Over the past year, crypto has made a bit of a comeback. From lows of around NZ$24,000 in January 2023, the price of Bitcoin is now hovering close to NZ$70,000.
So while the initial hype surrounding all things crypto has subsided, it’s clear that if you’re willing to risk losing all your cash, there’s still money to be made taking a punt on Bitcoin, Ethereum or Dogecoin.
Here in NZ, the number of crypto exchanges allowing Kiwis to buy and sell crypto has shrunk since the peak of the pandemic’s cryptomania. However, there is a new player in town: Revolut.
The established digital wallet provider has recently added the ability to buy and sell a wide range of cryptocurrencies to its NZ platform. Here Canstar runs through the pros and cons of Revolut’s crypto service.
What is Revolut?
Revolut is a digital wallet provider. While Revolut is registered as a bank in Europe and the UK, in New Zealand it is not a bank. However, it works closely with local banks to allow payment between users and non-users, both overseas and domestically.
Revolut works like a traditional wallet. Once you transfer money from your bank account into your Revolut account (your digital wallet), you can use that digital currency as you would normal money.
Using the Revolut app, you can transfer between friends and family and overseas, pay instore or online and make ATM withdrawals (if you have a physical card).
Other benefits include:
- Easily spend money internationally by making an ATM withdrawal in over 150 types of currency, eliminating the need for a travel money card
- Send and receive payments in real time 24/7 with zero fees among app users
- Send money globally (across 200+ countries)
- Single-use virtual cards
- Split and settle bills without stress
And now you can also use your Revolut account to purchase cryptocurrencies.
→ Related article: What is Revolut?
Compare Travel Money Cards
Headed off overseas and looking for the best in money cards? Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular cards in New Zealand:
The display order does not reflect any ranking or rating by Canstar. This information is not an endorsement by Canstar of travel money cards or any specific provider. Information correct as of 20/09/23. For full pricing details see individual providers’ websites.
Revolut Crypto: what’s on offer
Revolut allow you to buy over 100+ of the most popular crypto currencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Ripple, Cardano, Avalance, Dogecoin and Polkadot.
Buying and selling through the app is quick and simple. However, there are a few things to consider before you start investing in crypto via Revolut:
You don’t actually own the crypto
When you buy crypto through Revolut, you don’t get access to the private cryptographic keys related to any cryptocurrencies you purchase. Revolut acts as your agent, and buys and sells on your behalf through it partner crypto exchanges, such as such as Coinbase or Bitstamp.
While you can buy and sell your crypto holding as you please, you can’t take your crypto currency and transfer it to your own crypto wallet.
You have no control over the crypto exchanges and digital crypto wallets holders Revolut uses
The T&Cs that come with Revolut’s crypto service are quite clear: “You acknowledge and accept that as your agent, we may appoint sub-custodians or wallet holders on your behalf, solely as we see fit. There won’t be any contractual relationship between you and our partnered cryptocurrency exchanges or any sub-custodian we appoint.”
You get no say in which exchange handles your crypto transactions or your custodial wallet holder. The implications of this are that Revolut will favour exchanges that benefit its own business model, not your best needs as a crypto investor.
→ Related article: Custodial vs. Non-Custodial Crypto Wallets
Revolut is clipping the ticket
As mentioned above, Revolut uses third-party crypto exchanges to carry out its cryptocurrency transactions. And, in the process, it adds its own charges.
As it states: “The price we show you for buying or selling a particular cryptocurrency is calculated based on our exchange rate… We calculate our exchange rate by taking the bid-ask spread that other cryptocurrency exchanges and over-the-counter trading partners offer us and applying an additional spread.”
Revolut’s exchange rate also doesn’t include any fees, which at time of writing were not the most competitive in the market:
- NZ$1.99 for exchanges up to NZ$133.56
- 1.49% of any transaction amount over NZ$133.56
Always make informed investment decisions
So while Revolut’s crypto service is super easy and convenient, it does come with caveats: a lack of control over how your investments are handled, and higher fees/charges.
When making any investment decision, even if it’s a wild stab-in-the-dark such as punting on the ups and downs of crypto currencies, it’s always important to go in with your eyes open to the risks involved. Do your research and compare products, fees and services.
If you are interested in investing, a great place to start is Canstar’s Online Share Trading Award.
Our latest award research compares online share trading providers on customer satisfaction, based on feedback from over 1000 Kiwi investors. To find out which online share trading provider delivers the best features, service and value for money, just click on the link below:
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce has three decades’ experience as a journalist and has worked for major media companies in the UK and Australasia, including ACP, Bauer Media Group, Fairfax, Pacific Magazines, News Corp and TVNZ. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.