Revolut: We want to get more of your money

Previously I’ve written a post explaining the benefits of using Revolut over a traditional bank. Well not anymore. This time i will be writing why i’ve decided not to use Revolut anymore – simply because it will not be worth it anymore.

Aside from the annoying emails wanting you to upload a new ID document and photo every couple of months, the only other information i am subscribed to receive from Revolut is their policy updates. This is how their last email looks like:

Hey <User>,

We’ve been talking with thousands of you about how we can help you get even more from your money.

We know you’re looking for easier ways to manage your spending everyday, not just when you’re abroad, and that saving a little money is always nice, too. So, we’re launching a brilliant new app to help you spend, save and invest with us, releasing new Rewards that bring you cashback and discounts from top brands, and working on lots more still to come!

As we invest in new benefits to bring you value everyday, we’ve taken a look at all of our features and made a few changes, mostly to the ones that aren’t used very often. This has meant a few updates to our terms and conditions, which you should know about.

The key changes are:

  • To give you more peace of mind, we’re adding more detail in our terms about how we “safeguard” your money.

  • You know that sinking feeling you get when you pay someone and moments later realise you put the wrong account details in? We’re addressing this by introducing an ability for our support teams to reverse some mistaken payments made into Revolut accounts.

  • As you probably know, if you exchange more than our free exchange limit in a month, you pay a fee. This limit is decreasing to 2000 BGN each month (which, our research shows, most of you won’t hit anyway). Above that limit, our fee will stay the same at just 0.5%, and we’ll let you know if an exchange will be subject to a fee. Our Premium and Metal plans still have unlimited exchange, as they always have.

  • You will continue to enjoy the same interbank exchange rates on weekdays. For exchanges at the weekend, we’re slightly increasing our mark-up for major currencies from 0.5% to 1%, to cover our risks when the market moves (as it has a bit recently). The mark-up for other currencies is staying the same – see the full list here. (Remember, you can avoid this fee completely by making an exchange on weekdays.)

  • Our most popular payment types, such as payments to Revolut users, domestic transfers and Euro transfers within the Single Euro Payments Area are remaining free. If you make any other transfer to an account outside of your country, your first payment each month is also remaining free, but after that there will be a fee of 1 BGN per payment.

  • If you make a transfer to a country that is not in its national currency, there will be a fee of 6 BGN for USD transfers (like US Dollars to Brazil) or 10 BGN for non-USD transfers (like GB Pounds to Brazil.) We’ll always let you know beforehand if a transfer you are about to make will incur a fee.

We’ve also made some other changes to make things simpler. You can find out all the details in our updated terms and conditions.These changes will take effect on August 12, 2020. If we don’t hear from you before then, they will apply automatically. If you want to close your account because of them, you can do that without charge, but we’ll be sad to see you go.If you have any questions, you can read our FAQ or contact our in-app customer support team.If you need more from your Revolut account, then take a look at our Premium and Metal plans, which offer unlimited FX and even more features, including Junior accounts, commission-free trading and more. You can upgrade by clicking here.

Thanks for being part of Revolut!

So, what’s the problem here? They are a for-profit organization and want to make money, right?
Yes, but they are degrading their service to do it. Let’s go through the changes one by one.

As you probably know, if you exchange more than our free exchange limit in a month, you pay a fee. This limit is decreasing to 2000 BGN (1000 EUR) each month (which, our research shows, most of you won’t hit anyway). Above that limit, our fee will stay the same at just 0.5%, and we’ll let you know if an exchange will be subject to a fee. Our Premium and Metal plans still have unlimited exchange, as they always have.

They are actually decreasing the limits 5 times. Until now the limit was 11500 BGN (5000 EUR). If no one hits them, why even bother decreasing them? What data did their research include? Did they count the accounts that people created and don’t use or only active accounts? Obviously the old limits were high enough so most people stayed under them, but the new ones are too low, even for my home country – Bulgaria. With the introduction of the new limits, a lot of the freedom that Revolut provided will be taken away. I have to note here, that even the banks that i use, don’t have fees for exchanging money using their online solutions. This way Revolut are forcing everyone to upgrade to their paid plans, even if they didn’t need it before.

Old Revolut limits

Okay then, they have limits and take fees above those limits, but hey at least they offer a great exchange rate, right? Well, not exactly. Here comes the second change:

You will continue to enjoy the same interbank exchange rates on weekdays. For exchanges at the weekend, we’re slightly increasing our mark-up for major currencies from 0.5% to 1%, to cover our risks when the market moves (as it has a bit recently). The mark-up for other currencies is staying the same – see the full list here. (Remember, you can avoid this fee completely by making an exchange on weekdays.)

