Weekend exchange-rate surcharge clarification


#1

The FAQ only has the following:

At the weekend (Friday 00:00 - Sunday 23:59) we apply a small mark up on the spot rate as the Forex markets are closed. We take the rate from Friday 00:00 and apply a 0.5% mark up on major currencies and 1.0% on other currencies to protect the company from potential losses due to a large fluctuation in the rate. For illiquid currencies Russian Ruble and Thai Baht, there is 1.5% mark up on weekend.

  1. Which timezone are your “weekend” hours in? UTC? Do you adjust for DST in the summer?

  2. Please provide a complete list of currencies you consider major, other and illiquid for the purposes of applying this surcharge.


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#2

@trulove Hey there! The hours are in UK time. They are adjusted with the time change. Major currencies are USD, EUR and GBP. All other currencies are “other”. Illiquid are Russian Ruble and Thai Baht right now.


#3

Thank you for your answer. I’m asking because a transaction in my account on Feb 11, 2017 (Sat) was converted at 1 USD = 29.7604 TWD, while the publicly reported mid-market rate was somewhere in the order of 30.90-31.10 at end of trading on Feb 9 (Thu), and the conversion rate I got for transactions on Feb 9 and 15 (Wed) was 30.9870 and 30.7320 respectively. Could you please let me know what mark-up applied to this transaction specifically?


#4

It appears to me that the mark up on this transaction was significantly more than the 1.0% I would have expected it to be. Could you please look into it @AndreasK? Thank you.


#5

Sure. Let’s get in touch via direct message so I can take a closer look into your account.


#6

Unfortunately the issue has not been resolved at all. I was charged not 1% but as much as 6% markup on the weekend transaction, and have yet to hear any explanation as to how this could have even happened.

Since my previous post on Tuesday, I was just asked some redundant questions and told to wait for a response by the end of the day. Four days have passed as it is Friday afternoon now and I have not heard from @AndreasK since. Also, in the meantime my attempt to follow up via a private message was ignored.

I probably should not expect to get an answer at all at this point, so the least I can do is to warn others. Based on the situation I experienced, I would strongly advise anyone to avoid using Revolut cards during their “weekend” period (which includes Friday) as the exchange rate can be unpredictable, and definitely need not adhere to the stated 1% markup policy.

As for being told to wait and then ignored by customer support, I don’t know how representative my experience is but you can treat it as a data point and draw your own conclusions.

The only silver lining here is that the transaction amount was small as I was just beginning to use Revolut and evaluating its viability as a replacement of my other cards: an idea that no longer looks that appealing anymore.

I’ve also realized just now that there’s a plenty of other reports on this forum and elsewhere on the Internet about exchange rate discrepancies with Revolut. Ignore all this at your own peril.


#7

@AndreasK - Why is this Friday 00:00? Shouldn’t this be Saturday 00:00? Otherwise the markup is applied throughout all of Friday.

In any case, the FX markets close at 17:00 New York time on Friday, so there’s no need to wait until Saturday 00:00.


#8

We need to clarify, that we have responded to his query via a direct message, and clarified what has happened.

Our business is predicated on offering the best exchange rates available, which are offered by the spot interbank exchange rate.


#9

@trulove thank you for pointing this out. It has been now corrected

“At the weekend (Friday 23:59 - Sunday 23:59) we apply a small mark up on the spot rate as the Forex markets are closed. We take the rate from Friday 23:59 and apply a 0.5% mark up on major currencies and 1.0% on other currencies to protect the company from potential losses due to a large fluctuation in the rate. For illiquid currencies like Russian Ruble and Thai Baht, there is 1.5% mark up on weekend.”

Major currencies are the 3 base currencies GBP, USD, & EUR.


Help/Advice General Discussion
#10

Just to follow up and second trulove on this, yesterday in Costa Rica I took out 30000 Costa Rican Colons (CRC), which cost €53.14 Euro. The Interbank Rate at the moment says that should be €50.21. So I’m being charged about 6% higher. 2% of that is that I’ve used up my free ATM withdrawals for the month, and that’s fine, but I’m being charged an additional 4%, not the 0.5% - 1.5% you say (however you’re defining illiquid, The Colon is pegged to USD so it should be low risk, but maybe not in your categorisation). This is higher than my local Irish bank’s cost.

I also had to pay for my hotel here, which was 39865 CRC, at Interbank rate that should be €66.72, Revolut charged me €69.23. I was in Colombia previously, and again was being charged 4% on weekends.

I’ve no problem with the 2% for ATM, and I’ve no problem with Revolut making money, it’s a great service, and I use it extensively, but taking 4% consistently for weekends is an unreasonable way to do it. If you are taking on some FX risk over weekend, that’s understandable if you need to charge a buffer, but when it settles during banking hours you should reconcile the transaction back to actual cost. As I said, I’ve no problem with you making money, but given your selling point as being fair and clear and low cost, this is anything but those.


#11

To be clear, is it only at weekends that you get this surcharge? Are you given the Interbank rate on weekdays?


#12

Yes, I seem to. I haven’t checked every transaction, but I remember in Colombia a couple of weeks ago using the ATM, and when I checked using a currency app, for the amount I withdrew the amount I was charged by Revolut was the same to within 10 cents or so. I hadn’t used up the free Revolut ATM allowance and I was using an ATM with no surcharge.


Commission charged FX transactions?
#13

@Brendan @Geoffrey

Hi,

I can assure you that Revolut isn’t putting an extra markup to what we say on our FAQs.

