Revolut, how does revolut work

Revolut Card Review | How to Use Revolut Abroad

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The Revolut card is one of the cards we always carry with us while traveling since it allows us to pay and withdraw money abroad without pesky currency exchange fees. Moreover, Revolut lets us carry out transactions in different currencies, such as changing from one currency to another when the exchange rate is more favorable.

I had read many Revolut reviews, but what convinced me to try it was hearing about my cousin’s experience. He went to London for a job opportunity and used his Revolut USD account to pay for his expenses in the UK. Once he started working, he added money to his Revolut card with British pounds, which he used to pay for his expenses when he came back to the USA.

Revolut works in the U.S., and many other countries which is great for us since we travel to different countries most of the year. So, in this guide, I’ll tell you all about Revolut, including what it is exactly, how it works, and why it’s the best financial app for expats and frequent travelers.

Before we begin, I’ll tell you that we use Revolut in addition to other cards to help save money while traveling, like the Wise card. In this guide, I’ll focus on Revolut and how you can use it to make payments while avoiding currency exchange fees, withdraw money from foreign ATMs, and more.

What is Revolut?

Revolut is a financial management company that originated in the UK in 2015 and launched in the U.S. in 2020. Over 20 million people use this financial app to make payments abroad, exchange currencies, get paid in other countries, and more.

With your Revolut card, you can withdraw money from just about any ATM, including 55,000 in-network ATMs, without commission fees. Moreover, the card allows you to change your currency when the exchange rate is more favorable, so you can save more money while traveling.

Revolut card, how does revolut work

What is Revolut?

Depending on the country, your Revolut card can be a Mastercard or Visa card. For example, in the U.S. and UK, it’s a Revolut Mastercard. Of course, it doesn’t matter which card you have with Revolut since the exchange rate is determined by the interbank rate, which is one of the best.

The Revolut debit card is free (excluding the shipping cost), which makes it one of the best cards for travel out there. Also, since it’s a financial super-app, you can handle all your transactions in the Revolut app, including opening an account and ordering your card.

Revolut frequently updates its products and features, so check out the Revolut Terms and Conditions to see the latest offerings.

How does Revolut work?

The Revolut app lets you take care of basic transactions like ATM withdrawals and currency exchange in one place. Its banking services are provided by partner banks like Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, so your money is FDIC insured up to $250,000.

Revolut’s international bank account number (IBAN) is European, specifically Lithuanian, so deposits to other accounts are made via SWIFT. This means that the funds usually take one to three days to appear in the account.

Revolut, can i use my revolut card abroad

You can also add money to the Revolut card via the app using a debit or credit card. Revolut sends instant spend notifications, and you can see your real-time balance at any time, so you’re always aware of how much money you have. Revolut uses location-based security, so if it sees that your card was used in an unusual location, it’ll alert you and you can freeze and block your card instantly right in the app.

I’ll show you more specific examples of how to use Revolut abroad in the following sections. However, I want to add that during our trips, we use the Revolut card and the Wise card so we can withdraw more money each month without exceeding the limits and accruing extra fees. So, if you think you’ll have a hard time adhering to the monthly withdrawal and transfer limits, consider getting a secondary card.

Types of Revolut cards

While we use the free Revolut card (Revolut Standard), the company offers other types of cards and accounts. I’ll explain each one below, so you can choose the plan that best suits your needs. You’ll also find a comparison chart so you can quickly and easily see the benefits of each plan.

Revolut Standard (free)

The Revolut Standard card is 100% free and has no minimum balance requirement. This plan lets you take care of spending and transfers abroad with no hidden fees. Below are the main features you can expect from the Standard plan:

  • Currency exchange up to $1,000/month without fees
  • ATM withdrawals up to $1,200/month (or an equivalent amount in a foreign currency) without fees at 55,000 in-network ATMs
  • 10 international transfers/month without fees

Revolut Standard, revolut credit card

As long as you don’t exceed the monthly limits, you won’t be charged any extra fees. These limits aren’t a problem for us since we use our Revolut card with the Wise card, so we can withdraw an extra $200 per month.

That said, keep in mind that when you order your Revolut card from the U.S., you’ll have to pay a small delivery fee of about $5.00 for shipping. Don’t worry though, because if you create your Revolut account through this link, you’ll receive a $10 bonus once you make your first payment.