Their exchange rates on the weekends weren’t exactly great from the beginning. Let’s take the exchange between EUR and BGN for example. I am using that combination as it’s relatively fixed and usually shouldn’t vary more than 0.01 in any direction. You can Google the history and you’ll see what i’m talking about.
Below is an image of the history, of the exchange rate between EUR and BGN in Revolut.

EUR – BGN exchange rates in Revolut

As you may notice, there are periodic drops in the rates – these happen every weekend. Not only that, but the drops are quite big – 0.03. Since the weekends are time to spend your money, if you need to do an exchange, you’ll be at a disadvantage. The example shows BGN and EUR, but this happens across all currency pairs. Even the banks that i use don’t do this. It’s better to use alternatives, if you’re going to exchange more than just a small amount of your currency.
As a comparison, the current exchange rate at Transferwise is 1.956 compared to 1.931 in Revolut. Even with their fee of 9 EUR, it’s better to use Transferwise, if you’re going to exchange more than 500 EUR. For 1000 EUR, the fees and the amount lost from the exchange rates of Revolut will be more than 25 EUR!

Our most popular payment types, such as payments to Revolut users, domestic transfers and Euro transfers within the Single Euro Payments Area are remaining free. If you make any other transfer to an account outside of your country, your first payment each month is also remaining free, but after that there will be a fee of 1 BGN per payment.

This one is pretty self explanatory – previously all transfers in all currencies were free, now there will be a fee of 1 BGN (0.5 EUR). However they do not say anything about register payments using their VISA/Mastercard in stores, so i count them as falling under the “other” transfer type. In this way my home bank wins, since payments with card are free, anywhere in the world.

If you make a transfer to a country that is not in its national currency, there will be a fee of 6 BGN for USD transfers (like US Dollars to Brazil) or 10 BGN for non-USD transfers (like GB Pounds to Brazil.) We’ll always let you know beforehand if a transfer you are about to make will incur a fee.

Again degradation of service – until now there were not such fees. While for normal users it’s unlikely to send a currency that is not the national currency, it’s quite inconvenient and there are cheaper alternatives – even PayPal. With PayPal, one would pay 2 (~3.4 BGN) USD for a card transfer in USD. However, if you want to send money in the national currency, it is still better to use Revolut than PayPal, as the latter has horrendous exchange rates.

Here’s a bonus rant about their cryptocurrency exchange.
Please don’t use it! Ever!
Aside from being absolutely closed to outside transfer for cryptocurrencies, they offer bad exchange rates. I will give an example with Ethereum.
On their exchange, they offer you 390 BGN (~195 EUR) for 1 Ethereum, while in fact ETH was well over 400 BGN (200 EUR). At the same time, if you want to buy ETH, they want 410 BGN (205 EUR). That’s a difference of 10 EUR! Look at the attached images for more information. At the same time, ETH was being traded at 204 EUR in real crypto exchanges. Don’t give Revolut your money in exchange for cryprocurrencies! They will just make huge profit from you.

That’s the end of my rant. I don’t think i will be using Revolut after the policy changes in August, since they will not be much different from my local bank.

We’ve been talking with thousands of you about how we can help you get even more from your money.

We want to help ourselves to even more of your money!

Schedule for receiving MEXT scholarship 2020

1ST SIGNING PERIOD1ST PAYMENT DAY2ND SIGNING PERIOD2ND PAYMENT DAY
April 20201-8 Apr28 Apr9-22 Apr20 May
May 20207-8 May27 May11-22 May15 Jun
June 20201-3 Jun22 Jun4-22 Jun15 Jul
July 20201-3 Jul22 Jul6-27 Jul18 Aug
August 20203-5 Aug25 Aug6-24 Aug11 Sep
September 20201-2 Sep17 Sep3-26 Sep15 Oct
October 20201-6 Oct28 Oct7-26 Oct17 Nov
November 20202-5 Nov25 Nov6-24 Nov15 Dec
December 20201-4 Dec22 Dec7-21 Dec21 Jan
January 20216-8 Jan28 Jan12-22 Jan16 Feb
February 20211-3 Feb24 Feb4-22 Feb11 Mar
March 20211-2 Mar17 Mar3-26 Mar15 Apr

C#.NET Development on Windows and MacOS Using Visual Studio Community Edition

This is the beginning of my C# development series of articles. As such, i will make a classic “Hello, World” example application.

