Last updated on November 7, 2019
Today we have a super tip for travelers on duty 😉 We’ll tell you how to use Revolut card, what are the fees, whether it’s really worth it. All you need to know about Revolut card, you’ll find out on this post.
One of the interesting aspects of living in Europe is that you can take a flight and in less than 2 hours you will be in another country, with another language, another culture and sometimes another currency.
This last factor makes the life of travelers much more complicated.
As we live in Poland – which is a member of European Union but has not adopted the euro currency – when we traveled to other countries we always faced the following dilemma:
How to pay for our expenses during the trip? Is it better to exchange money at the exchange bureau or use the credit card?
Some of you have probably been through the same dilemma.
In this post, we will describe the option that we think it’s the best way to pay for things abroad: the Revolut card.
I will guide you through how you can use it during your trips abroad. Come with me!
A gentle introduction to Revolut card
Using cash while traveling is inconvenient. I know I don’t have to tell you why it’s incovenient, but just in case I will.
I just hate to:
- Search for a good money exchange bureau;
- Make an estimate of how much I’ll spend on the trip;
- And also worry about how to safely carry all that cash.
If you exchange money in excess then you’ll have to exchange it back to your original currency. If you lack money, you will need to look for the exchange bureau again…………..what a stress!!!
No doubts that using a credit/debit card is way more comfortable.
On the other hand, it is well known that credit cards usually charge very bad exchange rates. Before making the payment, you also have no way to know what exchange rate your credit card will charge.
Thus, you may end up turning your trip into a financial disaster!
And there it comes Revolut…
What is Revolut?
Revolut is a multi-currency prepaid card, and that means that you can have one account with balances in different currencies.
Revolut has many features, such as cryptocurrencies, insurance and vault. For us, the most important feature is the possibility of having your balance in a given currency (for example, pounds) and making purchases in other currencies (for example, euros) with very good exchange rates.
Therefore, we can say that Revolut has the best features of each of the traditional solutions:
- Great exchange rates, even better than in the exchange bureaus (more on this later);
- The convenience of being able to use a card and not having to carry large amounts of cash.
In the video below you can watch a brief introduction to Revolut.
How does Revolut work?
Revolut is a prepaid card, and that means you need to top it up before using the card.
So that means that I need to calculate how much I’ll spend during the trip and then top up Revolut with that estimated amount?
Worry you shall not (said Yoda), if there’s money left at the end of your trip you can easily transfer it back to your bank account, and most importantly, without fees!
But if you want, you can simply leave the money in your Revolut account. It won’t disappear 😉
Besides the convenience of being able to use a card, Revolut’s app is pretty damn good!
These are the coolest features in my opinion:
- Possibility to freeze / unfreeze your Revolut card. This is good in case you identify a transaction that wasn’t done by you. Then, you can simply freeze the card through the app, and then contact Revolut.
- Location-based security. The app uses your phone’s location to determine whether the payment you made is suspicious.
- Integrated chat through which you can ask questions about Revolut. I had some doubts at the beginning and I used the chat to clarify them. Once, Revolut’s bot (Rita) was able to help me out 🙂
- It has the current exchange rates between different currency pairs. This allows you to calculate in real-time how much something will cost you in your original currency.
- Automatic classification of expenses in various categories, such as cash, travel, and services.
Who can get a Revolut card?
Anyone over 18 who lives in any of the countries listed on Revolut’s website. In general, this list currently covers most European countries, such as Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, people living in other countries such as Brazil, India, Canada and Australia cannot apply for a Revolut card.
In the case of the United States, they plan to enter the US market soon. For now, they are offering early access to anyone who is interested.
Where can you use Revolut card?
It can be used in any establishment that accepts Visa and Mastercard. Besides that, the currency in which the payment will be made should be supported by Revolut.
ZWD, CKD, KID, PND, TVD, AMD, FOK, ERN, BTN, EHP, CUC, SHP, GGP, JEP, IMP, SDG, SYP, IRR, PRB, SOS, KPW
Is Revolut safe?
Yes, Revolut is safe. Not only the company is reliable, but they have many security features to protect our Revolut cards.
You can leave money in your Revolut account without worrying. Later on when you come back it will still be there.
Main benefits of Revolut
Revolut has many benefits. To save your time, I’ll mention only the main ones:
- Convenience of not having to carry big amounts of cash in a foreign currency
- Great exchange rates
- Spend and withdraw money abroad in more than 150 currencies
- Depending on how much you spend, you’ll pay no fees (check the next section)
- Useful app with many features such as the possibility to monitor your expenses, manage your card and currency converter.
Revolut is great not only because of the good exchange rates. Revolut has no tuition or anuity fees and it has practically no operational fees!
I have been using the card for 1 year and a half and I haven’t ever paid any fee.
The table below shows the main fees for using Revolut card:
|Issuance physical card||Free|
|Physical card standard delivery|
|Issuance virtual card||Free|
Top up charges
Pay with Revolut card or
0% up to €6,000 (or equivalent)
|Withdraw money at ATM||
0% up to €200 (or equivalent)
In order to know more about the fees, I suggest reading through Revolut’s FAQ.
