Digital bank Revolut announced this week the introduction of a significant new feature: auto currency exchange based on targeted exchange rates.
With the introduction this week of the Auto-Exchange feature, Revolut users can now choose to wait for improved exchange rates. Within the Revolut app, users can select the rate they’d prefer, and when (or if) the market reaches that level, Revolut will automatically convert funds at the same highly competitive exchange rates it always offers. Auto-Exchange applies to conversions between all 24 fiat currencies and all 5 cryptocurrencies covered by Revolut.
The functionality itself is not an innovation (“watch,” “firm” or “limit” orders have long been used in the FX and payments industries) but Revolut is among the cheapest money exchange services to offer it.
Per the company’s blog, from which it announced the introduction of Auto-Exchange, limitations will apply.
“When exchanging to or from any cryptocurrency in the app, there is a daily limit of €10,000, and once you’ve hit your limit, you won’t be able to make any more exchanges until the next day,” the Revolut team wrote.
Users will also be limited to 30 automatic exchanges per day.
Technically, Revolut is offering the equivalent of “market if touched” orders, which means that the achievement of an exchange rate will act as a trigger for a transaction; it is not a price guarantee. Since there is a slight delay between any trigger and a transaction taking place, transacted rates might differ from targeted ones when markets are moving rapidly. Revolut acknowledges this possibility and has controls in place to ensure that customers do not change currencies at completely unexpected rates.
“If the exchange rate moves more than 0.75 percent on either side of your target value for fiat currencies, or more than 5 percent on either side of your target value for cryptocurrencies, we won’t carry out your auto-exchange. Once your target value hits again, we’ll re-attempt the auto-exchange.”
In a slight twist, by way of this functionality, and by way of Revolut allowing users to configure targets that are worse than current exchange rates (you can choose to sell a currency that has fallen in value or buy a currency after it has risen), Revolut is opening the door to currency speculation.
Revolut continues to work on far more than functionality enhancements. The company’s ambition appears limitless, with reports suggesting it will soon enter the acquisitions space (Revolut’s careers page is advertising a number of M&A roles). It was only in December that Revolut obtained a European banking license.
“Acquisitions is definitely something that we’re open to,” Revolut’s head of legal, Tom Hambrett, told the Press Association this week.
As part of its aggressive expansion plans, Revolut is readying a Singapore launch and is expected to enter the Japanese, Canadian, US and New Zealand markets sometime in 2019.
For many currency routes, FX costs have been slashed in recent years by a number of industry-disrupting fintechs, allowing such firms to slice great chunks from the banking sector’s lucrative remittance markets. Banks are fighting back, though, by developing low-cost, digital offerings of their own.
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