I am going to use Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 Community edition to write and compile my C# code. Right now it’s free for everyone and if you’re on Windows, i recommend downloading and installing it – it will make your life a lot easier. You can download it from here. If you are on Mac, there is a Visual Studio version for that. If you’re on Linux – you can download Visual Studio Code from the same page.

When installation is finished and you start Visual Studio, you will be presented one of the following launcher screens:

Launcher for Visual Studio on MacOS
Launcher for Visual Studio on Windows

From here, select “Create a new project” for Windows users or “New” for MacOS users. On the next screen you will be able to choose between many different types of projects. For this example we will need to choose C# Console App.

After that click next, give your project a name and finish by clicking “create”.

You will now end up with some automatically generated code which looks like this:

using System;

namespace Test
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
        }
    }
}

Actually we’re done – we’ve just finished making our “Hello World!” application. You can run the program by clicking on the Debug menu(Run menu on MacOS) and selecting Start Debugging or alternatively you can hit F5 on the keyboard.

Previously, the console applications would close their window upon completion, to change this you can use a little “hack” – add Console.ReadLine(); right beneath the Console.WriteLine. This will make the program wait for user input and will not close the windows, since it hasn’t completed yet. Once this is done your final code should look like this:

using System;

namespace HelloWorld
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
            Console.ReadLine();
        }
    }
}

On the latest version of Visual Studio, this is already taken care of, so you don’t need to add the Console.ReadLine(); code.

With this, the tutorial of creating a ‘Hello World’ application using C#.NET is finished. I will be posting more C# tutorials in the future.
I hope this article was of some help to you beginner coders out there. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

How to fix configure: error: C compiler cannot create executables after pod install on MacOS

Hey everyone.
Recently i decided to get into development of native mobile apps using React Native.
React requires a Ruby gem called Cocoapods, which on it’s side requires GCC (Gnu C Compiler) to compile and install properly.
If the GCC is not configured properly, it will result in the error “configure: error: C compiler cannot create executables”.

To fix this error we will need 3 things:

  • Install XCode
  • Install XCode command tools
  • Configure XCode to use the installed command tools correctly

You can Install XCode by downloading it from the App Store.

Installing the command tools can be done by executing the following command in the terminal

xcode-select --install

If you have an old version of the command line tools, you can update them with the following command:

sudo rm -rf /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools
xcode-select --install

As a last step, you have to open XCode, go to the menu “XCode->Preferences”, the “Locations” tab and choose an item from the dropdown menu near “Command Line Tools”, as shown in this image:

After that you can run “pod install” again and you’ll be greeted with a happy green “Pod installation complete!” message.

Are iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus still relevant in 2019 – is it worth buying?

The tenth generation of iPhone – iPhone 7 and iPhone 7+ were released on 16th September 2016 and now being three years old. Succeeding the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as flagship devices, they were a huge success. Despite being the first iPhone to remove the headphones jack, they were some of the most selling devices well into 2018. Overcoming most of the shortcomings of the previous model, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are incredibly well designed phones and are absolutely worth buying even in 2019 – 3 years after their initial release. Usually after such period of time, most other phones become irrelevant and outdated, which definitely is not the case here.

The design:

The design itself is gorgeous. The home button – which has been completely removed from the iPhone X – no longer mechanically clicks on the iPhone 7. Instead of a mechanical click, the iPhone vibrates in a way that feels like a click. For those upgrading from previous iPhone models, this may feel a bit strange at first. But if you’ve been using a relatively modern Android device, you may be used to it.

We quite liked the old click. But after a few hours of using the iPhone 7, we had completely forgotten that it doesn’t click how it used to, and actually wouldn’t go back if we could.

Overall, the iPhone looks and feels a lot like the iPhone 6s. But with its new waterproofing and sturdier body, it definitely has enough new design qualities to make it worth the upgrade.

The display:

To start with, the iPhone 7 has the exact same display size and pixels as the 6s. This means it has a 1334 x 750 resolution and a pixel density of 326ppi (called “Retina” by the Apple marketing team). But don’t let the display size and pixels fool you, this display is definitely an upgrade. There are two key things the iPhone 7’s display has going for it. Firstly, it’s brighter and secondly, it has richer colour.

