As editor of Money Saving Answers, I discuss Revolut in a number of our travel articles. It stands out as one of the best cards for foreign travel

Despite me personally using Revolut since 2016, neither myself nor the team at Money Saving Answers have ever written a complete review. Today I’m going to change that which my personal Revolut review. 

TIP: If you sign up to Revolut via our link you’ll get 3 months free premium membership. 

Revolut review – Pros and Cons


  • Fee-free foreign spending
  • Free foreign ATM withdrawals
  • Interbank exchange rate
  • Free transfers in UK and SEPA area
  • Top security features
  • Poor customer support
  • Poor public perception
  • Cluttered app
  • No FSCS protection

What is Revolut?

At its core Revolut is a digital banking service offering borderless multicurrency accounts, and frictionless currency exchanges. It can be used as a main bank account to receive your salary or pay bills, direct debits and standing orders, but where it really shines is currency exchange and foreign travel.

Founded in London in 2015, Revolut started as a prepaid travel card similar to that of the former TravelEx Supercard. I remember using the card in Ireland in 2016, and was impressed by the speed at which the spending notifications popped on my phone even before the cashier had handed me a receipt.  

Since then, Revolut has expanded its services and is no longer a pure prepaid travel card, but a digital account that covers ‘all things money.’ It has over 25 million customers worldwide, and operates in over 20 countries. 

Is Revolut a bank?

Yes, and no. It is a fully licenced bank in the EU, and has applied for a banking licence in the UK, and a bank charter in the USA. 

Interestingly, it doesn’t look likely to be granted a UK banking licence anytime soon. It originally applied in January 2021, but since then has had a number setbacks, the latest being it’s company accounts which as of January 2023 were seven months overdue. 

Who is Revolut for?

Revolut can be used in many of the same ways you’d use a normal bank account from the likes of Barclays, Santander etc… but I’d argue that’s mainly for people who want to save money when either travelling abroad, spending in foreign currencies, or exchange money without the exorbitant fees or poor rates offered on the highstreet. 

That might be digital nomads (or which there are around 2.4m Brits), Frequent travellers, foreign home owners, students taking a semester abroad, those with friends and family abroad etc. the list is endless. 

Revolut fees and plans

Revolut offers four different price plans:

  • Standard – free
  • Plus – £2.99 
  • Premium – £6.99
  • Metal – £9.99

The difference between standard and plus is mostly the fees and limits involved when using various Revolut services. Metal and Premium step this up and include travel insurance, airport lounge discounts, and other benefits. In this article though I’m mainly going to focus on the free standard plan, as that the one most will opt for. 

Fees and limits

Revolut is generally open and upfront about its fees, but there are still a few gotchas around, especially for those on the free standard plan. 

Firstly, you can exchange foreign currency fee-free up to your £1,000 fair use allowance. After that you’ll be charged 1%.

ATM withdrawals are free up to £200 per 30 day period, and up to 5 withdrawals. After this there is a 2% fee with a minimum of £1. 

Local payments i.e., those in the UK in GBP are always free, as are transfers to other Revolut users, and bank accounts within the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA).

On weekends, Revolut adds a 1-2% (depending on currency) mark-up on currency exchanges to cover any movement in the exchange rate when FX-markets are closed. Try to avoid exchanging any currency during these times if you can. 

Casual users should be able to avoid most of the fees, especially given the prevalence of contactless payments in popular holiday destinations. 

Those relying on cash, or travelling for extended period (or with a family), are likely to run into the fair use fee, and the ATM withdrawal fee. 

Do not ever exceed the ATM withdrawal limit. Doing so catapults Revolut from one of the cheapest cards around to one that should be avoided. If you’re a heavy cash user then Starling or Chase would be better. 

Revolut prepaid card(s)

Revolut cards on the beach

On joining Revolut you are given a free virtual card. This can be used for online, and point of sale transactions (via ApplePay or GooglePay) in either GBP or a foreign currency. 

You can also have a free physical card, but you might need to pay a delivery free of £5. Often this is waived though. 

There’s also a disposable card. This is designed for online shopping where you may not fully trust the website to store your details. On each use the card is destroyed, and replaced with a new one. Refunds still make their way to your Revolut account, but retailers cannot charge the card again. 

This is a great security feature, that I’ve found especially useful in taking advantage of free trials that require card details to be entered. 

Another useful feature for travellers is the mix of Visa and Mastercard products. The physical and disposable cards are Visa debit, while the virtual card is a Mastercard debit. It’s rare that stores won’t accept both, but it has happened to me on my travels that my Mastercards were rejected whereas Visa cards went through fine. 

