Revolut has quickly grown into one of the most popular fintech companies in the world, offering users a variety of banking and financial services in a sleek and modern package. For travelers, Revolut is especially appealing due to its promise of low fees, currency exchange capabilities, and ease of use abroad. But before you hop on a plane with your Revolut card in hand, there are some key points to keep in mind when using Revolut abroad.
As a foreigner living in Sweden, I travel often between Argentina and Europe, passing through multiple countries that use different currencies. I’ve tried a whole bunch of credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, and different success rates.
But Revolut is different. Since they offer a multi-currency account (just like Wise) it lets you avoid hefty currency conversions at inconvenient fees. It also lets you enjoy other benefits without needing a good credit score, such as lounge access, travel insurance, protection for your phone, and more.
9 Reasons For Using Revolut Abroad (2023)
1. No Foreign Exchange Fees
One of Revolut’s standout features is its real exchange rate offering. Traditional banks often include hidden fees and markups, which can significantly inflate the cost of foreign transactions. With Revolut, you get the interbank exchange rate, saving you a considerable sum, especially on larger transactions.
2. ATM Withdrawals
Revolut users can withdraw money from ATMs abroad without any fee up to a certain limit, depending on the type of account they have. After this limit is reached, a small fee is levied on further withdrawals. Always be aware of the local ATMs’ own fees, as they may apply regardless of the card you’re using.
3. Always Choose to be Charged in the Local Currency
When making a transaction abroad, some POS terminals or ATMs may offer you the choice to be charged in your home currency. Always opt to be charged in the local currency to avoid extra conversion fees and to benefit from Revolut’s favorable rates.
3. App with Great Security Features
Losing a card while traveling can be distressing. With the Revolut app, users can instantly freeze or unfreeze their cards. The app also offers location-based security, automatically disabling payments from your card if used in a different location from your mobile device.
4. Global Spending and Transfers
Revolut supports spending and transfers in multiple currencies. This can be particularly useful if you are traveling to multiple countries or making transactions in various currencies.
Make sure that you have the necessary currency in your account or understand the conversion rates between different wallets.
6. Travel Insurance
Revolut offers a Pay-per-Day travel insurance option based on your geolocation data. This means you’re only charged for the days you’re actually abroad. The insurance covers medical expenses, delays, and more, depending on the specific policy.
7. Lounge Access
For those who have opted for the premium or metal plans, Revolut offers discounted access to airport lounges around the world. It can be a boon for frequent travelers looking for a comfortable space to relax before their flights.
The latest plan, Revolut Ultra, lets you get unlimited lounge access. The Metal plan as well.
8. Cancel for any reason Insurance (CFAR)
The recently introduced their Ultra plan with cancel for any reason insurance. This means you can just literally cancel your trip if you don’t feel like showing up, and get reimbursed up to €5000 from Revolut in expenses. That’s one of the most comprehensive insurance in the market today.
9. Save while you spend
Revolut offers two things I love on their premium plans: cashback and great interest rates for your savings. The current rates for EUR, GBP and USD are between 3.5% and 5.5%! Plus, you can get up to 1% cashback on your purchases.
Their Premium and Metal plans are great options if you are looking for increased rates in your savings. For Premium, you can try it 3 months for free using our link.
Which Revolut Card to Pick in 2023?
Revolut offers several different plans depending on your needs. Just to be clear, even the free Standard plan will be great for travelers. As you upgrade to Plus, Premium, Metal, and Ultra, you’ll get more benefits that can be really useful when traveling, such as lounge access, travel insurance, and more.
|ATM withdrawals||200 free per month, then 2% fee||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Currency exchange||Free up to £1,000 per month, then 0.5% fee||Free up to £1,000 per month, then 0.5% fee||Free up to £1,000 per month, then 0.5% fee||Free unlimited||Free unlimited|
|Airport lounge access||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cashback on card payments||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Access to private events||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Priority customer support||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Key additional benefits
- Plus: Travel insurance
- Premium: Travel insurance, airport lounge access, cashback on card payments
- Metal: Concierge service, access to private events, cashback on card payments, insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage
- Ultra: Dedicated concierge service, access to private events, cashback on card payments, insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage, priority customer support
- Standard vs. Plus: The Plus card is worth the monthly fee if you travel frequently or withdraw cash from ATMs often. The Travel insurance and unlimited ATM withdrawals are valuable benefits.
- Plus vs. Premium: The Premium card is a good option if you want all of the benefits of the Plus card, plus airport lounge access and cashback on card payments.
- Premium vs. Metal: The Metal card is worth the extra monthly fee if you want free unlimited currency exchange and a concierge service. However, the cashback program is not as generous as the Premium card.
- Metal vs. Ultra: The Ultra card is the most exclusive Revolut card, and it comes with a high price tag. However, it also offers a number of exclusive benefits, such as a dedicated concierge service and access to private events.
Revolut Alternatives in 2023
If you are wondering what some of the other digital banks and transfer services you can use abroad, which can also be convenient like Revolut, here are some:
|Monthly fees||Paid plans start at €2.99/month||Free||Paid plans start at €6/month||Paid plans start at €2/month||Paid plans start at €4.90/month|
|International transfers||Yes, at low fees||Yes, at low fees||Yes, at low fees||Yes, at low fees||Yes, at low fees|
|Currency exchange||Zero-fees||Yes, at low fees||Yes, at low fees||Yes, at low fees||Yes, at low fees|
|Physical debit card||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cash withdrawals||Free up to £600 per month||Free up to £200 per month||Free up to £200 per month||Free up to £200 per month||Free up to €5 per month|
|Customer support||24/7 chat and email||24/7 chat and email||24/7 chat and email||24/7 chat and email||24/7 chat and email|
Keep in mind:
- All of the banks listed above are insured by government-insured (up to $250,000 per depositor FDIC in the United States and up to €100,000 in Europe)
- Wise is a money transfer service, not a bank, so it does not offer all of the features of a traditional bank account.
- Skrill and PayPal are online payment systems (like it was Revolut UAB), not a bank, so it does not offer all of the features of a traditional bank account. Revolut got its banking license in 2020.
Ultimately, the best Revolut alternative for you depends on your needs and preferences. If you are looking for a bank with a wide range of features, including international transfers, currency exchange, and cryptocurrency trading, then Monzo or Starling Bank may be a good option. Wise may be a better choice if you primarily want to send and receive money internationally. If you are looking for a mobile wallet with a physical debit card, then Skrill or PayPal may be a good option. And if you are looking for a bank that offers cashback rewards, then Monese may be a good choice.
In my case, I’m heavily using Revolut and have Wise as a backup option. What I don’t like about Wise is that they often ask for extra documentation that delays the money transfer.
Conclusion: Is it worth using Revolut abroad?
After many years trying different alternatives, I must say I’m impressed with what Revolut can do. Sure, one part I miss (as a point freak) is the rewards. If I use Revolut I cannot earn points on my purchases. However, when I look at all the other benefits I have bundled in my subscription, it’s not only totally worth the subscription plan (I use Metal), but also very convenient to manage everything through the same app.
Compared to other banks (where I earn my salary), Revolut is years ahead in how simple it is to split payments, send money to friends, pay bills or even buy crypto. Of course, you’ll need to do the math yourself based on how many benefits you use, but even the free (Standard) plan will go a long way for travelers and nomads.
Remember that with Revolut, you can also refer friends and get €60 PER FRIEND (up to 5 referrals).