The iPhone 7 now supports DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut, which is used in 4K TVs and the latest iPad models. This makes the display look extremely vibrant, especially when binge watching that latest Netflix show or rewatching Game of Thrones for the 40th time on HBO Go.

The display is also around 25 % brighter than the iPhone 6s’ display, which is immediately noticeable. Its rich colours and brightness make it stand out, and it’s a clear upgrade from the 6s. That being said, it’s definitely not as beautiful as the iPhone X’s 5.8-inch OLED display that packs a whopping 1,125 x 2,436 resolution.

So, this screen is good, but not perfect. If you have any model below the iPhone 7, you’ll notice the upgrade immediately. But if you just broke your iPhone X, it may look a little dull in comparison. However, at half the price, the iPhone 7 screen is a real bargain.

The camera:

With the iPhone Xs arriving on the market sporting dual 12MP wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4 aperture) cameras, it can be hard for any other cameras on the market to compete with it. But the iPhone 7 camera is still incredible, and real value for money. Not only did Apple keep some of the great aspects of the 6s, but they piled on optical image stabilization (OIS) and made the aperture wider (ƒ/1.8 aperture).

We could say plenty about the iPhone 7’s camera. It looks good when the sun is out. The OIS works incredibly well for on-the-move shots. And the images look simply fantastic on the colour-rich screen. But, it’s the low light that takes the cake. Gizmodo called the iPhone 7 “The Best Smartphone For Photos” back in 2016. And most of that was due to its low light photos.

In summary, not only does the iPhone take some killer photos that look impressive on the colour-rich display, it also takes wonderfully crisp low-light photos. And it shares the same low-light capabilities with some of its predecessors, possibly giving you the most value for money when it comes to smartphone cameras.

The performance:

In terms of performance, the leap from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone 7 was massive. Benchmarks have each Apple device outperforming the last (with the unusual case of the iPhone SE sitting right in the middle). However, the single-core and multi-core capabilities of the iPhone 7 are far better than those of the iPhone 6s.

The Apple A10 Fusion chip was a game changer for the smartphone industry. And it was the top dog until the iPhone 8 decided to bust out the A11 Bionic chip. There’s really not much that the iPhone 7 can’t do in terms of performance. Whether you feel like playing a mobile game or editing a photo Photoshop mobile, the iPhone 7 has your back.

From browsing and gaming to photo editing and music, the iPhone 7 lets you say goodbye to slow interfaces and laggy screens. It’s hard to really get across how fast the iPhone 7 was for its time. No other phone came close to it.

Despite the myths surrounding Android’s performance dominance, the iPhone 7’s performance beat every other device when it was launched. AnTuTu’s performance benchmark put the iPhone 7 at a whopping 174,301 — while the Galaxy S7 Edge scored 158,313. In fact, the iPhone 7 still outperforms many recently launched devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy A70 and the Xiaomi Mi 8.

In conclusion, the iPhone 7 still packs a serious punch with its Apple A10 Fusion chipset. It outperforms many of the smartphones currently on the market, and that’s not all – it also has an incredible battery.

Battery life:

Good performance means poor battery life, right? Not necessarily! The iPhone 7 has a few tricks up its sleeve. For starters, it has four cores. But it separates them based on what you’re doing. So, two cores are reserved for intensive activities, and the other two are reserved for simple things like checking emails and texting. This helps conserve energy when you’re conducting simple tasks.

The iPhone 7 also simply has a larger battery than the 6s – giving it more power. Predictably, the iPhone 7’s battery isn’t up to par with the 8 or X series. However, it still lasts plenty long.

Finally, according to Apple, the iPhone 7’s battery lasts 2 hours longer than the iPhone 6. This isn’t quite the case, though. Upgrades to the A10 Fusion chip and the larger battery give the iPhone 7 more oomph than its predecessor. But, more raw power and a better screen can drain the battery just as quickly. In most tests, the iPhone 7 performs around 10% better than the iPhone 6s. Given the power boost, that’s a great deal.

Conclusion: are the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus worth buying in 2019?

The answer: Yes! The iPhone 7 is an incredible phone whose current price is mind-bogglingly low. At almost a third of the price of the 8 series, the iPhone 7 is a great smartphone and offers real value for money. If you always want to have the newest and best smartphone, the iPhone 7 may not be for you. But if you’re looking for a great budget device that lets you do what you need, the iPhone 7 is a safe choice. You’ll get even better value for your money if you shop refurbished!

Source: https://swappie.com/en/is-the-iphone-7-worth-buying-in-2019/