The app

The Revolut app has grown over the years to encompass the company’s ‘all things money’ strategy. And while it offers a number of great features, I have found it has become quite bloated. 

It’s still quick and easy enough to use, and shouldn’t cause anyone any problems, but the interface is a little busy for my tastes.

It makes heavy use of icons, which is fine, but the sheer number of products and services means some things can get lost in the clutter. 

When I open a banking app, I expect my money to be the main focus of the app. Revolut does show your balance when opening the app, but only in one currency. If you have balances in other currencies you have to click on a little drop down arrow to switch.

If you want to total up how much you have in your account across all currencies, you need to scroll down towards the bottom of the page past Revolut’s suggestions and cashback offers, and analytics to see your ‘net worth’ as it’s called in the app.

Adding money and transferring money options are right there up top which is great, but the option to exchange money is hidden away under a sub-menu. I find this strange as the main benefit of Revolut over other neo banks is the currency exchange feature. 

I’d really like to see that exchange button next to the ‘add money’ and ‘transfer money’ options. 

By default, the home screen shows just a single recent transaction, with the option of clicking ‘See all’ to access more. I’d like to see more transactions listed here. Instead, the bottom third of the screen is taken up by suggestions of things Revolut thinks you might be interested in. It’s basically just advertising for Revolut’s other services. 

Overall, the app is fast and functional, with most options available in one or two clicks, but with so much going on, some ability to customise at least the Home Screen would be a welcome addition.

How to open a Revolut account

Signing up to Revolut takes less than 5 minutes, and because Revolut isn’t a bank, you don’t need to jump through as many hoops as you do with some accounts. There are no credit checks, and you don’t even need proof of address. 

For those reasons, it’s also a great first account for those new to the UK. And in some cases your Revolut account statement, can be used as proof of address when opening accounts elsewhere such as Virgin’s M account. See out guide on basic bank accounts for more information on this. 

Steps to open a Revolut account

If you sign up to Revolut via the link here, you’ll get three months of Premium for free. That includes free travel insurance so it is definitely worth it if you are travelling within the next few months. 

Download the app by clicking our link and using the QR code.

Sign up for an account: Open the app and select “Sign up”. You’ll be asked to provide some personal information, such as your name, email address, and phone number.

Verify your identity: Revolut uses a secure process to verify your identity, which typically involves taking a photo of your passport or driving licence, and a selfie.

Add a funding source: To start using your Revolut account, you’ll need to add a funding source or top up your account. You can do this by linking your bank account or debit/credit card, or via ApplePay and GooglePay.

Activate your card: Once you’ve completed the sign-up process and chosen your plan, you can order your Revolut card. You can choose between a physical or virtual card, and it will be delivered to you within a few days.

Revolut Crypto fees

Revolut launched its cryptocurrency platform in 2018. It allows all Revolut customers to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies in-app. The fees for which depend on the subscription held.

  • Standard and Plus users – 1.99% of the value of the transaction or £0.99 whichever is greater
  • Premium and Metal users – 1.49%

Standard and Plus users should also bear in mind that crypto exchanges count towards their £1,000 monthly fair usage limit. 

I tested the platform back in 2018 amidst the Bitcoin hype. It was easier to use and understand than a dedicated crypto exchange, and used the same familiar interface you get when exchanging foreign currency. 

The fact that I had money sitting in my Revolut account at the time, made it quick and easy buy a few fractions of BTC or XRP or whatever I dabbled in at the time. 

The only drawback I found came later, when I wanted to move my crypto to an external wallet. It just wasn’t possible. Fortunately, that has now changed and you can move your crypto assets to other wallets or cold storage. 

Obviously, it’s not as detailed or full featured as dedicated crypto exchange, but it’s this simplicity that makes it great for those who are curious to learn more about crypto in general. 

Revolut vs Wise

Revolut is by far the most popular multicurrency card, but it’s not the only game town. Wise (formerly Transferwise) also has a large following. 

Both offer free multicurrency accounts with debit cards. Both can be used a bank accounts if you wish to have your salary paid into them, or set up direct debits and standing orders. There are some key differences though. 

Wise focuses on low fees, while Revolut focuses on versatility. That doesn’t mean Wise is cheaper though. In fact, in the exchanges I have conducted Revolut always won out. 

There are caveats to that though. Both use the midmarket rate for currency exchanges but and for 15 of the most common currencies Revolut is cheaper as it doesn’t charge a fee, provided you stay within the fair use policy of your plan (which for the free plan is £1,000 a month). 