Revolut Premium ($9.99/month)

The Revolut Premium plan costs $9.99 per month and lets you enjoy the following perks:

  • Unlimited currency exchanges with no fees
  • ATM withdrawals up to $1,200/month (or an equivalent amount in a foreign currency) without fees at 55,000 in-network ATMs
  • 10 international transfers/month with no fees
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Priority Revolut customer support
  • 2 free lounge passes for flight delays over an hour
  • Express delivery for your Revolut card

Revolut Premium offers many advantages for frequent travelers, including travel medical insurance, although I still recommend you take out a policy with one of the best travel insurance companies on the market.

Revolut Premium, how to add money to revolut

Revolut Metal ($16.99/month)

The Revolut Metal card costs $16.99 per month and comes with the most benefits of all the plans:

  • Unlimited currency exchanges with no fees
  • ATM withdrawals up to $1,200/month (or an equivalent amount in a foreign currency) without fees at 55,000 in-network ATMs
  • 10 international transfers/month with no fees
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Express delivery for your Revolut card
  • Priority Revolut customer support
  • 4 free lounge passes for flight delays over an hour
  • Flight delay insurance and delayed luggage protection

Revolut Metal, revolut debit card

Revolut cards comparison

Now that you know what Revolut is and how it works, as well as the different Revolut cards offered, here is a breakdown of each plan.

 

REVOLUT STANDARD

REVOLUT PREMIUM

REVOLUT METAL

Price

Free

$9.99/month

$16.99/month

Card delivery

Standard

Express

Express

Fee-free ATM withdrawals (per month)

$1,200

$1,200

$1,200

Fee-free currency exchanges (per month)

$1,000

Unlimited

Unlimited

Fee-free international transfers (per month)

10

10

10

Priority customer support

No

Yes

Yes

Travel medical insurance

No

Yes

Yes

Flight & baggage delay insurance

No

No

Yes

APPLY

APPLY

APPLY

 

This Revolut cards comparison should help you narrow down which plan is best for your needs.

How to apply for a Revolut card

Once you find the Revolut plan that’s best for you, you’ll need to apply for a free Revolut card. Fortunately, the process takes just five minutes, and you can save on shipping costs if you order the Revolut Standard card through our link, which gives you $10 for free.

Requirements to apply for a Revolut card

First of all, it’s important to know the requirements to request a Revolut card:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Proper identification (passport, driver’s license)

As you can see, the requirements are very simple, so you shouldn’t have any problem applying for a Revolut account.

How to open a Revolut account

You can open a Revolut account from your phone in minutes (so make sure you’re reading this article on your smartphone so you can receive the $10 bonus).

  1. Click this link and download the Revolut app.
  2. Enter your phone number and agree to the Terms and Conditions. Then, choose a strong password for your Revolut account.
  3. Revolut will send you a text with a verification code. Enter that code into the Revolut app.
  4. Enter your personal info, including the address where you want to receive the Revolut card.
Revolut card, revolut international transfer

How to open a Revolut account

That’s it! You’ll receive a confirmation message stating that your Revolut account has been activated. The next thing to do is to request your free Revolut card.

How to order a Revolut card with free shipping

If you use this link to download the Revolut app on your phone, you won’t get your Revolut card for free but you will receive a $10 bonus, which can cover the shipping costs. You’ll have to apply for the card first by following these steps:

  1. Load the Revolut card with at least $10 using a bank transfer or a credit or debit card you already have.
  2. Click on “Request card.” The shipping cost will be deducted from the money you’ve added.
  3. Verify your identity by taking a selfie and a photo of your ID through the app.
  4. Choose a physical card or a virtual card. I recommend the physical card since some places don’t accept digital versions.
  5. Select the type of shipment for your card. The Revolut Standard card comes with standard shipping, but Premium and Metal offer express shipping.
  6. Create a PIN for your Revolut card.

Once the card arrives, use it for the first time to activate it. If you open your account using this link, you’ll automatically receive a bonus of $10.

As you can see, applying for and receiving your Revolut card is quick and easy. Of course, depending on the type of plan you choose, you may have a monthly fee ($9.99 for Premium or $16.99 for Metal).

How long does the Revolut card take to arrive?

With standard shipping, it can take up to nine business days to receive your Revolut card. If you need it right away, choose express delivery to get the card within three business days.

It took five days for my Revolut debit card to arrive with standard shipping.

How to activate a Revolut card

To activate a Revolut card, make a payment with the card at any store, restaurant, or hotel. You could also use the card at any ATM since this requires you to enter your PIN. If you have a virtual card, it’s already activated.

