So, Why Should You Use the Revolut Card?
As regular readers will know, I’m in a lucky position where I get to travel with both work (as a hotel consultant) and also as part of my role running this website. I’m embarrassed to say that until 2 months ago I had never signed up to a 0% FX fee card. That was until I decided to test the Revolut card on a recent trip to Cyprus.
One of the main reasons I’d signed up to the Revolut travel card was because whilst I could claim back expenses with work, the system we use only provides spot FX figures and because I was using my American Express Gold card which comes with an overseas spending fee of 3%, I was consistently losing out…
With the first Revolut card launched in 2015, the team have been extremely busy increasing the number of active users of the Revolut prepaid card, which now sits at over 2 million. This has turned the Revolut prepaid card into one of the UK’s largest unicorn businesses, with a recent funding round raising $250 million and valuing the company at a heady $1.7 billion.
With the promise of a slick app-based interface, the ability to convert currency at the best possible rates and zero fees when spending abroad, I’d be crazy not to give the Revolut card a go… or would I?
Let's break this post down...
What is Revolut?
I thought I’d start this Revolut card review with a look at how the Revolut card has developed since it began life back in 2015 as well as the future for the Revolut prepaid card.
Revolut is a digital challenger bank which began life in Level39, a financial technology incubator in Canary Wharf. The company was launched by Nikolay Storonsky and Vladyslav Yatsenko with the vision to create the first multi-currency card – now known as the Revolut card.
Revolut offers an app-based platform providing a digital wallet and a linked plastic Revolut MasterCard or Visa card. The digital wallet element of the Revolut card enables you to exchange your money for any foreign currency fee-free. The Revolut travel card offers the ability to hold 25 currencies (including GBP, USD and EUR to mention just a few).
Revolut have recently launched the Revolut current account and the ability to access cryptocurrencies through the exchange, which I’ll touch upon in more detail later on in this review.
Now how does this compare to other 0% fee travel cards like the Santander Zero card? Well the Santander card bases its exchange rate on the MasterCard rate. This is slightly worse than the interbank rate you’ll receive with the Revolut card.
Why Should You Get the Revolut Travel Card?
For those spending money in the UK, one of my favourite cards is the (free for the first year) American Express Gold Card due to its incredibly generous sign-up bonus and ongoing earning rate (you can read my review here). However for those travelling abroad, the 3% foreign exchange fee is poor especially when there are products such as the card by Revolut which offers zero fees on international spending.
FX Charges – What’s more is that with the Revolut prepaid card you’ll receive inter-bank rates as opposed to the MasterCard rates which aren’t as competitive. Inter-bank rates is essentially the rates that the banks receive and as such it doesn’t get any more competitive.
Numerous Accounts – The Revolut card allows you to hold accounts or ‘wallets’ with various currencies – this is a massive perk for someone who travels regularly or receives money in different currencies. I hold both euros and dollars in my wallet alongside a few pounds in my Revolut current account.
Flexible Payments – Your Revolut account offers a number of methods in which you can make payments. These include MasterCard/Visa for card transactions, transfer directly using the app or withdraw up to £200 in cash per month (2% fee over £200).
Speed – Another of the Revolut perks is the speed at which you can transfer money. All you need to do is connect up your bank account and load funds to the app. You can then make payments in 25 different currencies in seconds.
Protection – With the ability to receive notifications whenever you spend on the card it’s possible to keep a close eye on your account. You can change your pin for your Revolut card at the touch of a button as well as blocking the card if you see anything suspicious going on.
One final point I’d highlight at this stage of the Revolut review is that Revolut is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), which means that the money you deposit is protected in a Barclays account. So, if for some reason there were ever a problem with the providers of the Revolut card, your money would be protected.
How Does Revolut Work?
To sign up to the Revolut card you will need to sign up to the Revolut app and confirm your account using your mobile number. From that point you’ll be able to add money from your bank account. You can also use a credit card to top up the Revolut account. This may be useful for those who want to use credit for their international spending, although there is a 1% fee.
The money will then sit in your Revolut account in pounds (if that’s what you used to top up with) and you can then transfer into a different currency at the interbank exchange rate. This will allow you to move money when you believe the exchange rates may be in your favour. By the same reasoning, you can exchange currencies in advance of a trip to avoid receiving a worse exchange rate closer to the time.
Similar to the likes of PayPal, you will need to provide verification of your identity should you want to spend over £500 with the Revolut card.
Finally, if you’re planning on using the card in shops, you’ll also need to apply for the card through the app. This was the main reason I signed up to the card. You can receive the card for free (compared to a £4.99 delivery fee) if you use this link and top up £10 on the card.
It’s not a ‘Revolut credit card’ which means you will need to top the Revolut card up each time (a bit like a bank account) whenever you want to use it. Just make sure you top it up before you leave your hotel if you’re outside of the EU to avoid extortionate mobile and data costs!
The app is easy to use and provides the following key functions:
- Accounts: View the accounts of up to 25 currencies you hold, with balance and transaction history.
- Payments: Transfer money to 25 countries at the interbank exchange rate (this is a massive perk if you usually use a high-street retail bank, where the rates you receive can be terrible).
- Spending habits: You can analyse your spending by country, merchant and transaction type.
- Manage cards: Block or freeze your Revolut cards at the touch of a button.
- Pay friends: Easily split bills or pay friends using the app.
What Else Do I Need to Know About the Revolut Card UK?
