Using Revolut abroad: Is it the right app to use?

Revolut offers low to no fees when you use your card abroad, plus a range of other travel benefits too. Here's what you need to know.

If you’re planning a trip abroad, it’s important to think carefully about your spending options while you’re away. Taking plastic with you is convenient and safer than cash, but many debit and credit cards charge high foreign transaction fees when you use them abroad.

To avoid these fees, look for a card specifically designed for overseas spending. One option is Revolut.

What is Revolut?

Revolut is a digital banking app that comes with an account and a payments card. Everything is managed online, making it ideal for managing your money on the go, no matter where you are in the world.

You can use the Revolut app to make payments abroad and exchange currencies. You can also spend and withdraw cash on the Revolut card in more than 150 currencies across the globe, wherever Mastercard and Visa are accepted.

What features does Revolut offer for going abroad?

Below is a list of the key features Revolut offers to anyone heading overseas:

Low fees

You can use the Revolut card to spend and withdraw cash abroad in the same way you would at home. No fees will be charged for these transactions, provided you stay within your monthly limit and carry out transactions on a weekday. These limits depend on your chosen plan.

Any transactions that go over your fair usage limit or are carried out on a weekend will incur a fee. Note that fair usage limits apply to all exchanges, including currency and commodities.

Currency exchange

Revolut lets you convert money in 36 currencies in the app. This gives you the option to convert some spending money into the local currency before you head off on holiday and could work to your advantage if exchange rates are favourable.

If you don’t exchange currency before you go, Revolut simply carries out the exchange when you pay for something with your card overseas. Revolut uses its own variable exchange rate to carry out this conversion, and you can view the breakdown of the total cost in the app once you’ve carried out your transaction. Remember that each exchange counts towards your fair usage limit for Standard and Plus customers.

Money transfers

Revolut also lets you send money abroad in more than 150 currencies. Payments sent in euros to an account inside the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) are free (Monday to Friday). Other transfers incur a fee, which depends on the currency involved. Premium and Metal customers get a discount on these fees, while Ultra customers don’t pay a fee.

Any fees are calculated in real time and shown to you in the app before you make your payment. Again, each transfer counts towards your fair usage limit if you’re a Standard or Plus customer.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is automatically included in Revolut’s Premium, Metal and Ultra plans. Customers benefit from cover for delayed, lost and damaged luggage, as well as cover for delayed or disrupted flights. Global medical insurance and winter sports insurance are also included, while Metal and Ultra customers get personal liability insurance when abroad.

Cashback on accommodation

All plans enable you to earn cashback when you book accommodation abroad through Revolut Stays. The amount of cashback you earn depends on your plan.

Airport lounge access

Premium and Metal plan holders can enjoy discounted airport lounge access, while Ultra plan customers get access for free. Access can be bought through the Revolut app.

Car hire excess insurance

If you’re a Metal or Ultra plan holder, you’ll also benefit from car hire excess insurance. Revolut will cover the excess or damage liability fee if your hire car is damaged or stolen.

Pros and cons of Revolut

Pros

  • Fee-free card transactions abroad (up to your plan limit and on weekdays only)
  • Low cost international money transfers
  • Travel insurance included with certain plans
  • All plans let you earn cashback on Revolut Stays bookings

Cons

  • Fees apply for foreign transactions carried out on weekends
  • Fee-free cash withdrawals come with a monthly limit
  • The best offers apply to paid-for Revolut plans
  • Fees and limits can be a little confusing

Bottom line

If you’re heading abroad in the coming months, the Revolut card is certainly worth considering. If you want to apply, you’ll need to think carefully about the types of transactions – and how many of them – you plan to carry out when you’re away and whether you can manage most of your currency exchange on a weekday.

This helps you decide whether Revolut’s free Standard plan is sufficient or whether you’d prefer to pay a monthly fee and benefit from greater allowances and additional perks such as travel insurance. You might feel this is worth it if you travel regularly.

Frequently asked questions

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