Wise does charge a free, but it’s up front and transparent about this. Where is beats Revolut is on exchanges in more exotic currencies where Revolut adds a 1% mark up, and on exchanges outside of market hours, which can incur as much as a 2% mark up. 

In terms of the debit cards, Revolut edges out Wise. Both allow spending in over 150 currencies, but Revolut customers on the free standard plan withdraw up to £200 a month fee free (in one go), whereas Wise offers two free ATM withdrawals of just £100 each, then charges up to 2% thereafter. 

Bearing in mind that my experience with Wise is limited to a few small transfers in testing and a few card transactions. It is a popular card in its own right especially amongst ex-pats and is said to be better with dealing with transfers to the USA. 

Chase vs Revolut

It may seem odd to compare Chase and Revolut, but in terms of spending abroad, they both perform a similar function. The main difference is that Revolut offers in-app currency exchange and foreign bank transfers in over 15 different currencies, and spending in over 150. Chase doesn’t yet offer international transfers, nor does it offer a currency exchange function. 

In terms of holiday spending, Chase is the clear winner. Both offer fee free point of sale spending aboard, but when it comes to ATM withdrawals it’s a different story.

The free Revolut account limits monthly ATM withdrawals to just £200 equivalent. Withdrawals over this amount are charged a 2% fee. Foreign ATM withdrawals via Chase, are limited to £1,500 a month, with a maximum daily amount of £500. In addition, Chase users visiting the USA can use Chase ATMs to avoid and ATM fees charged by the foreign bank. 

That’s not all though, Chase previously offered 1% cashback on spending via its debit card even when abroad. It has now amended this offer. Customers can still earn 1% cashback on spending, but must deposit at least £500 a month into their account. The cashback is also now limited to £15 a month. 

Is Revolut safe?

In the UK Revolut is not a bank, it’s an e-money institution. Although it is still regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, it isn’t part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. 

Instead, customer deposits are ring-fenced at Barclays and Lloyds, and cannot be used by Revolut for its own business activities. This provides a good degree of protection should anything happen to the company, but isn’t as iron-clad as full FSCS protection. 

Additionally, Revolut isn’t signatory to the voluntary Contingent Reimbursement Model Scheme (CRM), and has receive criticism in the past for refusing to reimburse victims of fraud where seemingly authorised payments were made. 

This is something that has been highlighted recently on the BBC, as a few victims of this type of authorised fraud have had trouble claiming anything back from Revolut. 

Is Revolut still worth it?

With the growth in digital banking and increased competition across the ‘travel money’ sector, I must admit I don’t find myself using Revolut anywhere near as much as I did in the past. 

That being said, there still many reasons to love Revolut. For one, it’s just so quick and easy. Exchanges are simple, and transfers to euro accounts are always via SEPA instant, which isn’t something that can be said for Starling. It also has a ton of services and features that just available from any other UK bank or fintech. Cryptocurrency and commodities investing for example right there in the same app. Shared vaults, group bills etc..

It’s also constantly innovating and adding new features. Many of these features aren’t just limited to Premium members either, but available to all account holders. An example of this is the virtual disposable card, which is great for online shopping security. A Premium feature on Monzo, but included in free standard plan for Revolut customers. 

For mainstream currencies it’s cheaper than Wise for the most part, and wins out as a travel card against Currensea (see our Revolut vs Currensea article) provided you can live within the tight limits of the free standard account. A top foreign travel credit or debit card, such as the Barclaycard Rewards, or Starling debit card still better for day-to-day spending abroad though. 

It’s not all positive though. Critical support is abysmal, you can’t actually talk to human. There’s also the question of fees. The standard plan is free, but only to a point. The fees for going over what are quite small allowances can add up if you aren’t careful, and on top of these, you can be hit by out-of-hours fees on currency exchanges. 

The company and its management are also questionable. It has been involved in a number of scandals over the years, from a culture of bullying, to disabling money laundering checks.

The latest negative headlines centre around the lack of support for victim of fraud where seemingly ‘authorised’ transactions were made. It was also more than 7 months late filing its annual accounts. Not something you expect from a would-be bank.  

Fortunately, the vast majority of customers remain unaffected by these incidents, but it certainly doesn’t help public perception, especially in an age where banks are increasingly adopting a more ethical stance. See Kroo for example. 

As a long-time account holder, my opinion is that Revolut certainly has its benefits, and although I’m not thrilled about its corporate governance, or public image, I do still see a use case for it. 

In particular for currency exchange and transfers to foreign accounts. Always making sure never to leave large sums of money in the account for any length of time due to the lack of FSCS protection. 

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