I am what you call an eager traveller. What I love the most is browsing my guide for weeks and booking hostels, making my own itinerary, packing my backpack. I even love airports, that means I am on the road.
Well, I am far from being a professional traveller like I can see on blogs with some people who barely remember where home is. My life is pretty stable, but I use up all my holidays to travel, and I am always looking forward to my next adventure. Recently though, I have been travelling a lot to UK, my other half being there I am getting on planes more than usual.
And while I love travelling, leaving the Euro zone is always a pain. I am really bad at maths and I always feel being trapped by the bank rates and the fees at the bureau de change. But a few weeks ago a virtual acquaintance posted on a message board her new trick to avoid the bad rates when travelling: Revolut.
How does Revolut work? So first it’s an app that you have to download on your smartphone. A few minutes later your account is settled and you can top up your virtual card to purchase things online for instance. Revolut claims that they pick the best rate without the hidden fees that the bank always charge you with. You can choose your password to access the app which is pretty secured if your smartphone ever gets in wrong hands.
You can top up instantly your Revolut account through your credit card from your traditional bank, it works in Euros, British Pounds and Dollars. Or you can do a money transfer from your own bank account, everything is explained and the app is very user friendly. I have a small fee when I top up money with my Visa card, so it’s probably better for me to make sure to top up regularly with money transfer instead.
I quickly ordered a physical Revolut card FOR FREE and it arrived in only 4 days in my mail box at home. Very quick! You can choose your pin code with your app and change it whenever it suits you, very convenient I have to say. It’s a Mastercard which is great because I personally have a Visa so it’s pretty cool to have the other major brand. I used it straight away a few days afterwards when I went to the UK for the week end. My money transfer did not make it through yet – it takes a few days due to the slowness of the banks- but I had the equivalent of 100 euros to spend, which goes very quickly in London!
It went very smoothly, and the great thing is that you can see immediately on your app how much you spent, where, when and how much it cost in your currency. I was pleasantly surprised to see that with the low rate of the British Pound at the moment, my shopping looked pretty good, even in Euros! As you can’t spend more than you actually have put on your card, it’s a great way to stay on budget when you are travelling, as you can see instantly what’s left on your card.
I mentioned earlier three currencies for your account (Euros, British Pounds and Dollars), that you can switch from one currency to another as you please. But you can use your Revolut card and buy things in 90 different currencies! That means that you can go pretty much everywhere on a trip and be able to use your Revolut card, withdraw money at an ATM and you’ll get the best rate.
What’s the trick?
Well, I tried to find one but so far I see none. For my use, Revolut card will become my best friend from now on when I’ll leave the Euro Zone, and it gives me an extra card in case I ever reach my credit card limit. Or I can just take my Revolut card and I know there won’t be any scam because you can’t spend more than the money you put on the card. The only “limit” is that it’s free to withdraw money at an ATM up to 650 euros per month. There is a small fee if you want to withdraw more than that, but I think it’s pretty fair considering everything else is free. The company claims they are making money with fees on business everytime we use the card. I am not sure that it will still be free to get the physical card in the future for instance, but we will see how it goes.
I am going away for a two weeks trip to Mozambique and South Africa in a few days, and what I can say is that I feel more relaxed that the hassle of dealing with different currencies will be so much easier with my Revolut account.