Using Revolut Abroad

A full guide to using your Revolut account overseas.

Updated: May 21, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Whether you're going away for a week or a few months, you'll need to know how to handle your finances overseas.

Using your UK bank account or debit card abroad is likely to cost you a lot of money. A more adaptable option, one made for global usage, may be necessary.

Revolut, an online money managing service, established in the United Kingdom, is one possibility. It works like a checking account, complete with a debit card, but is tailored to the needs of travellers. But should you put your money in Revolut if you're going abroad?

We will consider the fees and exchange rates, as well as the accepted currencies and countries. 

Let's get into it.

Fast summary

  • The Revolut card is a prepaid Visa that can be used both in the United Kingdom and internationally.
  • It provides competitive exchange rates on weekdays but charges a premium when the market is closed (on the weekends, for example).
  • The Standard plan is free but has limits on how much may be spent without incurring fees while travelling internationally.
  • The number of monthly free ATM withdrawals is capped across all Revolut plans (including premium plans).
  • Although Trustpilot gives it 4.3 out of 5 stars (which is excellent), there is no FSCS insurance for funds stored on a Revolut card, and (although the company has applied for it quite a while back, which we covered) it still does not yet have a banking licence in the United Kingdom.

Comparing Revolut (not a bank in the UK), Monzo, and Starling Bank

RevolutMonzoStarling Bank
Licensed UK bank account ✔️✔️
FSCS Coverage ✔️✔️
Personal Accs.✔️✔️✔️
Business Accs.✔️✔️✔️
Standing Orders✔️✔️✔️
Direct Debiting ✔️✔️✔️
Overdraft✔️✔️
Personal Borrowing✔️
Spending management✔️✔️✔️
Free international transactions As much as £1,000 each month or free Free Free
Withdrawals from foreign banks without feesZero monthly fee up to £200 Zero monthly fee up to £200 Free
Interest accrued on available-for-use funds✔️
Rate of exchangeMastercardInterbankingInterbanking

Revolut Premium and Metal plan travel benefits

Revolut's Premium and Metal plans cost £6.99 and £12.99 a month, respectively, and offer some useful extras that can be put to good use on the road.

  • With the Revolut app, you can get cash back when you book a hotel.
  • Health coverage when travelling.
  • Insurance when flying. 
  • Private liability coverage.
  • Snow sports coverage.
  • Loss, damage, or delay of luggage.
  • Access to a premium airport lounge at no or little cost.

What is Revolut?

The Revolut app serves as the hub for managing your Revolut current account and Revolut debit card. Since its services are exclusively digital, it lacks traditional bank branches. 

It's not a bank, therefore it doesn't provide the same level of protection that a UK bank account provides under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). In the United Kingdom, however, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) oversees this practice.

The monthly plans offered by Revolut are flexible. The bare-bones Standard plan is free and includes a card and some useful extras. Then there's a premium tier with progressively more features and a higher monthly charge. Increased spending limits, foreign transfer discounts, and supplementary items like insurance are just a few examples.

Bit of context 

Revolut, which defines itself as a “digital money manager alternative”, is just one of several startups revolutionising customers' relationships with their money accounts. Revolut was created in July 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky, a former trader who worked at Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse, and Vlad Yatsenko, who previously designed financial systems for investment banks. 

The Revolut prepaid card and accompanying mobile app were originally designed to facilitate low-cost currency exchange for international visitors. It originated as a result of Storonsky's dissatisfaction with the options available on the market at the time.

The company's offerings have grown considerably since then. More than 25 million consumers use the service worldwide, and the fintech firm is constantly expanding its offering. 

All in all, Revolut is a digital money manager that eliminates the need for documentation during the account opening process.

The former is a prepaid Visa card that may be used at millions of locations in the United Kingdom and beyond that accept Visa. The app's ordering of a physical card is free, but the cost of mailing will vary with the desired delivery time. A physical card can be sent at no cost to Premium subscribers.

Can I use Revolut while I travel?