That said, regardless of the type of card you have, you must verify your identity before you can use it.

How to use Revolut abroad

To help you get the most out of your new debit card, I will explain all the ways you can use Revolut. We use our Revolut card with the Wise card, particularly when we need to withdraw more than the $1,200 monthly ATM limit. This helps us avoid extra commission fees.

Below are the different scenarios when you can use your Revolut debit card.

Revolut ATM withdrawal

Revolut has over 55,000 ATMs in its network, so you can enjoy fee-free withdrawals almost anywhere. Regardless of which Revolut account you have, you can withdraw up to $1,200 per month (or an equivalent amount in a foreign currency) from out-of-network ATMs with no fees. If you exceed this limit, you’ll pay a 2% commission fee on the withdrawal amount in the same currency.

Revolut card app, how many revolut cards can i have

Revolut ATM withdrawal

When doing an ATM withdrawal via Revolut, you can withdraw money in another currency and apply the interbank exchange rate for that day. Or you can change currencies in the Revolut app and withdraw the money later on or the next day. This ensures you get the best bang for your buck.

Revolut payments

Making a payment with Revolut while abroad is simple. Just pay in the local currency, and Revolut will do the currency exchange for you, using the interbank exchange rate. As long as you don’t surpass the monthly spending limit of $1,000, you won’t have any fees. If you exceed this limit, you’ll pay a 0.5% fair usage fee. The Revolut Metal plan doesn’t have a spending limit.

For person-to-person payments within the Revolut network, there is no monthly limit. Just use your Revolut app to request and send money or split bills between friends. You can even send money to local bank accounts at no charge.

Income in different currencies

If you receive income in a currency other than USD, the Revolut card lets you deposit money in up to 30 different currencies fee-free. This way, you can use them when, where, and how you want.

If you receive direct deposit payments, you can access them from your Revolut account up to two days early.

Change currencies

With the Revolut app, you can quickly and easily exchange currencies. Just choose the amount you wish to exchange, and the type of currency. Revolut will even tell you when the exchange rate is most favorable, so you get the best deal.

Free Revolut money transfers

You can make unlimited U.S. bank transfers with Revolut for free in the app. Also, with your Revolut account, you get 10 free international transfers per month to any bank account. Be aware that these types of transfers are processed via SWIFT, so the funds will be available to the recipient in one to three days.

Send money abroad with Revolut

You can send money abroad or make a transfer with Revolut in another currency right in the app. Remember that you’ll have to pay a conversion fee if the transfer is in a different currency than that of your Revolut account.

Other things you can do with the Revolut app

In the Revolut app, there is a feature called Savings Vault that you can use to save money.

If you activate this feature, your Revolut purchases will be rounded up to the nearest dollar. So, if you buy something that costs $20.58, you’ll pay $21 and the extra 42 cents will go into your Savings Vault. This occurs for all your purchases, with your Savings Vault accumulating savings over time. You can withdraw or use the money whenever you’d like.

Another interesting feature, which I touched on earlier, is that you can share trip expenses with your friends if they have a Revolut account. Alternatively, you can set up recurring payments to other people in the Revolut network.

How to add money to a Revolut card

Adding money to your Revolut account is super simple. Open your Revolut app and click on “add money to spend later” on the checkout screen. This will open a menu with different options.

Map with passport, which revolut card to get

How to add money to a Revolut card

You can then add money using a debit or credit card, or you can add money to your Revolut account using a bank transfer. If your device supports Apple Pay or Google Pay, you can add money this way, too.

When depositing money in Revolut, select the type of currency, type in the amount, and click “add money”.

Which currencies work with the Revolut card?

You can use Revolut in any currency, but you can only do international transfers in these currencies: AED, AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HRK, HUF, ILS, ISK, JPY, MXN, NOK, NZD, PLN, QAR, RON, RUB, SAR, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, USD, and ZAR.

Revolut fees

As you saw with each Revolut plan, there is an ATM withdrawal limit of $1,200 per month (or an equivalent amount in a foreign currency). If you exceed this limit, you’ll have to pay a commission fee of 2% of the value of the withdrawal amount.

If you have Revolut Standard, you can exchange up to $1,000 per month, after which you’ll be charged a fair usage fee of 0.5% on any additional amount.

Regardless of which Revolut card you have, there is a 1% markup on foreign transactions on weekends due to market closures, so be aware of that.

I recommend having another card that you can use in addition to Revolut, so you can avoid extra fees. For example, we use our Revolut card as well as our Wise card.

