The Revolut Multi-Currency Card: Everything You Need to Know
If you’re about to travel abroad – and especially if you’re visiting several different countries during your trip – chances are you’ll have to use multiple currencies to get by.
You could rely on your regular, bank-issued debit or credit card to pay for services, but such cards regularly hold only one currency at a time. This means that each time you pay, your money is exchanged at an unfavourable rate. To avoid this, you have to handle multiple currencies, which means that you have to handle several different cards. Not great, especially when you’re on the go.
The Revolut multi-currency debit card provides an alternative solution: one where you don’t lose money on rubbish exchange rates, and you don’t have to create a separate account for each currency. Sounds good? Let’s take a closer look.
How Does the Revolut Card Work?
Say that you want to use your regular credit card overseas. Every time you swipe your card in a foreign country, you’ll be charged two separate fees in addition to the cost of the service or product you’re paying for. One is a currency conversion fee, and the other is a service administrative fee.
How much money you lose on these costs depends on the type of card (American Express, Mastercard, Visa, and others) you use, as well as on your bank. That said, the conversion fee is usually about 1%, while the administrative fee can float anywhere between 2% and 3.5%. In short, you lose approximately 4% of the money you exchange, which – if you’re a frequent traveller – can quickly add up.
With Revolut, on the other hand, both of these fees are reduced to zero. Your money is exchanged at an advantageous, Interbank rate, and you don’t incur any charges when you withdraw money from an ATM (up to a maximum of £200 per month for the free plan).
Applying for a Revolut debit card is super easy, and the card can hold up to 30 fiat currencies at a time. Before you travel, you can make a deposit in whatever currency you normally use, then exchange money for your stay abroad, and you’re set. If you find that you need more money while overseas, you can always exchange more via the Revolut app.
The Advantages of Multi-Currency Cards for Travellers
Using Revolut while you travel does mean that you have to carry around another card, but if you ask me, the advantages far outweigh this small inconvenience. Among other things, the Revolut multi-currency card can help with the following:
- Better exchange rates. Your money is converted at a highly advantageous rate, which means that you get to save more. It also doesn’t hurt that you don’t have to pay administrative fees to a bank.
- Your safety abroad. It’s fine to carry a bit of cash with you for small purchases during your travels. However, when it comes to bigger sums, travelling with cash is not safe. Carrying a card is a better alternative. Plus, Revolut is a debit card, so you’ll find it easier to keep track of your expenses and to avoid going over budget.
Easy management. You can handle all of your deposits, exchanges, and payments straight from the Revolut app, using your mobile phone. You don’t have to go to the bank for essential operations, and you can always transfer more money if you run out. Revolut will always make payments using the right currency (thus avoiding exchanges), so long as it is available.
- Discounts with top brands. Depending on the country you’re in, you have access to excellent deals from selected brands when you pay with Revolut. More brands are added every year, so make sure to check the available offers under Profile > Widgets > Rewards in your Revolut app.
Travelling perks. For a frequent traveller, the Premium and Metal Revolut cards pack a lot of value. For instance, they both offer free lounge passes for you and a friend whenever your plane is delayed for more than one hour. You even get overseas medical insurance, and delayed baggage/flight insurance.
- Cashback policy for the Metal card. With a Metal subscription, you get 0.1% cashback for payments in a European country, and 1% cashback whenever you use the card outside of Europe. Cashback is capped at just under £13 per month, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
Although applying for a Revolut card is restricted to EEA countries (European Economic Area), Switzerland, the US, Japan, and Singapore, you can use your card anywhere in the world, so long as the ATM or vendor accepts Visa or Mastercard.
How to Apply for a Revolut Card
Going abroad soon? No problem. Applying for Revolut is very easy, and you can expect your card to arrive within about a week from the moment you order it. What exactly do you have to do? These are all of the steps, in order:
Go to the Revolut website, and insert your phone number.
- Download the Revolut app on your smartphone. You can do this through the app centre, or by clicking on the link that will be sent to you via text.
- Verify your identity. Go to Profile > Settings > Personal Details in the Revolut app. To start the process, you’ll have to provide a photo of your ID, together with a picture of your face. Before you submit the documents, make sure that your profile details match the information on your legal ID.
- Order your Revolut card. Once your identity is verified, it’s time to choose your subscription (Standard, Premium, or Metal) and order your card. You can do this from the Revolut app by going to the Cards tab and setting up a physical card.
- Before you can complete the order, you’ll be asked to make your first deposit. You have to transfer at least £20.
- Your card is now on the way. With the Standard delivery method, it can take up to 9 working days for your card to be delivered. You can opt for Express delivery, but in my experience, the card takes about a week to arrive either way.
- Once the card is in your possession, fire up the Revolut app to link it to your account. That’s it!
Now, don’t get me wrong: the Revolut card is not the right solution for everyone. For example, if you’re from the UK and you need a GBP IBAN account, Revolut won’t be able to replace the services of a regular bank.
That said, Revolut is one of the best, most advantageous solutions for people who travel abroad frequently. From its no-fees policy to the bonuses you get with either of the paid plans, and the fact that you can exchange and hold up to 30 fiat currencies at a time, Revolut makes an attractive offer that most other fintech companies can’t match.