You must be 18 or over to apply for the Revolut prepaid card.
The Revolut card isn’t just available to those who live in the UK. You can also apply for a Revolut account if you are a legal resident in any of the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The Revolut card isn’t just available for the 25 currencies you can hold on the card. One of Revolut’s best features for truly international travellers is that it actually allows you to spend fee-free at the interbank rate in 150 currencies.
According to the oracle that is the Evening Standard the average family holiday costs a total of £2,417 with £4,800 spent per household on holidays each year (see article here). If a family was to switch from a standard credit card with a fee of 3% to the Revolut prepaid card they could save somewhere in the region of £144. That’s more than just a few ice creams!
What Are the Costs of the Revolut Prepaid Card?
The standard Revolut account is free and provides the following features:
- Free bank transfers in 25 currencies
- Interbank FX rates
- Free Euro IBAN account
- Free USD checking account
- £200 fee-free ATM withdrawals (per month)
- NOTE: The card usually comes with a £4.99 delivery fee. You can avoid this cost by using this link and topping up £10 in the first month.
Revolut Card Pros and Cons
Let’s start with the Cons of the Revolut card:
- As Revolut are not able to access the FX markets at the weekend, they have to pass on the risk of currency fluctuations by charging a fee of between 0.5% and 1.5% if you spend on the card on either Saturday or Sunday. You could get round this by taking out cash from an ATM machine on a Friday.
- This leads onto the second negative. You can only withdraw up to £200 per month from an ATM on the card before you are charged a fee.
- Also for big spenders, once you spend over £5,000 in a month you are charged a fee of 0.5%.
Now on to the Pros
I have to admit I’ve spent most of this post running through the various benefits of the Revolut prepaid card and really want to avoid repeating myself. As such I’ll let you decide what the numerous benefits of the Revolut card would be to you!
The Revolut Premium Review
To attract higher-spending customers, Revolut have recently launched the Revolut Premium card.
The “metal” card, so named because it is mostly made of steel, offers a concierge service and a number of other improved Revolut perks including free travel insurance and up to 1% cashback! A full list is set out below:
- Free unlimited FX & international transfers
- Free premium card
- Free travel insurance
- Free global card delivery
- Free disposable virtual cards
- Double free ATM limits
- Instant access to crypto
- Discounted device insurance
- Priority support 24/7
- Special offers
FAQ – Revolut Card Review
Is Revolut Safe?
As I mentioned earlier, the Revolut current account is regulated by the FCA and as such protected if something happens to Revolut. Revolut have also recently released virtual cards to be used online. Essentially these allow for one-time payments online and once Revolut detect the transaction they will automatically destroy the card details.
How to use Revolut?
The Revolut card is simple to set up and use. Simply sign up using this link to receive free shipping (saving £4.99). Then download the app to your smartphone, entering your details and confirming your account using your mobile number. You can then connect your bank account to the Revolut account and deposit funds. You can either transfer these straight to an alternative currency or keep in the depositing currency and then receive the interbank rate at the time of spending on the card.
How does Revolut make money?
There are a couple of ways that Revolut make money. These are predominantly from the subscription fee as well as the fee paid to the retailer every time you spend on the Revolut prepaid card.
Don’t just believe what we say – Revolut Reviews
No Revolut review would be complete without including third-party opinions. Take a look at the Revolut reviews on Trustnet:
As you can see there’s a bit of a split between the Revolut card reviews on Trustnet. 70% believe that the card is excellent (at the time of writing this Revolut review) with 18% saying it is bad. Strangely, very few sit in the middle!
Is there a Revolut credit card?
The long and the short of it is that the Revolut credit card does not exist. You can take out a loan with Revolut at 9.9% but we’d strongly recommend against this.
What is Revolut crytocurrency?
Revolut became the first challenger bank to allow customers to buy cryptos in its app, making it easier for anyone to use cryptocurrencies. What are the main functions?
- Buy, hold & exchange 5 cryptocurrencies instantly at the best possible rates. (BTC, ETH, LTC, BTCash, XRP)
- Automatically spend from crypto if you don’t have money in your account.
- Instantly transfer crypto to other Revolut users.
When will your Revolut card be delivered?
Signing up to your Revolut card takes less than 5 minutes. Unfortunately you will have to wait for that plastic card to arrive. You can receive free postage (saving £4.99) by using this link. The Revolut card should be dispatched the following working day although postage can take 3-4 working days.
Summary – Revolut Review
At Thrifty Points we review various credit cards, however most are linked to their ability to earn cashback, points or air miles on your monthly spending.
If you’re purely seeking to use the Revolut card in the UK then there are other cards in the market that offer better sign-up bonuses and ongoing spending benefits. The (free for the first year) American Express Gold Card offers a 20,000 air miles sign-up bonus which would be enough for two people to fly to Paris as well as 2 free lounge passes. You can increase your sign-up bonus to 22,000 points by using this link. Take a look at my recent review here to see how you can fly first class using the American Express Gold Card and BA Premium Card.
However, if you’re planning on using a card abroad then the FX rates of the Revolut card are excellent and the app-based interface is simple to use. Remember it’s not a credit card so you’ll have to preload the card each time you want to use it – if you’re outside of Europe make sure you do this when you have Wi-Fi to avoid costly data roaming fees.
Remember you can reduce the £4.99 delivery fee for the plastic card if you use this link to sign up. I hope you’ve found this Revolut review useful and as always please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any comments or queries.