Banking is one of my biggest pet peeves in Malta. The banking system is an absolute mess. Being a foreigner (the big F word in Malta) puts you at an instant disadvantage, but even things like the online banking, customer service and the mobile apps are miles behind other developed countries. But I have found a quick and easy solution to bank problems in Malta.
Bank Problems in Malta
APS doesn’t even have a mobile app, BOV does but it’s incredibly limited. Internet banking is almost unusable. BOVs goes down for a while every day around 5PM, so you cannot access your accounts. It takes 5-7 working days to update transactions. Customer service is slow and unhelpful. They don’t have any authority or permissions to do anything. If you lose a card, good luck getting a new one within 3 weeks. If you’re abroad and you have issues, just good luck! If you’re a foreigner and you want a visa debit card, HAHA. Need to pop into the bank? Don’t even bother. They open on part time hours and never have enough staff so you’ll be waiting for at least an hour, often longer.
In short, bank problems in Malta are something you have to work around. Something to try and survive. So when my boyfriend told me about Revolut, I was super excited. There are a number of different companies doing a similar thing but Revolut has exploded recently as they just do everything that little bit better. There are a bunch of reasons to use Revolut and they have so many features and services but I’ll talk through the bits that I love.
What Bank Problems Does Revolut Solve?
Revolut is an online banking service authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011. You download the mobile app, set up an account and receive your debit Mastercard within, generally 3 business days. Revolt reached Unicorn status this year, just 3 years after launching, making them one of the fastest ever companies in Europe to get there. Their app is what banking has always needed.
Revolut solves a lot of banking problems that you’re likely to experience in Malta. The biggest being:
- instant balance updates
- transparent mobile app
- free cash withdrawals
- great exchange rates
How I use Revolut in Malta
I get paid into my BOV account. As my company uses BOV, it makes the salary transfer process as easy as possible. I transfer anything I want to save into my BOV savings account. I then upload around €200, instantly into Revolut. I just click ‘Top Up’ insert my card details (which it’ll remember for next time) and the cash appears instantly in Revolut.
This act of transferring an amount already helps me keep a closer eye on how much I’m spending. Then each transaction sends a notification to my mobile so nothing ever goes unnoticed. I often check the Analytics to see where I’m spending my money each month, so I know exactly where I can cut back or improve. Then throughout the month I top up as needed.
Free Revolut Account
Some of my favourite features include:
- CONTACTLESS (not that anywhere in Malta knows what this is yet, but it’s fun when travelling!)
- app updates instantly with all transactions (none of this ‘book balance’ vs ‘available balance’ and waiting 5 days to see what transactions are pending)
- it sends notifications to your phone when money goes in or out
- super handy analytics feature which helps you visualise how/where/what you are spending
- you can freeze and unfreeze cards at a tap of a button (really handy if you think a card is lost, but then find it again!)
- €200 free cash withdrawals per month (in Malta if you have a BOV card but withdraw at an HSBC ATM for example, you’ll be charged €4)
- industry best exchange rates
- request money from friends
- instantly send money to friends
- split bill
I love how user-friendly and informative the app is. I really like that I can see all transactions as soon as they have been made and analytics helps me understand how I’m spending my money, thus helping me manage it much better. If I need to borrow cash from a friend (so many places in Malta still don’t accept cards!) I can Revolut it to them and it’ll appear instantly in their Revolut account. If a friend owes me money, I can request it, sending them a reminder and allowing them to pay right away. If a group of us are having lunch, or dinner, one of us can pay then ‘split bill’ enter our phone numbers and request our share from each of us.
Revolut Premium- is it worth it?
Revolut is a free service but an extra paid Premium service also available. Premium gets you even more amazing features like:
- comprehensive travel insurance
- 2x standard limit on free ATM withdrawals
- free global card delivery within 3 days (especially great if you lose your card when travelling!)
- 24/7 support
- discounted device insurance
- cryptocurrency exchange
- free unlimited FX
- spare change round up
- wider choice of card designs (I am OBSESSED with the pink one!)
As someone who travels a lot both for work and for pleasure, the monthly fee is already worth it just to make sure I am always insured. I checked over the policy and it’s as fully covered as you could hope from any plan. I also sleep a lot more soundly knowing I can get a new card delivered to me, almost anywhere in the world, within just 3 days.
To save into your vault you can set a recurring payment, daily, weekly or monthly. Or you can use one of my favourite things ever; spare change roundup. This will round up every transaction you make to the nearest € and pop those extra pennies into your vault. Over a month this can be a really nice little change savings pot. And if you want to accelerate those savings you can, by choosing to multiply the roundup by x2, x3, x4, x5 or x10. So if, for example, you spend €1.50. Automatically the roundup will round up the transaction to €2 and put the extra €0.50 into your vault. If you have the accelerator on x3, it’ll actually put €1.50 into your vault.
Should I use Revolut in Malta?
In short, Revolut makes banking in Malta totally stress free. Their app is perfect for keeping track of my spending. I save without realising by having spare change roundup and the x5 accelerator. Cash withdrawals are free, so I don’t have to panic about not being able to find the right cash point (we have hardly any in Malta and a €4 charge to withdraw from the ‘wrong’ ATM is hard to swallow!) and being able to transfer cash to my friends instantly and split bills in just a few taps of the app has really taken some of the little, but common stresses out of life.