Revolut card pros and cons

Before you sign up with Revolut, it’s important to look at the main benefits of the Revolut card, as well as its drawbacks.

PROS CONS
  • You can open your Revolut account in minutes
  • No start-up or maintenance fees
  • You can manage everything in one app
  • The Revolut debit card can be used almost anywhere
  • Revolut uses the interbank exchange rate
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals at over 55,000 in-network ATMs
  • No monthly fees with the Standard plan
  • You can transfer money in over 200 countries without worrying about the currency
  • Revolut transfers money in 30 different currencies
  • You can make recurring payments
  • You can split travel expenses with friends
  • Revolut’s Savings Vault feature helps you save money and earn interest
  • Revolut customer support is only available via live chat
  • There is a 1% markup on foreign transactions on weekends (due to market closures)
  • Revolut doesn’t have its own ATMs, so it can’t do cash deposits (although mobile check deposits are available)
  • The monthly limits are a bit rigid, especially on the Standard plan

Again, we travel with the Revolut card as well as the Wise card to avoid going over those monthly limits, which is the only disadvantage that would affect us the most.

Revolut customer service

The Revolut app is intuitive and user-friendly, so you can manage all your money and transactions in one place. However, if you need to contact Revolut customer support, you can do so in the following ways:

Revolut phone number

If you want to block your card because it was lost or stolen, you can do so in the app or call the automated Revolut phone number at +1-844-744-3512. Since it’s an automated number, it won’t call you back, but it will provide recorded information on how to block your card.

Revolut live chat

Revolut’s live chat is the best way to contact customer support since it’s available 24/7.

Just open your Revolut app and go to the menu in the upper left corner. Click on “Help”, then “New chat”, and you’ll be connected to one of the customer service agents. If you have the Premium or Metal plan, you’ll get priority support.

Without a doubt, this is the fastest and easiest way to get assistance.

Revolut card review

When my cousin explained his experience with Revolut to me, I had recently moved to the United States, so I decided to give it a try. While my cousin had great things to say about Revolut, I didn’t have the best experience at first because U.S. banks don’t have IBANs. So, putting money into my Revolut account from the United States was at first a hassle. Then I found out that adding money to a Revolut card using another debit/card was very easy so I have been doing so since then.

Revolut customer service, revolut cards comparison

Revolut card review

Of course, Revolut has been the most beneficial for us when we take trips, especially when traveling abroad, where we rely heavily on my Revolut card.

I’d also like to share some Revolut reviews from other friends and family members:

  • As I mentioned, during my cousin’s trip to London, he was easily able to exchange his money from USD to GBP. He also likes how secure Revolut’s virtual cards
  • My brother also uses Revolut abroad, and on his last trip to Colombia, his wallet was stolen. Fortunately, he was able to freeze his Revolut card in a matter of seconds through the app. With the rest of his cards, he had to make a phone call, which took up a lot of time.
  • Finally, my friend Sarah went to study Spanish in Mexico, and she paid for her expenses with a Revolut card. She also used the Savings Vault feature and managed to save over 300 dollars in just three months.

You can check out more Revolut card reviews on Trustpilot.

FAQs about Revolut

If you have any questions about using Revolut, here are the answers to some common questions:

The Revolut debit card is a Visa or Mastercard depending on the country. In the U.S., it’s a Mastercard.

Revolut’s IBAN is European, specifically from Lithuania.

Use the Revolut app to add money to your Revolut card, either via a debit or credit card or via SWIFT transfer.

The Revolut card is fee-free as long as you don’t exceed the monthly limits. If you exceed the limit, the commission fee is 2% for ATM withdrawals, plus 0.5% for foreign exchanges (1% on the weekends).

You get unlimited free transfers within the Revolut network (person-to-person). You can make up to 10 international transfers per month with your Revolut plan.

You can make up $1,000 in payments abroad with the Revolut card unless you have Revolut Metal, which doesn’t have a limit.

You can withdraw up to $1,200 per month (or an equivalent amount in a foreign currency) without fees at 55,000 in-network ATMs.

I hope this guide helped you get familiar with Revolut, its features, and its benefits. Remember, Revolut regularly updates its products and features, so check the Revolut Terms and Conditions to see the latest promotions and deals.

If you have any questions about the Revolut app, feel free to leave me a comment below. I’d be happy to hear from you, and I’d also like to hear about your experience with the Revolut card.

Enjoy traveling with Revolut!


COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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