REQUEST: Free virtual spare cards

As long as you have an active card, virtual or physical does not matter, a 2nd card always costs the spare card fee.

Frank my question was what if I order a second card so I pay for it then I delete the second card from the app (there is an option to do so). Will I be charged again for the second card if I request it again or not? (since I already paid for the second card but deleted it).

It does not matter how many cards you deleted. The second card always costs.

Why if I already paid for it?

Well, every time you order a card, a new card is issued. It is not like you are getting the same old 2nd card every time again.

the payment processor that Revolut uses charges money for the creation of each new card, virtual or not.

And even after a card is deleted/destroyed, the issuer has to keep records for all account related things for something like ten years due to regulations.

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Agree, that’s what I was referring to. :slight_smile:

Hi, I have just ordered my first physical card, which is on the way to my place. Simultaneously wanted to make a transfer usuing my virtual card, but it is being rejected.
Can you please advise, the reason behind this?
I went through the chat above and my understanding is I cannot use the virual card, due to the fact I ordered a physicial one, the same time cannot use my new card because has not been delivered yet.

I really doubt that a disposable virtual card would cost money. In France, the service Orange Cash has 200.000 subscribers, and it allows three things:

  • Have a virtual wallet
  • Spend with Apple Pay from this wallet
  • Generate on-demand, disposable virtual cards, one card for one online transaction.

These cards are destroyed when the transaction is complete, and protect you online against recurring payments and credit card fraud. Using the app over months generates hundreds of these single-use cards. As the whole service is completely free, I simply can’t imagine that MasterCard takes any comission on a virtual card that’s alive just for a few minutes.

If the cost of a virtual card would be indeed around 5 GBP, Orange Cash would have hundreds of pounds of monthly fees for each user.

In reality, virtual cards are either completely free or imply a symbolic fee towards the issuer (a few cents). In either case, the GBP 5 fee is a ripoff.

The fees are charged by Mastercard, not Revolut.

I am sure that if it was up to Revolut, they would be happy to provide this feature at cost/free.

I assume Orange Cash is following the business model of legacy banks, whereby loss-making services (Current accounts in the UK, disposable virtual cards per transaction.) is recouped through big margins on other services.

Sure it generates costs. You think issuing a virtual card does not come with costs for setting it up, providing everything regulations demand? Of course does Mastercard charge for every card number issued. Why wouldn’t they? And documents related to services like bank accounts and cards have to be stored for a long time, like ten years, even if it is a one time disposable card.

You are just guessing without any source.

Several French banks (Fortuneo, Orange Cash) are offering to generate unlimited number of virtual cards without any cost. These bank accounts don’t have yearly fees either, so it’s not a “loss here, win there” model, but a similar wallet-like structure as Revolut.

Your argument is that there’s a lot of work involved with generating a card, thus it must cost money.

My argument is that since several banks offer unlimited virtual cards, it can’t cost money.

Without any source, noone can decide who’s right.

‘Without cost’ to the customer does not mean ‘without cost’ as a whole (especially to the bank.).

Just because water is free for students at a public school doesn’t mean that it is ‘free’. It is paid elsewhere (e.g. Via taxation.). Doesn’t mean that you can lay down a pipeline to the public school and water your farmland with water from the public school.

If virtual cards are offered by the French banks on an unlimited basis, it is a loss leader, and they are recouping the costs of providing that service via other methods (For example, higher interest rates charged on overdrafts, higher interest rates charged on financial products (Mortgages, credit cards, …), un-competitive FX rates when spending in another currency, …).

@frank never said that there was a lot of work involved with generating a card. What he said was that there is a fee for generating every card, and that is charged by the payments network (Whether it is Visa or Mastercard.).

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There is a difference between “greeting costs” and “it costs something”.

The former only states that running IT infrastructure and being compliant with reporting duties attached to banking services in a highly regulated environment does generate costs. Someone might decide to cross-subsidize (your examples). Others won’t. And I would argue, in the interest of all customers, Revolut should not cross-subsidize. People should pay for services when they want to use them, like with ATM withdrawals. The basic free service Revolut offers is already a good deal.

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All the three of us are just guessing, without any actual source.

I agree with the idea that Revolut should charge customers for its actual fees (instead of cross-subsidizing), but still, that actual fee (if there is one) for generating a virtual card must be orders of magnitude lower than the 5GBP charge.

In my opinion, if Mastercard would charge even 1EUR for such a virtual card, all French banks would implement a fair usage policy restricting the number of virtual cards.

This is just guessing. I could write “of course Mastercard doesn’t charge money since I can have unlimited virtual cards”.

I don’t want to argue that Revolut should make free virtual cards. I simply want to defy their argument that the 5GBP fee is a fair cost that they absolutely need to charge since it goes to the card issuer.

It’s very possible that that guesses are more credible than others.


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The treatment of a ‘virtual account’ (Mastercard terminology. Most banks/fintech startups call it ‘virtual cards’.) is the same as a physical plastic debit card. A fee will need to be paid to Mastercard on issuance.

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Looks like it’s a fee per card issued to me.


If you generate thousands of virtual cards, you better be giving the French banks a good return (through the FX spread that they’ll collect, or higher interest rates via financial products.) or have an account with their Private Bank division, else they might try to find a way to not take you on as a customer.

Price Waterhouse Coopers did an extensive research about the costs of current accounts and cross-subsidizing in 2015. It is no secret that all banks that offer free accounts have to cross-subsidize them. You might find this report online.

Also, this is not the first thread here where this is discussed. Here is one where someone from Revolut actually confirms this.

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“A fee will need to be paid to Mastercard on issuance.” Source?

The text you cited later (fees concerning Maestro and Cirrus Cards) have
nothing to do with issuing virtual Mastercards.

Frank, thanks for damianryan’s info. This, confirmed by AndreasK (working at Revolut) seems to confirm that there is a fee. Would be nice to know how much, and whether it’s comparable with Revolut’s 5GBP charge.