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17 February, 2020 / Mon, 4:58 am

Date: 06.08.2019.

Revolut - Take money abroad and convert currency at the best possible rates

Spend money across the globe without any fees

revolut-card
revolut-card

The most significant benefits of using Revolut are the ability to convert currency at the best possible rates, transfer money internationally for nothing, and spend money across the globe without any fees.

Whether you take the occasional trip overseas or you’re a regular international traveler, you know one thing is for sure—you’ll have to use a foreign currency at some point.

In doing this, it means either exchanging your money into the local currency at an inflated rate or using your credit card and hoping for the best.

Well, there’s a better way.

What is Revolut?

Revolut launched officially in 2015 as a result of funding from some of the investors behind businesses like Facebook and Skype. It’s a company that allows you to spend money in other countries at market foreign exchange rates.

Using the app, you can connect your domestic bank account and convert deposited funds into different currencies at wholesale prices. You then use the Mastercard they provide you to make purchases in other countries.

How does it work?

You can start using Revolut right away after you’ve downloaded the app. You’ll quickly register for an account, link a domestic bank account, and begin transferring funds.

From the app, you can:
  • pay bills
  • transfer money to someone in another currency
  • load your account with a balance in a foreign currency.
If you’ve signed up you’ll get a Mastercard in the mail shortly after you sign up. The Revolut website claims you’ll have it, regardless of your location, in about three working days. Revolut will provide you updates on your card, too, such as when it’s being created and shipped.:

Cost and features: Revolut Standard vs. Revolut Premium

Revolut currently offers two pricing models—Standard and Premium. Here’s how they break down, keeping in mind that their current pricing structure is in pounds:

Standard

Cost: £0/month
Features;
  • Free USD checking account
  • Standard MasterCard (delivery fee 7$) - get it for free here
  • Free Euro IBAN account
  • Interbank FX rates
  • Free bank transfers in 25 currencies
  • £200/€200 Free ATM withdrawals per month
Premium
Cost: £6.99/month
Features:
  • Free USD checking account
  • Free Euro IBAN account
  • Interbank FX rates
  • Free bank transfers in 25 currencies
  • £400/€400 Free ATM withdrawals per month
  • Free unlimited FX volumes
  • Free exclusive Premium cards
  • Free overseas medical insurance
  • Free global express delivery
  • Exclusive priority 24/7 customer support
  • Exclusive Premium promotions

Why use Revolut?

You might be asking why you should use Revolut instead of your travel credit card or merely exchanging money at a currency exchange. Here are a few of the benefits of using Revolut:

Payment options

Between the Revolut app and Mastercard you’ll receive, you have a few different payment options— cash, card, or transfer.

The Mastercard will allow you to withdraw cash at most ATMs internationally, so if you need local currency, you can get it. You can also swipe the debit card like you would any typical credit card transaction. Finally, you can transfer funds via the app like you would with PayPal or Venmo.

Currency conversion rates

One of the biggest pros to using Revolut is its impressive currency conversion rates. When you typically exchange currency, the bank will mark up the price so they can profit from the transaction. When you use Revolut, you’re getting the same rate that banks pay to exchange currency, amounting to massive savings.

You can keep multiple “accounts”

If you’re someone who travels internationally frequently, you’ll love this. You can keep balances in different currencies on the Revolut app as long as you’d like.

For example, if you go overseas and convert dollars to pounds, you can keep your remaining balance in pounds for the next time you go back (instead of converting it back to dollars).

You can continue to do this for multiple currencies if you’d like—or you can convert them all back (beware of fluctuating exchange rates, though).

Fraud prevention

Revolut takes fraud seriously—which should put international travelers at ease. Here are a few of the things you can do with the app:

  • Get notifications whenever you spend money on the card. You can set up the app to give you an alert any time you use your card. I use this with my credit card, and while it can get annoying at times when a charge pops up, if I don’t recognize the expense, I can manage it immediately. An alert feature like this will be helpful for you when you’re traveling internationally.
  • Change your pin number. You’ll need a pin number to withdraw cash, and you can change this number any time via the app. This feature adds an extra layer of security if you feel the number has been compromised or if you lose the card.
  • Card blocking. Speaking of losing the card, you can shut off all functionality of the card via the app if you lose it. Meaning if someone finds it, they can’t use it. Blocking your card is a great feature, since it’s easy to lose anything while traveling, and you can turn the card back on once you find it.

It’s fast

If you’ve ever used PayPal, you know that you can load funds into your account almost instantaneously. Revolut is no different.

Once you download the app and sign up for an account, you can connect your bank account and load funds onto the app. From there, you can convert it into 25 different currencies (US users) within seconds. (There may be a fee for this, though—see more below).

Awesome Premium features

If you decide to pop for Premium, you’ll get some great features as I mentioned above. I’ll break them down a little more for you here.
  • Premium card. You’ll get a Mastercard delivered to you, wherever you are, to use for international transactions. This feature alone makes the Premium pricing worth it. You’ll even get a spare card that you can activate with the tap of a button on your app. Plus, you can choose from four different colors.
  • Global medical insurance. You’ll have access to an extensive network of medical centers and get emergency medical and dental treatment covered while traveling abroad. With this insurance, you’ll get quickly reimbursed for your medical expenses via your Revolut app.
  • 2X withdrawal limit. The Standard plan only lets you withdraw £200/€200 for free each month. When you have Premium, that doubles, so you can withdraw up to £400/€400 for free each month (keep conversion rates in mind as you’re withdrawing funds as Revolut uses pounds/euros as the baseline).

What are the cons to Revolut?

So what’s the downside? Well, there are a few.

Increased weekend rates

Revolut will mark up the exchange rate on weekends, adding between 0.5 and 1.5 percent to the Friday rate on Saturday and Sunday (when usage is higher). Obviously, you can avoid this by taking out cash or making more significant purchases during the week.

Fees for fast transfers

If you can wait two business days for a transfer to happen, you will avoid fees. But if you need your transfer to happen immediately, Revolut will charge you a fee to “turbo-boost” it. Revolut waives this fee for Premium users.

Cash usage

If you travel pretty heavily, you’ll benefit from most of what Revolut offers—but not if you use cash. Even with the Premium account, you can only withdraw £400/€400 for free before you start getting ATM fees.

Limited usage

If you don’t travel enough, paying for the Premium product might be worth it for a single trip, but beyond that, it’s probably not worth the cost.

Market fluctuations

The ease of transferring between currencies is a great feature, but you also need to watch the changes in currency rates, as you would anywhere else. With the click of a button you can convert dollars to Thai bahts—but if you happen to do it on a day when the market has fluctuated, you won’t get your best conversion rate.

Some other systems (like credit cards) will average this out for you and give you a more consistent rate. It’s not a deal breaker, but just something to be aware of.

Summary

The most significant benefits of using Revolut are the ability to convert currency at the best possible rates, transfer money internationally for nothing, and spend money across the globe without any fees.

Even your best travel credit cards won’t do that.

If you do any international travel, the only reason I can see why you wouldn’t get Revolut is that you want to rack up more points on your awesome travel credit card. But even then, you’ll be saving more getting the lowest possible currency conversion rate by using this app.

In the end, do what’s best for you. But if you plan on taking an international trip this year—I suggest you at least give Revolut a try.

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