Like many other banks and institutions we have a rates provider. Our rates provider is the market leader for providing these rates. The rate we provide you is the interbank bid rate when spending abroad (with NO MARKUP added except from what is stated on our FAQs)

The reason why you feel like you are getting extra percentage points charged is because in some cases (usually rare cases) the difference between the mid-market rate (as shown on XE) and the interbank bid rate can be slightly larger than expected.

What people see online is the mid-market rate, i.e. the average between the bid and offer rate. This is because when you go to search up a currency pair the website doesn’t know whether you’re looking to buy or sell that currency so it just gives the middle.

These interbank bid rates are usually quite hard to find online as they are mainly used by the largest mutual and hedge funds in the world as well as large multinational corporations who have millions (if not billions) of dollars. But Revolut is able to pass on this rate to you with no markup except for what is stated on our FAQs.


Daft question but.....
#14

OK, but the final result is that for some currencies such as the Colombian peso or Costa Rican Colon, the rates from your rates provider, at least at weekends, are worse than the rates provided by a bog-standard credit card which adds 2.75% to the MasterCard rate. This kind of negates a major unique selling point of Revolut, and makes cards such as Monzo or Loot, which offer the MasterCard rate, a better proposition for travellers outside of the USD and Euro zones, especially for travellers to Asia and Latin America, it seems.

I think most users of Revolut would be more than happy with the MasterCard rate, which is usually indistinguishable from the (apparently mythical) Interbank rate. Maybe Revolut should take the simple option of using MasterCard as its rates provider for purchases and cash withdrawals, and reserve its currency exchange provider for in-app currency exchange and for bank transfers. It would end this shenanigans with weekend surcharges and illiquid currencies which render Revolut less than transparent at times.


#15

Hi Geoffrey,

With each transaction there is an authorisation (which arrives at the time of transaction) and a presentment (which arrives a few days later).

We give you the interbank rate at the time of the authorisation. So we are completely transparent, the rate you see then will be the rate you get (subject to our Fair Usage Policy & weekend rates).

From our experience the rate other challenger banks provide is the rate at the time of the presentment. This means the rate you see at the time at the transaction may not be the rate you end up exchanging the money at. The rate will be at the time of the presentment a couple days later. In the current market there are so many fluctuations which could easily cause you to receive a worse rate even though at the time of the transaction the rate seems reasonable. Imagine spending pre-Brexit and getting the post-Brexit rate!

Additionally, we have seen that a lot of the time - the Revolut rate is better than the Mastercard rate. E.g.

At time of writing this:

At 11:50am Thursday 16th March:
Mastercard rate: 1 EUR = 1.063441 USD
Revolut rate: 1 EUR = 1.0727 USD

At 11:58am Thursday 16th March
Mastercard rate: 1 GBP = 4.492126 AED
Revolut rate: 1 GBP = 4.5047 AED

Also don’t forget about all the other cool features we offer, such as send/request money, categorisation, split bill, and some awesome security features!


Show Currency Exchange Rates for MasterCard and Visa
#16

@Geoffrey - the interbank rate is not mythical; you can see it here for major currencies. It can vary many times per second creating thousands of rates every day. Therefore when you compare Revolut’s rate with the interbank rate, the time needs to be the same. If you see a single static rate published for an entire day, it is not an interbank rate.


#17

And what about all the other 150+ currencies? There is still no way to know your so-called “interbank” rates in advance for any of them.

Also, is the link to that website anywhere in your FAQ or are you just sharing it now for the first time? I’ve certainly never seen it mentioned anywhere before. How are we as your customers supposed to know about it? And why should we be expected to go to a third-party website to find out Revolut’s exchange rates? Shouldn’t that be one of the “cool” features in your “awesome” app?

If this is what you call being “completely transparent,” then I’m afraid one of us is in dire need of a dictionary.

All the information that came out to light in this thread should have been on your website in the first place, linked from your homepage, alongside your current and historical exchange rates for all currencies. Besides, it should be made clear that the exchange rates in your app are not the ones that apply to card transactions. Only then could you possibly be transparent, although still not necessarily competitive, as pointed out by @Geoffrey.

Please spare us the marketing mumbo-jumbo. Nobody signs up for Revolut for the “categorization.” If your only strong points are supposed to be with the app itself, then why don’t you just sell the code to some other company that has a better idea what to do with it?

You are free to charge whatever fees you decide to but, considering that on your homepage it says:

[quote]Spend without fees

When using the RevolutCard, you will get the real exchange rate and spending is always free.[/quote]

Can you really fault your customers for not being ecstatic once they find out what the real “real exchange rate” is?


#18

@Geoffrey - I posted this link as an example so that you can verify that Revolut is using interbank rates at least for these major currencies and to demonstrate to you the nature of the interbank rate, i.e. that it constantly changes. Unfortunately I don’t know of a public source for other currencies.

I’m not running a web site, nor do I have an FAQ. And nor do I provide an app. Even if you direct your same comments at Revolut rather than at me, I don’t think you can expect Revolut to publish links to third parties. My guess is that Revolut’s liquidity provider (which I’m guessing is Barclays) isn’t strong in LatAm currencies.


#19

@NFH I mistakenly assumed it was written by @neil not you. My apologies.


#20

@neil
Revolut should reconcile weekend FX transactions on the Monday.

Also, note that of today, Revolut website still shows “Always get the real exchange rate” which is a clear lie. This should be fixed.