As a population we have grown accustomed to having everything at the touch of a button, an instant society, so why should our banking be any different?
Two emerging banks, Revolut and N26, have created an offer to meet the modern consumer’s expectations.
In the last five years, banking has developed rapidly to be more accessible using up-to-date technology.
Despite this, much of the confusion remains with regard to hidden fees, currency exchange, and how to manage your money when you travel.
Consumers have expressed the need for more clarity surrounding their personal banking and a select number of business developers have listened to this need.
A plethora of personal banking apps have been developed offering a range of features and benefits, but which ones are worth the download?
These apps pose an interesting and progressive concept towards finance as they do not assume their customers are fixed to one residence or location, whereas globalisation proves otherwise.
The need is evident based on Irish Aviation Statistics alone. In 2018 approximately 36.5 million passengers passed through Ireland’s main airports; illustrating a 6.1% increase from the previous year.
The bottom line is that people travel more and they will continue to travel more frequently as transport technology develops.
So, why not reform our financial structure to facilitate our travels, not hinder them. Revolut is the latest online banking trend to crop up.
It was founded in 2015 with the aim to bring banking into the age of technology, giving more traditional banks a run for their money – pardon the pun.
It can be described as a digital banking app which offers the consumer app-based current accounts with the ability to transfer money in multiple currencies instantly, with no hidden costs.
It appeals to a wide demographic, from people who travel frequently, to those who find saving a difficult task, as well as those who enjoy honest convenient banking.
Revolut boasts numerous positive attributes such as holding up to 29 currencies in your account with the ability to exchange them instantly up to €6,000.
It also provides free foreign ATM withdrawals up to €200 per month for the standard account and features such as Pay Friends allow users to split bills as a group and transfer money to friends instantly.
N26 has a similar offer but differs on the basis of its account charges. The bank was established in Germany in 2015.
It is difficult to earmark one app as a better choice due to the fact that it boils down to personal needs and preferences.
For example N26 offers no charges on non-euro spending whereas Revolut charges 0.5% on spending over the value of €5,000 a month.
If you travel for work and could potentially spend an excess of €5,000 a month in foreign currency, N26 could be the choice for you.
Neither bank offers the opportunity to apply for loans, credit cards or an overdraft which may be too restrictive for some users.
The savings features are worth applauding as it is inevitable you are going to spend money, so you may as well save whilst you do so.
With regard to cryptocurrencies, N26 hasn’t developed an investing feature like Revolut’s as of yet. From a personal perspective, both accounts have similar offers and what appeals to one customer may not interest another.
Both will save you money when travelling abroad in comparison to your traditional bank account. I wouldn’t rely solely on either account due to the subject of loans and credit cards as it’s advantageous to have the option to apply for either.
The connectivity issues present in both apps can pose problems when trying to transfer funds in a hurry.
Both companies have a forward thinking ethos and it will be interesting to see the how they influence banking as we know it.
Nick Charalambous is a financial advisor with Alpha Wealth, independent financial advisors in Cork and Dublin.