There are many great fintech startups out there. There is a big focus on creating an alternative to traditional services. If you like traveling you might be looking for a service, which would allow you to make payments in different currencies for free. I would like to compare two alternatives to banks, side by side: Revolut and N26 and I will also take a look at Transferwise.
All of these startups have raised a significant amount of money in their investment rounds and I want to show you why I think they are worth it.
Revolut Ltd is a fintech startup from the UK that offers financial services including a pre-paid debit card, currency exchange, cryptocurrency exchange, and peer-to-peer payments. It is an Electronic Money Institution.
Revolut is a prepaid card and app used by 4.5m+ customers across Europe and Australia, to make massive savings on fees when spending and sending money abroad.
Membership plans for Revolut
Registration on Revolut
- Setting up an account is super easy, takes a few minutes: you need to upload your ID and it gets verified quite fast
- Customer service is always available in chat, most issues get resolved quickly - I had a very nice experience with it
- A physical card takes around a week to arrive
Revolut Mobile App
- You can do a lot of different things on the app: you can create a vault, round up your payments and send the difference to your vault to save up for something. You can transfer money if you transfer to another Revolut account, money arrive instantly to another account
- It’s cool that you can log in using your password, but then set up a pin and quickly unlock the app using it
- You can split the bill easily by clicking on expenses or just enter amount and request money from another Revolut account
- Good analytics of your payments (by country, by a merchant)
- Set up a recurring transfer, create a payment link (anyone can send you money, even if they don’t have an account on Revolut)
- Check who among your contacts has an account
- Freeze card, view pin, enable/disable ATM withdrawals, contactless payments, swipe payments, online transactions, set a limit
- Create a virtual card
Why do I use Revolut
Why am I using Revolut: I like traveling and my bank takes a commission every time I pay or withdraw in a foreign currency and on top of that I get an unfavorable exchange rate. With Revolut I get a proper exchange rate and in most cases, there are no charges whatsoever. With my expenses, the free account is more than enough for me. The card can be delivered almost anywhere in the world, there are some places, where they don’t deliver (listed below). You can also use a virtual card for free, so that is also an option. Also, you can trade cryptocurrencies in the app, which can be also convenient, even though I don’t use this feature at least for now.
Disadvantages of using Revolut
- With a free account, you have to pay in order to get a physical card, however, they have promotions very often and you can wait for one and order a card for free. If you are referred to Revolut, you can get it for free as well - so you can use our link to get it for free!
- They do take some fees, see below
It is an actual bank, which is great. It is a German direct bank, headquartered in Berlin, Germany that offers its services throughout most of the Eurozone and in the UK.
Membership plans of N26
Registration on N26
- Setting up an account takes a while, you have to go through an actual video call (make sure you have headphones, the sound doesn’t work otherwise), where you have to spend quite some time showing your passport from different angles (UPDATE 27/07/2019 - no video call is required anymore)
- It takes around a week to receive the physical card (it can be ordered for free) and it can be easily activated
N26 mobile App
- Enable/disable payments abroad, online payments, ATM withdrawals, set limits and reset a pin, set recurring payments
- You can get your statistics here as well, not as detailed as on Revolut
- You can set savings goals. You can create what they call spaces to save money and you can drag and drop from your main account to your savings space, which is pretty neat and convenient
- You can also log in from your computer, which might be a very good point for some users. - I prefer using the app though. But the web version allows you to download your bank statements and financial information to your computer in CSV format, search your transactions easier
Why do I use N26
- Transfers are for free, and unlike on Revolut, ordering a physical card is also for free - big plus
- You can use Apple pay and Google pay with N26
- It is convenient since I am living in Europe and it is an actual full-range bank (Revolut, for example, is not authorized to provide investment services). They are planning to expand to the US and other countries soon and they have recently raised $300 million in series D round, which means big things are coming soon and I am excited to see how they revolutionize the traditional bank industry.
- Since it’s a German bank - no issues because of Brexit
With A $2.7 Billion Valuation, N26 Overtakes Revolut As Europe’s Most Valuable Mobile Bank. “In Germany and Austria we also have overdrafts and consumer credit, in France we have consumer credit, and we will be bringing overdrafts to the U.K. very soon,” said Weber.Forbes
Disadvantages of N26
- Available only in some countries in Europe, hence great only if you live in the Eurozone
- Not convenient - entering a password every time you open the app
- Fees: for a free account, you have only 5 ATM withdrawals for free, then you have to pay 2 euros for each additional withdrawal. There is also a fee of 1.7% for withdrawing in a foreign currency, which is waived for paid membership plans.
- Support chat is not always available, but you can fill in a contact form
It is worth mentioning Transferwise here, even though I haven’t used it yet. Their main purpose is well, making transfers easier.
You can receive transferred money for free, you can convert according to a real exchange rate, but they take a commission, which you are able to see upfront for each transaction, which is good. Everything is clear, there are no hidden fees and they claim their services are much cheaper than services you get in traditional banks.
They have personal and business accounts and it looks like they consider Paypal as their main competitor for the business account. Per Transferwise team it is much cheaper to use Transferwise than Paypal.
What I found awesome is that they give access to their API, so you can integrate their solutions into your business.
Another advantage is that getting your card and ordering a replacement is free - just sign up and they’ll send you one.
Many startups are competing for delivering the best fintech services. I am excited about upcoming opportunities. Have you used any of them? Do you think there is a better startup we haven't mentioned? Or do you think we have missed some important information here? Please share your thoughts in the comments!