How good are Revolut exchange rates?
When it comes to evaluating whether an exchange rate is good or bad, I usually ask for Google’s help (simply search for “1 pound to euros” and you will receive the rate used in the last transaction between banks).
I have decided to compare Google’s results with Revolut’s exchange rate and some London exchange bureaus that provide the online exchange rate.
According to travel.ui, these exchange bureaus are the ones with the best exchange rates in London.
Check out the analysis in the table below (data from 29/10/17):
to Google (%)
|Thomas Exchange Global||1.116,00||1.31 %|
|Covent Garden FX||1.115,00||1.40 %|
|Victoria Street FX||1.110,50||1.80 %|
Can you see how Revolut’s exchange rate is really incredible?
It is better than the rates offered by the exchange bureaus that were considered, and it’s quite close to the exchange rate displayed by Google.
Checking Revolut’s exchange rates in practice
When I started using Revolut, I traveled to Poprad in Slovakia and I decided to check how good Revolut’s exchange rates were in comparison to my Millennium’s debit card.
The following table shows a summary of the exchange rates I got in different situations. The rate of Revolut was the best one and it was quite close to the value of Google (data from 03/11/17).
If you’re on mobile, you can drag the table to see further columns.
to Google (%)
|Millenium card||0,2245||4,83 %||449,00||2227,17|
|Belianska Jaskyňa||0,2144||9,11 %||428,80||2332,09|
It is quite interesting to see that for a trip of 500 euros, I could save around 100 PLN compared to my Millennium card.
Not bad right?
Getting started with Revolut card
Revolut card’s delivery time
For the standard delivery, it should take up to 9 working days. If you’re in a hurry, you can get a express delivery, which should take 3 or 4 working days, depending on where you live.
How to use Revolut?
Using Revolut card is quite simple. The guide below describes the main steps that you usually do:
- Top up your Revolut card (Revolut app) before starting your journey;
- Use Revolut card during your trip just like you’d use any other card;
- You can also withdraw money in the local currency in ATMs;
- If necessary, you can top up your Revolut account at any time (Revolut app);
- At the end of the trip, you can send the remaining money back to your bank account (Revolut app).
This last step is totally optional, if you want to leave the money in your Revolut account, that’s not a problem either.
You can do everything through the app, which is great because it makes our life a whole lot easier.
What is Revolut’s virtual card?
Besides the physical card, you’re also able to have a Revolut virtual card. The issuance of your first virtual card is free of charge.
This type of card lives inside your app, and you can use it for online shopping only. Let’s say it’s an impossible-to-lose card 😉
The process for ordering a virtual card is the same as for ordering the physical one. You simply go to the ‘Cards’ section in the app, select ‘Virtual’ and choose a virtual card.
The card will instantly appear in your app.
Revolut also has a premium subscription for those who want to take advantage of extra benefits. Revolut Premium costs £6.99/month and the main extra benefits are:
- 3 exclusive card styles for you to choose from (silver, black rose and rose gold);
- Unlimited foreign exchange (you can pay for things using your Revolut as much as you want without paying for extra fees);
- Double ATM withdraws abroad (no fees up to €400).
Revolut Metal card
If you want to go even further than Revolut Premium, you can choose Revolut Metal, which costs £12.99/month.
It has all the Revolut Premium benefits, plus:
- A fancy metal card;
- Triple ATM withdraws abroad (no fees up to €600);
- Up to 0.1% cashback within Europe and up to 1% outside Europe on all card payments.
More about Revolut company
Revolut is a startup that was founded in London in July 2014. In July 2015 they launched the Revolut card.
How does Revolut make money?
I’m not a Revolut employee, so what I’m saying here is based only on what I’ve read through the internet and also based on my own guesses.
Revolut makes money in three main ways:
- They earn a nominal fee paid by merchants every time someone spends on a Revolut Card;
- The fees charged by Revolut covers the operations’ costs and probably still add up some profit to the company;
- The exclusive subscriptions (Premium and Metal) and Revolut for Business should also generate revenue for them.
- Revolut’s help centre
- Tips for getting started with Revolut
- More advanced tips about Revolut
- Revolut’s community
Other Revolut’s offerings:
- Vaults – easy way to put money aside for specific goals
- Budgeting made easy
- Perks – earn cash rewards for your spendings
- Mobile phone insurance
- Overseas medical insurance
- Revolut with Apple pay
- Give money to good causes with Donations
Revolut is another tool that aims to make our trips easier and cheaper. I would put it along with other tools that have also made the life of travelers easier, such as Airbnb, Uber, Transferwise, and so forth.
The company has been growing rapidly, and will soon expand to the entire world.
If you are unsure about putting your money and your trip in the hands of a new company like Revolut, do like us, adopt Revolut little by little.
Put a small amount of money on it before your first journey and try it out. At the same time, have another emergency card and some cash with you to give you extra security 🙂
How about you? Do you already use Revolut or have another alternative that is also interesting? Let us know about it in the comments below.