Yes, Revolut works abroad and is straightforward.

If you have an internet connection, you can use the Revolut mobile app and your account anywhere in the world. You can make and receive payments, see your account balance, and even switch currencies using this feature. Take advantage of everything else the Revolut app has to offer as well.

Your Revolut card may be used to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs in over 140 different currencies. Basically every place that accepts Mastercard or Visa.

Here's how to make foreign purchases with your Revolut card

Because it supports more than 30 different currencies, Revolut is a great option for usage when travelling. When making purchases with your Revolut card in the local currency, you won't be subject to the standard international transaction fees or instant currency conversions. 

Users can also make free withdrawals from any Allpoint network ATM worldwide, up to a daily withdrawal limit that varies by account type. However, third-party ATM fees may still apply.

To benefit from these privileges, you will first need to pay money to your Revolut account. The procedure was simple in our experience:

  • Select “+ Add Money” in the app;
  • Put in the amount you want to add;
  • Select “Add card”;
  • Simply key in your card information;
  • Add funds safely.

The Revolut card allows you to make purchases and withdrawal funds abroad with the same ease as they would in the UK. You can spend it on everything you wish throughout your trip, including souvenirs, meals, beverages, lodging, and transportation.

There are, nevertheless, a few essentials you should know about converting currencies.

In the Revolut app, you are able to do a currency exchange between 29 different options. This allows you to exchange some funds for the local currency before your trip.

If you're planning a vacation to France, for instance, you may exchange £500 into EUR in your Revolut account in advance of your departure. If you do this, you'll have Euros available on your card for purchases or withdrawals.

The primary advantage is that the exchange rate will be shown before you make the transaction, and you may monitor it to ensure you get the best possible deal. You could avoid making a potentially costly currency exchange when you make your purchase.

Using the Revolut card for purchases

The actual Revolut card can be used for purchases in both your base currency and other supported currencies. 

When you load funds onto the card, you may convert them to the currency of your choosing (for example, U.S. dollars), locking in the conversion rate at the time. Or you can leave it as a sterling cash balance, and Revolut will convert your foreign purchases to sterling at the market currency rate at the time of the transaction. 

This process is ridiculously simple to use. Naturally, the Revolut app only supports currency conversions between 29 different currencies

If you haven't already done so, the Revolut card will automatically convert currencies at the time of purchase.

Remember that this will only occur if you choose ‘without conversion' when requested to select a currency type while paying with your Revolut card. If you choose “with conversion,” the store will do the conversion using the exchange rate they have determined for the transaction. Avoid doing this unless you really have to; it's likely to be worse than the rate Revolut gives.

While Revolut's exchange rates are cheap, there are certain exceptions, such as fees for weekend currency conversions and conversions of rare or exotic currencies.

You can only spend so much in a given foreign currency using your Revolut card. If your monthly total is more than this, you may be subject to additional fees. We'll take a closer look at this later.

Using your Revolut card at an ATM

With a Revolut card, you may use an ATM to withdraw local cash. There is no price for this service, however you should be aware that many providers impose their own fees for utilising their machines.

The maximum amount that may be withdrawn from an ATM is capped, much as the maximum amount that can be spent. Keep in mind that if you want to avoid the operator's disadvantageous exchange rate, you must choose “without conversion” at the ATM.

Always choose to be charged in the currency of the nation you're currently in. Revolut will handle everything else.

Using the Revolut App

Brits have grown more confident in online money management, which spiked around the time of the first pandemic. The Revolut app, available for iOS devices, is used to access and handle all aspects of your Revolut account. 

You’ll need to acquaint yourself with using a mobile device or smartphone to handle your finances if you want to sign up for a Revolut account. Thankfully, the software is intuitive and well-structured. 

Customers of Revolut have the option of using the pin pad or one of many other payment methods, including ApplePay and contactless. The Apple Watch app for Revolut displays alerts right on your wrist. 

