Revolut review (2020): A great alternative for travellers

Revolut logo

Need to take better control over your spending?
Do you enjoy traveling?
Or do you have kids that need to learn about money in the plastic cash era?

If so, you'll love Revolut!
Revolut is a "neo-bank" meaning it is revolutionizing the way banking works. With Revolut, you'll get a bank account and a payment card quickly and easily. It is especially convenient as a way to track your card spending.

How Revolut works

Revolut payment card

revolut debit card

The Revolut payment card works as any other payment card: you get contactless payments and a debit card. Wait till you hear the price 😏.

With the card, you can pay in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate. Additionally, you can withdraw money from ATMs with no extra fees for up to €200 per month.

Revolut virtual card

The free account includes one virtual card. Virtual card are just like physical cards, except they only exist as information. Virtual revolut cards can only be used for online payments. It's a fairly nice way to protect your data as you can always delete a virtual card and create a new one - for free.

Currency exchange

Revolut allows you to exchange in 30 fiat currencies up to €6,000 per month without any hidden fees. This makes Revolut a useful tool when you need to transfer money around the world sometimes. Maybe you have family somewhere else and want to help them out?

Transfer money

Transferring money is probably one of the most advertised features of Revolut. Granted, transferring money is easy as A.B.C.

When the recipient is also a Revolut user, awesome! Your app knows instantly who of your contacts has Revolut and sending money to them is a matter of a few clicks.

It's simple also to just set up an IBAN recipient and send money that way.

Payment links

A payment link is a pretty interesting feature. You can create a link to send money when you don't know the recipient's bank details. The recipient then fills in their details when they open the link and if this is done within 24 of creating the link, Revolut transfers the money.

You can also request a payment with a link. Someone opening that link will receive instructions on how to pay you and they can do so with e.g. a credit or debit card instantly.

Recurring payments

Recurring payments are handy when you have e.g. a monthly commitment such as rent. We use an account like Revolut as a household account and card that deposit monthly. From this account we have a few monthly recurring payments going out, such as mortgage and housing maintenance fees. 

Save money by rounding up with Revolut Vaults

You can use Revolut to actually save money. The Revolut Vaults feature lets you save your change every time you make a purchase. So if the payment is e.g. 6.38€, Revolut will charge the card a full 7€ and place the remaining 62c to the vault. You can choose to save just your change or up to 10x the change. 

You can also set up a group vault with others, letting you save for a common goal such as a vacation. To give you some perspective I checked that I make about 650 payments per year, almost all of them with a card. The change for them is approximately 250€. So, with the 1x saving, that's how much I would save per year. With the 10x saving scheme I'd be saving a little over 200€ per month.

Crypto currency wallet

You can use crypto currencies such as Bitcoin in so many places nowadays. I get paid in Bitcoins for the electricity produced by the solar cells I own in South-Africa, which is covered more on my Sun Exchange review. But crypto currency wallets are a a pain to maintain, which is why I like to store my crypto currencies on hosted services.

However, Revolut isn't exactly ready for prime time yet with its crypto currency support.

You cannot yet receive crypto currencies directly from another wallet, nor can you send out your coins elsewhere. Effectively this makes Revolut simply an crypto investment vehicle in my opinion, so I hope they improve on that quickly.

Revolut travel insurance

Either with £30 per year or $0.99 per day, you get an overseas medical insurance with your Revolut account. I currently pay more for my travel insurance, which makes Revolut a thing to consider. Revolut also uses GPS to track when you're overseas, so if you spend max 30 days abroad a year, you can apply for the Pay-per-day plan and save.

The travel insurance also covers for delayed baggage & delayed flight, which kicks in after 4 hours of delay. The coverage is up to £320 separately for both baggage and flight delay.

Pay using Google Pay with Revolut

Revolut is Google Play compatible, which means you can link your Revolut card to Google Pay and use your phone to pay from your Revolut account.

Revolut Premium

Especially for travellers, the Revolut Premium might offer something worth paying for. There are two tiers, Premium and Metal. Surprising that N26 and Revolut both have a tier like Metal, seems odd.

With Revolut Premium, you get a couple of quite good travel perks already for just 7.99€/mo:

  • The travel insurance is included in the monthly price (worth 36€)
  • Get access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world for 25€ per visit (that's really cheap, and might save you a meal). Entry is free for you and a friend, if flight is delayed for more than an hour.
There are other features too, like a fancier card with express delivery around the globe, unlimited currency exchanges and 400€/mo ATM withdrawals.

One of the downsides of these neo-banks is their customer service sucks. With premium, you will likely get much better support and it is included as a paid feature.

Premium account also includes five virtual cards and introduces "disposable virtual cards", which change your details every time you pay, so you don't leave a copy-able trace.

Revolut Metal

In addition to the services in Premium, Metal gives you a little bit more for 13.99€/mo.
  • A cashback of 0.1% in Europe and up to 1% outside of it, and
  • A concierge help when you need it.
I haven't had the opportunity to try the concierge service, but while it sounds awesome, I find Premium much more value for money compared to Metal.

Revolut Business

Revolut Business seems to offer two things to businesses:
  1. Enable cheap payments abroad in 28 currencies, and
  2. Cheap payment cards for employees including expense limits
If the business is fairly simple and what you mostly need is tracking your employees payments and/or transfer money across borders, then Revolut might work. Revolut has also made it simple to export the data for bookkeeping.

There are more features to Revolut Business, but it probably isn't for most of you. It's definitely very different from the N26 Business, which is geared towards freelancers.

Revolut fees

You can use Revolut for free. Even the first physical card is free, but Revolut will charge you an equivalent of £4.99 for shipping it. There are occasional offers that might forfeit the shipping fee too. If you use my affiliate link, the shipping will be free too, and I will get a small compensation.

Is Revolut safe?

Is it safe to store your cash on Revolut? Yes, at least in small amounts.

The fiat currency balance on Revolut is backed by deposit insurance, which in the United Kingdom is £85,000. This applies to Revolut customers as well. So in the case Revolut fails catastrophically, the government of United Kingdom will vouch for your cash up to an equivalent of £85,000.

How to sign up to Revolut

Signing up is actually really simple.

  1. Head over to and provide your phone number. This will start the process.
  2. You'll obviously need to enter your details.
  3. Keep your passport ready. Once you've downloaded the app, you can use it to verify your identity
  4. Finally, you'll need to transfer 10€ to your account. You can later transfer that back like I first did, if you just want to try it out.
  5. Revolut should send you the payment card in mail in a couple of weeks.

Final words

Revolut is a very basic payment card that is quite suitable for at least a couple of use cases:
  • The first payment card for a kid
  • A household account to pay shared costs from
It's a direct competitor to N26 and while you should read more on my N26 review, the short story is I like it better. Yes Revolut is certainly as free and the crypto currency feature is a nice gimmick so far, but the missing online banking feature annoys me. Also, Revolut doesn't make me feel like I have a bank account. It feels very virtual, but I'm sure that's deliberate.

But, it's still free. It's still quite powerful. It does almost everything the N26 does, short the online banking. It's a great alternative, so for that I give Revolut three stars ⭐⭐⭐.
Blog posts may contain affiliate links

Others have liked these posts