If like me, you are frustrated in having to sort out your travel money every time you go abroad, there is now a great and cheaper alternative. Of course there are other solutions out there but I personally find the Revolut card the best for value for money, speed and ease.
The Revolut card is effectively a prepaid Mastercard, which works closely with the phone app. The card currently gives perfect interbank rates (the rates banks give each other ) for over 80 currencies including Euros and US Dollars. The only two exceptions are Thai baht and Russian roubles (it will still offer you an exchange rate, just it won’t be a perfect rate so check before you convert.
The card itself is controlled from the App. This is where you initially order your Revolut card, where you load money from a Debit card (fee free) or by Bank Transfer. Once you have loaded money onto the card, you can then convert part of this into anyone of the 80 plus currencies. You can do this before you go abroad or as and when whilst you are abroad (this allows you therefore to lock in a particularly exchange rate or allow the rate to fluctuate – depending on how the rate changes over time, one method or the other will be cheapest but this is hard to forecast unless you are an expert Foreign Exchange Trader (and even they get it wrong sometimes).
Remember, you need a smartphone to use it as it’s managed via an app, meaning you can load, exchange and withdraw funds with the touch of a few buttons . Once you’ve loaded cash, you can spend anywhere in the world Mastercard’s accepted without requiring an internet / wifi connection.
For the safety conscious, Revolut’s card provider Optimal Payments is FCA-regulated, meaning your money is kept in a ring-fenced account; so in the event there are problems with Revolut, the money’s safe. Additionally, the App has some neat in-built safety features including the ability to totally block the card, disable magnetic stripe transactions or allow location based transactions (so if you are in America and someone tries using it in China, it would decline the transaction).
As well as being able to use the card just like any normal Mastercard, you can also make fee free ATM withdrawals. This is free up to £500/€650/$700 a month, after which a 2% fee applies.
Now of course maintaining perfect rates isn’t sustainable so if Revolut can’t find a way to make other revenue, after a year it may add a fee to hold the card. But of course it will notify you in advance if it does decide to do this and in the meantime, it is a great and cheap way to spend whilst abroad.
Of course what I have forgotten to mention is you can use it even if you are not travelling abroad but purchasing things in difference currencies. Rather than using your bank or credit card or PayPal and accepting their eye watering exchange rates, use the Revolut card and save money.