Not having an Apple watch is not a problem since alerts will be shown on your phone. A four-digit PIN or fingerprint/face recognition is required to activate the mobile app during setup.

What exchange rates and fees to expect abroad

Foreign transactions made with a Revolut card will incur the following fees and currency rates:

TransactionFee
Monday to Friday Foreign ExchangeFree
Weekends are free of charge currency exchanges.1%
Withdrawals from ATMs up to the monthly limit (£200-£800)2%
Having a monthly foreign currency outlay of above £1000Premium and Metal plans are free, while Standard plans cost 1% and Plus plans cost 0.5%.

The weekend currency conversion cost of 1% is particularly noteworthy among these other fees. During the week, using your Revolut account to make purchases or withdraw funds in a foreign currency does not incur any costs. Which is when many individuals choose to take short vacations to unfamiliar places, sadly.

You should also be careful not to exceed your monthly foreign currency spending limit. Otherwise, a different cost could be assessed.

Guide to rates 

The currency rates used by Revolut are the mid-market or interbank rates. These are the fairest available, although just a few providers utilise them (Wise being one of them).

Using a third-party service, such as a bank, will result in a higher effective interest rate than the mid-market rate. This is how they generate a profit, yet it causes you to come out worse from the deal. The weekend surcharge that Revolut adds to currency conversions marginally lowers the company's otherwise excellent exchange rate.

Verdict: Using Revolut Abroad

If a store accepts Mastercard or Visa, you can use your Revolut card there. 

Revolut also converts your funds at the mid-market exchange rate. This allows you to save money on your trip by avoiding costly markups associated with currency conversion.

By utilising the interbank exchange rate and eliminating the transaction fees of between 2% and 3% paid by most banks and credit card providers, Revolut gives its clients considerable discounts when making purchases overseas.

However, the monthly free ATM withdrawal restrictions might be a hassle, especially if you need to withdraw cash when abroad. If you go over your monthly spending limit on either the free Standard plan or the Plus plan (which costs £2.99 per month), you will be charged a fee of up to 1% of your total purchase amount. 

With this increasingly popular challenger app, Revolut also applies a markup to the interbank exchange rate on weekends and holidays, depending on the currency. 

💡 Biggest issue: Not a bank

Perhaps the greatest issue of Revolut is that it is not a UK-licensed bank and clients' money is not protected by the FSCS in the primary account. In the interim, you may reduce your risk by not leaving big amounts on your Revolut card but rather topping it up only when necessary. 

Not an issue, since top-ups processed via the app take effect quickly. In fact, you may load money onto the card while waiting in line to make a purchase. Revolut's analytics tool is helpful, and the app's vaults feature makes it easy to put money aside for the future. When you join up with Revolut, no inquiries are made to your credit report. 

💡 Biggest alternative: Starling Bank

Starling Bank is an appealing alternative option to Revolut since it offers a current account with all the convenient features you'd expect from an app-only bank, including zero fees for international transactions. As previously indicated, if your monthly spending exceeds £1,000, Revolut's Standard and Plus plans begin imposing a 1% or 0.5% charge on transactions. 

Starling is an alternative to Revolut that allows unlimited free ATM withdrawals per month. Starling and Revolut use very identical exchange rates, except Starling does not add a markup on the weekends like Revolut. When you apply for a Starling account, a soft search will be performed on your credit record since it is a current account. 

Neither your credit score nor any other financial agencies will be able to see this. Fortunately, up to £85,000 would be insured by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) should Starling go bankrupt. 

If you're merely looking for a prepaid card to use abroad, Revolut is a fantastic option. Prepaid cards are favoured by some due to their perceived safety. However, Starling Bank's current account is likely to be more appealing if your trip is longer and your ATM use and expenditure are expected to increase.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Managing your money with Revolut's multiple currencies

What are the foreign transaction fees for Revolut?

What is the cost of the Revolut card in the UK?

How can I apply for a Revolut debit card to use abroad?

When using the Revolut credit card, how can you get cash abroad?

Is Revolut budget-friendly for travel?

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