Allow split-balance transactions


Imagine the following scenario:

You have $50 in your USD account, and £50 in your GBP (~$67.)

You attempt a charge for $100.

Does the charge get accepted, or declined?

Two possible outcomes:

  • It’s accepted. Neither balance alone is sufficient to cover the charge, but the two balances combined are. $50 is drawn from the USD account, and the remaining $50 (~£37) is converted and drawn from the GBP.

  • It’s declined. The system isn’t smart enough to discern that across all balances, the charge can be covered, and so merely rejects it.

According to Travelling to USA - couple of Questions, Revolut currently follows the latter path.

I would like to make a suggestion for the former also being an option. Reasons:

  • No pre-emptive balances would be required. If a user wants to speculate on currencies, or indeed just hold a foreign currency balance, monies wouldn’t need to be arbitrarily shuffled around to fit around the dynamics of a single charge.

  • Parity of money treatment vs. just a GBP balance. If all funds are held in GBP right now, as long as my GBP balance covers it, I’m guaranteed an accepted response. If I choose to move a portion of the money to a foreign currency - however fractional - there’s a chance I will be declined, even though the value of my Revolut holdings is exactly the same. This would bring parity to both scenarios, which is the correct way since the balances are of identical value both ways.

  • It’s potentially less costly. If I receive funds in, say, EUR and then have to move that money back to GBP to cover a larger cost of a single purchase, I’m making two hops: EUR -> GBP -> EUR again. Whereas if Revolut can draw down from my EUR balance first, before converting the remaining balance from GBP, at least a portion of the funds can be drawn without any conversion cost.

This isn’t a problem if both currencies are trading at the Interbank rate, have parity with buy/sell rates, and are converted to GBP and back again at an identical rate… but it is potentially a problem if the user has to convert a balance manually first to cover the charge.

IMO, this should be a feature that can be enabled/disabled via the dashboard, under a simple setting such as “Allow split-currency purchases”.