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Revolut, less bank fees while traveling!

Atualizado: 4 de Mar de 2018

Money is always an important issue, but especially while traveling across different countries as each country has its own currency, so the needs to widraw money will differ and be constant. Probably, for safety reasons, you cannot take with you all the money you will need for the whole trip. You will have to withdraw money or use debit/credit cards, which is not always possible. The bank fees related to this type of transactions tend to be extremely high, including sometimes a fixed fee plus a variable fee. If you are traveling on a budget, it will be hard!

So, Revolut appeared to help on this!



What is Revolut?

Revolut was launched in July 2005 and it is an app-based banking alternative. Different from a banking institution, it provides its users a multi-currency card that can be managed through a mobile app. With Revolut it is possible to send, spend and exchange money easily and instantly. Check their website www.revolut.com.


Why should you use Revolut while traveling?

  • You can spend abroad with no fees and at a real exchange rate;

  • You can freeze or unfreeze in case of loss,

  • You can hold or exchange up to 23 currencies with the real exchange rate;

  • You have a support team that can help you in case of any issue.


What else can Revolut offer you?

  • You can easily split bills with friends and family;

  • You can send money globally for free;

  • You can secure money transfers to bank accounts in over 120 countries;

  • You can buy and exchange cryptocurrency.


What are the differences between Standard and Premium accounts?

According to Revolut website, there are two types of accounts with different rights and specifications. The Standard accounts is free of charge, while the Premium implies a fee of 6,99€ every month. The differences are presented below.


Standard (free):

  • Free UK current account;

  • Free Euro IBAN account;

  • Interbank FX rates;

  • Free bank transfers in 25 currencies;

  • 5000£/6000€ free spending, transferring and exchanging money globally at the best possible exchange rate (0,5% fee thereafter);

  • 200£/200€ free ATM withdrawals per month (a 2% applies thereafter).


Premium (6,99€ per month):

  • Free UK current account;

  • Free Euro IBAN account;

  • Interbank FX rates;

  • Free bank transfers in 25 currencies;

  • Unlimited free spending, transferring and exchanging money globally at the best possible exchange rate;

  • 400£/400€ free ATM withdrawals per month (a 2% applies thereafter);

  • 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.


How does Revolut work?

  1. The first step is to install de Revolut mobile application, available in the App Store or Google Play.

  2. In the app, you should start by introducing your mobile number to create your account.

  3. After step 2 is complete, you can create a new physical card, which can be a Visa Debit or a MasterCard. You just need to introduce the delivery address, that can be anywhere in the world. In our case, the card took about a week to arrive from UK to Portugal subject to a 5£/6€ fee. We conducted the payment through a top-up in application. To do so, you will have to associate a card (a credit card or a debit card with a CVV code to your revolut app). If possible use the debit card, once there is no fee, while the credit card charges 1% per top-up.

  4. Once the physical card arrives to your address, it is time to activate it through the app. You need to take and submit a profile picture and a picture of your passport. It is very quick and easy!





5. The card is now ready to use! To charge the card you should use the top-up option. It can be done by bank transfer from your local bank, but this could take some days (1 to 3 working days). If you need the money available right away, associate a credit card or a debit card with CVV code (Mastercard or Visa are accepted). Add your card details including the 16-digit card number, expiry date and CVV code. Next, enter the amount you would like to top-up, and select the tick in the right corner which should take you to your bank's security page. After that your top-up will appear instantly in your wallet. Finally, you can also use Apple Pay for the top-up. Once the card association is done or the Apple Pay activated, you can top-up again whenever you want and it only takes the time of a click. You only need to have access to data in your mobile phone! Very practical and convenient.





6. When needed just use it! To withdraw money in ATM machines or to pay in a store, restaurant, bar, etc. Of course the facility should accept Visa/MasterCard. You need to insert your PIN code and in some countries or places they also asked you to sign the receipt. In the mobile app you can promptly check the exchange rate applied and therefore the amount that was charged.


What tips do we have from our experience?

We have never had any problem using Revolut during our long trip in Asia. We have used it in countries like Sri Lanka, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand or Myanmar.

Still, we call your attention for the following:

  • Although the physical card does not take a long time to reach the delivery address, try to make the order in advance to avoid starting your trip without the card. In our case, it took about a week (5 working days) for the card to arrive in our home in Portugal.

  • When withdrawing money in an ATM, you will be asked to choose between a ”credit”, “checking” or “savings” account. You should always choose “checking” or “savings” account. Additionally, sometimes the ATM may ask if you would like to complete the transaction “with conversion” or “without conversion”. You should ALWAYS choose “without conversion”. If you choose “with conversion”, the ATM provider can apply their own exchange rate, which usually has a mark-up on the interbank rate and therefore will be less advantageous for the user.

  • There is a possibility of enabling auto top-up. For instance, you can automatically top-up your account with £100, £200 or £500 when your Revolut balance falls below either £50, £100 or £200. This can be useful while traveling!

  • To have a control of your monthly limits you can check on the app your current status. In Revolut app, go to the tab “More”, choose “Profile”, followed by “Price plan”. There you can check how much have you used of your monthly limits of exchange and ATM withdrawals.


Are there any competitors of Revolut?

Yes, there are! For instance, Paysera offers a similar service, although it implies a card administrative fee of 0,45€/month. For a more detailed comparison between the two companies check the link: https://www.paysera.com/v2/en/paysera-alternative-revolut.

Also Monzo is another alternative. See more on their website www.monzo.pt.

Hope you find this article useful for your future trips! We would like to thank Rita Soares and Nuno Dias to have introduced us Revolut. It has been helping a lot!


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