REQUEST: Free virtual spare cards

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.


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.


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.


Apologies. It’s in the section before. the document itself has to do with Mastercard.

Given the small number of Maestro/Cirrus users, they appear to have consolidated all the documentation into the Mastercard documentation.

The consolidated billing system manual isn’t public, but as @anon33247966 and @frank have said, there is a fee.

In addition, this knowledge can be imputed as well. If Maestro and Cirrus have fees for issuing cards (regardless of whether it is physical or virtual), why wouldn’t Mastercard cards have fees?

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…because Maestro and Cirrus cards are always physical.

It’s technological backwardness.

Just because something is significantly more advanced, doesn’t mean that it’s cost-less.

Mastercard has imposed a fee per debit card–physical or virtual–and that is regardless of whether it is Mastercard, or legacy networks like Maestro and Cirrus.

You’re not looking at the big picture.

I’m sure Revolut’s Business Analysts have looked this over many times and used models to determine what kind of pricing is suitable for virtual cards.

In addition to the fees that Revolut will have to pay to Mastercard, other things like currency fluctuation (as seen in the past year, the Pound Sterling has become an immensely volatile currency. Companies such as Apple and Microsoft have adjusted the prices of their hardware to accommodate for this.), cost of maintaining infrastructure, …

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So what… Revolut just won’t tell us ? I though they were being transparent… It kinda doesn’t make sense to pay the same for a virtual card and physical. Except if of courses shipping fee is not really just shipping but also printing :wink::innocent: So a bit :cloud:️ over, I’d love some honesty !
I looooove the service but there have been some points which don’t satisfy me. As this way of being enigmatic.

This sort of data falls under the category of Business Intelligence, and no business that wishes to survive will release it out to the public for free, and on an indefinite basis.

In addition, given how the business and economic climate rapidly changes (Different interest rates policy set by central banks, macroeconomic instability, currency/FX volatility, …), a quoted figure would rapidly fall out of date.

I think it really is unfair to call Revolut enigmatic.

They’ve been incredibly transparent in relation to their business model, and where possible, have attempted to pass on financial products and services to retail customers at the near wholesale rate.

No other retail financial institution, legacy bank or fintech startup, can offer you 26 currency accounts with currency exchange at the spot interbank FX rate.

If you do find the services unsatisfactory, it is possible to switch to alternate services. There is no central authority forcing you to use :r:.

Perhaps that’s harsh advice, in which case I do apologise, but I think your assessment is quite uncharitable.

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@anon33247966 - I have one physical card and no virtual cards. When I try to add a virtual card, the app wants to charge me £5. This contradicts your explanation above. Please could you sort this out.

Here we go:

1st card, physical or virtual: no fee for issuance.
2nd card, physical, or virtual: fee for issuance applies.


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Correction: 1st card if it’s virtual is free! If it’s a physical one is 5£.

           Spare RevolutCard: Revolut Virtual Mastercard - £5 or currency equivalent

                              Revolut Mastercard - £10 (£5 Spare Card Fee + Standard Delivery £5) or currency equivalent
                              Global Express Delivery - UK (£12), Europe (€20), Elsewhere (€30) or currency equivalent
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Well, yes, I guess the confusing part is the difference between issuance fees and shipping fees.

1st card, physical or virtual: no fee for issuance.
2nd card, physical, or virtual: fee for issuance applies.

Additional shipping fees apply for physical cards.

I think we need a video explaining this :wink: