conversions are carried out instantly.

Hidden payments

So. Revolut says its services are free. Let’s analyse their income sources then. Even though exchanges and transfers are for free, there is plenty of additional extra charged services that come along with the card. For instance, payments and withdrawals on weekends. The standard free withdrawal limit is 200 GBP per month, which is, let’s say, not so much money for the foreign trip / holiday abroad. Every amount above that means extra commissions.

Transfers – Usuallly, free transfers are executed within 2-3 working days, exactly the same time as in any commercial bank. If you are in a hurry, I bet you’d pay extra for the instant transfer anyway. Or to upgrade your account to premium, for an extra charge as well.  

Euro exchange rate – (at the date of 26.03.2019)

Bureaux de change in Wrocław4,2954
Walutomat4,295
Revolut4,296
TransferWise4,297
NBP4,337
Santander4,443

As it is shown in the table above, Revolut is doing quite good, as it offers exactly the same exchange rate as the regular exchange point in Wrocław.

Pay attention to

All in all, the multi-currency credit card is, as I could experience it, an excellent payment tool as long as we use it rarely and prudently. In other case we can be exposed to huge transactions’ fees.

  • Wide spreads, which amounts to 10% (spread – the difference between sale/buy price)
  • High costs of using the ATM machines (after crossing the limit of 200 GBP)
  • High costs of other services
  • Exchange commission
  • Weekend rates
  • No prevention system against human mistakes

Revolut – Post Scriptum

Apart from everyday pros and cons that this app gives you, there are few facts that you, as a user, should be aware of. I’ll let myself list them.

Legal aspects

Certainly, this case brings the most discussions and insecurities among Revolut customers. Officially, the app is completely legal but, among other, concentration camps were legal as well. Were they safe, ethical and good for everyone?

Revolut is not a banking institution.

It is incorporated as a financial enterprise that belongs to fintech branch. Therefore, it is not controlled by state authorities. This company was found only 4 years ago. I am not about being radically skeptical, however, can this company be a reliable place to keep our capital or resources ?

Poor management

The 2019 started badly for Revolut. During the last 3 months we could have find out that this StartUp struggles with many formal and administrative cases. We care about our resources, don’t we? Recently, it occurred that in 2018, the anti-fraud protection was switched off for three months straight for this digital card. In effect, people were given the opportunity to conduct many illegal transactions. We, indirectly, supported that.

I would like to ask you, if you’ve experienced any inconvenience while using multi-currency cards or spending money abroad? Which payment option would you choose for your holiday budget?

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