Why we tore up our terms and conditions

Tom Hambrett

 · 05/28/2019  · 05/28/2019

We have updated our terms and conditions so they are (slightly) less boring and a lot easier to read and understand.

Earlier this year we published our tone of voice guidelines as a public commitment to always communicate with you in a clear and easy to understand way. This got us thinking about our terms and conditions. Shouldn’t you be able to understand the how, what, and why of our legal relationship, without having to trawl through mountains of legal jargon?

It would be a mammoth task, but one which we all agreed could not, and should not, be ignored.

What problem are we trying to solve? 👇🏻

Studies show that hardly anyone reads click-to-agree online contracts. The former CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority, Martin Wheatly once joked that financial services companies often have terms and conditions longer than Hamlet 🎭😴. The Guardian, too, reports that it would take an average person nearly 250 hours to read all of the digital contracts they enter each year. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Mobile Consumer Survey, this is a trend that does not seem to be improving.  

A European Commission report looked at ways to solve this issue. It found that shortening, simplifying and seeking an independent quality check of terms and conditions results in more people reading them, those people having a better attitude towards them, and there being more trust in the company.

With this in mind, we tore up our old terms and conditions and rewrote them from scratch. While my colleagues in other teams don’t seem to be as excited by our terms and conditions revamp, for the legal team, this is our Sistine Chapel, our pièce de résistance. And no one is going to take the limelight away from us.

What have we done? 😎

There are always conflicting forces at play in a task like this. We wanted to make our terms and conditions as short and as simple as possible, while still ensuring that we were complying with our legal obligations. We’ve tried our best to get the balance right. Here’s an overview of what we did:

  • Significantly reduced the word count. For example, for retail, they have reduced in length by over 75% - that’s equal to nearly a two hour reduction in overall reading time - enough time to watch the Game of Thrones finale and spend 40 minutes complaining how you could have written a better season!
  • Removed legal jargon and used plain, straightforward English that we hope everyone can understand.
  • Used a new “Question and Answer” format, so that you don’t have to scroll through reams and reams of text to find the answer that you’re looking for - we hope to have combined transparency with speed!
  • Built a brand new legal section of our website which is easier to navigate and is mobile friendly.

These changes are as a result of solid logic, good data and have all been rigorously tested before launch. The team gathered a load of qualitative and quantitative data to understand our users’ existing experiences with our current terms and conditions. This involved surveying our customer support team and other staff and assessing the root cause of some of our customer support queries to pinpoint the areas within the terms and conditions that required an overhaul.

It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world 💎💎💎

We then rewrote our terms and conditions and obtained a ‘Crystal Mark’ accreditation by the Plain English Campaign. The Plain English Campaign has been fighting for crystal-clear communication since 1979 - so we’re confident that these guys have read their fair share of click-to-agree contracts over the years. This Crystal Mark means that the pros think our terms and conditions can be easily understood by you, our intended audience. This is a reassuring confirmation that our new terms and conditions have the necessary clarity and transparency required to ensure that we have communicated our legal relationship with all of our customers.

Why should you care? 🤷‍♂️

In all seriousness, our terms and conditions are really important. They define the relationship between you and us. We know this relationship inside and out. But we see users who don’t always know this as well as they could, or deserve. Knowing your rights is important when something goes wrong (not that we expect it to). Not only is this change in your interest, it also helps us (especially our support team) if you understand our relationship better.

We pride ourselves on providing a product that is transparent and allows you to understand exactly what the service is that you’re getting. We’re now building this approach into every detail of our interactions with you, starting with the most important part, our legal relationship.

When do the new terms and conditions apply? 🤔

If you signed up to Revolut before 28 May 2019, these terms and conditions will be effective from 28 July 2019. Please see a copy of the older terms here. If you signed up to Revolut after 28 May 2019, these terms and conditions apply to you.

You don’t need to do anything as these changes will automatically apply to you. If you don’t want to accept them, you can contact us via in-app chat to close your account.

A huge team effort 🙌🏻

Delivering the terms and conditions overhaul has required a huge team effort. A massive thank you to everyone in my team, our super creative designers and very talented engineers who have all worked tirelessly so that we can deliver on our goal of providing transparent, easy to use and easy to understand legal information.

Our new terms are available for your reading pleasure on both the Revolut website, and in-app under Profile > Terms & Conditions. Let us know what you think. Happy reading!