At Board of Innovation, we believe in the power of analogy thinking. While many business leaders are actively seeking ways to enhance their organization’s level of innovation, too few look beyond the horizons of their own industry. This means missed opportunities because often, the most effective way to innovate is to copy what works rather than trying to invent something from scratch. As Pablo Picasso once said, and we’ve repeated (a lot): “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
With this in mind, I decided to test Revolut‘s Metal Card and app to discover why customers are flocking to the challenger bank. Here are eight user-friendly, efficient, borrow-worthy features that you can use for inspiration.
What is Revolut?
In a few short years, fintech app Revolut has amassed more than 7 million customers in over 29 countries. The UK venture offers everyday banking, pre-paid debit cards, credit cards, medical and device insurance, currency exchange, cryptocurrency exchange, stock trading, and more – all via an easy-to-use app.
Why should you care?
Perhaps you shouldn’t. We all know that banking is a notoriously sticky business, and the majority of your customers probably wouldn’t switch even if they knew that there was a better solution out there.
But if you’re interested in capturing a new generation of users with certain expectations when it comes to frictionless user experience (and you’re serious about your ‘customer centric’ mission statement), it might not hurt to have a look. See if you can go beyond the expected essentials with your offering by implementing similar features.
Sounds like an essential, right? Believe me, easy registration is certainly not standard yet. I recently signed up for a bank account with Chase here in the US and received a home loan via BNP Paribas in Belgium. Each process took me a whole lot longer than the 1 minute required to sign up to Revolut.
Revolut makes registering for an account easy. Customers don’t need to visit the website or submit forms – sign-up is done entirely within the app, which means a new customer can register as soon as they get the inkling to. The process is simple and can be completed within 60 seconds (if you type fast) because the company has minimized the information consumers need to provide. We’ve recorded the process so you can see what we mean.
Self-managed card security
Lost your card? I average at least one lost wallet a year. But my Revolut account means I don’t need to panic or worry about calling customer service. The app enables customers to instantly block (and unblock) cards themselves at the flip of a switch. You can receive a physical replacement card within two days all over the world. And to protect yourself when purchasing online, you can even opt for a virtual card that changes after every use, so you never pay with the same card number twice.
Interbank exchange rate
Traveling a lot or working overseas? You will love this feature.
Revolut allows you to create multiple wallets in the more than 29 currencies the bank supports (you can make purchases in 140) and pay in the local coin when you’re traveling or living overseas (which comes in handy for our consultants). You can exchange your dollars into euros, pounds, or yen at the interbank exchange rate. This means no more expensive mark-ups.
While that’s all well and good, the TransferWise Debit Mastercard takes it to a whole other level by adding multiple bank accounts to one card so you can, for example, get paid into both US and UK bank accounts.
ALL THE TRAVEL SUPPORT
With the Revolut Metal plan, you get access to a whole suite of travel-related features, such as an overseas insurance plan, access to a concierge service, and you can even buy airport lounge passes in the app (the first one is free).
While we bet that most people hardly ever use these features, they’re still good examples of how Revolut’s trying to develop offerings that meet the needs of a specific target customer segment.
In mid-2019, Revolut launched a stock trading feature closely resembling that of US fintech Robinhood. It enables Revolut Metal members to trade Nasdaq and NYSE stocks without paying a commission fee or having to set up a separate trading account (free users get three free trades a month).
There is no minimum amount for transactions, and you can track the real-time prices in the app while leveraging certain basic trading features.
The company’s Analytics dashboard helps users monitor their budget. Customers can see a breakdown of their spending habits within the app to help them understand where their money goes and adjust their spending habits if necessary. The app divides purchases into categories such as shopping, services, general, health, restaurants, cash, insurance, and travel. You can also set yourself a spending budget to keep an eye on your behavior.
SPARE CHANGE FOR SOCIAL IMPACT
Revolut enables you to donate your spare change to a charity that you care about. When you spend $4.5 on a coffee, the app will round up to the nearest dollar and donate those extra cents to one of three participating charities – Save the Children, WWF, and ILGA-Europe.
If you’re not much of a coffee drinker, that’s fine. You can also set up one-off and recurring donations.
Buy & sell cryptocurrencies
And yet another valuable offering that Revolut uses to turn their app into a one-stop shop is cryptocurrency trading. The company enables consumers to quickly buy, sell, spend, or receive cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash. Additionally, you can see how much your purchases are worth in US dollars. The simplified, user-friendly format of this feature makes crypto-trading more accessible than ever. This offering is not a replacement for platforms like Coinbase where customers have their own wallets and can receive and send crypto – it simply makes it possible for consumers to take their first steps by having the bank hold the currencies on their behalf. It keeps things simple with trading features like auto exchange to allow customers to benefit from price fluctuations.
Why aren't established banks reacting?
We’ve noticed that some – not all – of the world’s largest banks are lagging behind nimble challengers like Revolut and similar companies such as N26 and Monzo. In my opinion, there are two key reasons for this:
1. They’re not aware of these solutions, so they’re still trying to invent when they could be copying. Experiencing your competitors’ services and trying to implement and improve on what works is often much more effective than gathering 40 people in a room to come up with ideas from scratch.
2. Their current business models don’t allow for some of the more innovative tactics employed by fintech startups and challenger banks. Adopting new strategies means their existing revenue streams might take a hit. For instance, banks have historically charged high mark-ups on exchange rates, so matching Revolut’s lower rates would (at first glance) be a difficult thing to sell internally.
But it’s worth heeding that famous Spanish painter’s advice. Find out what customers love about adjacent organizations and offer them something better.
Do you work in the finance industry? You might want to check out this list of 10 innovative fintech business model examples. Read it, find out what challengers are up to, and get ahead of them.