UPDATED: JULY 2019
Disclaimer. We are not financial advisers or in any way professionals in this field. All the following is purely opinion based on personal experience.
Traditionally before a trip abroad, you would pop down to a bank, post office or travel agent to order your foreign currency. These days for various reasons, this method is less practical and with all the added fees, far more expensive. Good deals can be found if you do your research and shop around but even so, carrying large amounts of cash with you on any trip these days isn’t always safe and advisable. This is especially the case if you are going on a big trip travelling to a few different countries over a longer period. If only there was a way to cut out the masses of planning and preparation required for this and be safer by carrying one card instead of five huge sums of different currencies.
Thanks to a few new FinTechs (financial technologies) offering digital banking alternatives to the traditional methods, getting your foreign currencies has never been easier.
For over three years now, we have used the pre-paid card and mobile app; Revolut. Though it’s tough to work out the exact savings, we are pretty sure this has saved us a lot of money compared to other methods. It’s saved us in awkward situations with the ability to transfer money worldwide for free on the handy app and made us feel safer in areas where you wouldn’t want to be carrying loads of cash. There are many more benefits to using a card like Revolut in today’s world. The main benefits we notice regularly whilst travelling include:
- Being able to spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank rate (better than any foreign exchange outlets we’ve found) with no fees up to £5000 a month and only 0.5% after that
- Cross-currency money transfers are also fee-free up to £5000 with the free account and there, again, is only a 0.5% fee above £5000 (0.5% seems to be cheaper than most others we’ve found too)
- ATM withdrawals are free up to £200 per month and a 2% fee after that
- The mobile app is great. You can easily keep track of spending, different exchange rates and easily top up or withdraw
There are heaps of other benefits to Revolut and they are constantly bringing out new features. Three years ago when I joined them, it was predominantly a pre-paid card with little to no fees. These days you can buy Cryptocurrency, get cheap travel/medical/gadget insurance, save your spare change in ‘the vault’, donate to charities, set up recurring payments, set up budgets and easily analyse spending, freeze and unfreeze your card for extra security and the list keeps going on.
Types of account
Revolut now has three accounts. The original and basic card account is free and is the one we use. It does the basics really well and we love it. There is also a premium and a ‘Metal’ account. The premium ups all the limits, includes travel and medical insurance, has disposable virtual cards (don’t know what that is? Gab didn’t either, read Revolut’s introduction here) as well as premium designs for the physical card and arrives with global express delivery. At the top of the range, the metal account includes all features of the premium while also further increasing the limits and it gives you exclusive concierge service. There’s also a small cashback bonus with the metal card (oh and the card is metal!). These two account types cost £6.99 and £12.99 per month but if you are a serious traveller or travel for business, this could be well worth the cost.
Click on the following link to check out more info on their features and pricing structure. Revolut – Pricing Plans
Check out the competitors
Before deciding to go with Revolut, it’s worth researching other choices to check which suits your needs best. There are other digital banking apps similar to Revolut like Monzo. There are credit cards that offer fee-free spending abroad like the Halifax Clarity Card. Check out Martin Lewis’ MSE website and other forums/comparison sites and see what works best for you.
Enjoy the research and hopefully saving some money!
Something else you may enjoy reading:
Take a look at our Cheap Travel Tips for advice on how to save money when travelling!