I find having to deal with foreign currency on the road a real pain. In Singapore I barely use cash these days, mostly opting to use Paywave (contactless credit card) or Paynow (direct bank transfers usually via QR code) when possible, but cash still remains king in many other countries. On past trips, I’ve tried using Youtrip, Wise and Trust Card, so when Revolut [affiliate link] approached me to check out their offerings, I was keen to see how they would match up. Here’s my review of using Revolut for travelling.
This review is sponsored by Revolut. Sign up to Revolut for free and get 3 months of premium free [Affiliate Link]
What is Revolut?
To put it simply, Revolut works like a debit card when you’re travelling. For travellers using the card overseas, you can use the Revolut card to:
- spend foreign currency like you would use a debit card
- store money for use
- exchange money to foreign currencies as needed for use/storage
- withdraw foreign currency overseas
- transfer money to foreign accounts
- online shopping in local and foreign currency
You can use it for cryptocurrency and stocks as well, but I don’t really know anything about that so my main concern was how Revolut would work for a traveller like myself.
I used the Revolut card on my latest trip to Taiwan. Taiwan is still pretty cash-dependent overall (unlike South Korea for example where you can use credit cards practically anywhere), so I mostly used Revolut card in convenience stores and when my accommodation or restaurant would accept card payments.
What I like about Revolut
Decent Free Tier
I’m using the free tier of Revolut – there are 2 paid tiers: Premium (S$9.99/mth) and Metal (S$19.99/mth) which I honestly don’t think you’ll need unless you are a seriously heavy user and need to withdraw or exchange very high amounts of foreign exchange. The free tier is pretty ok for vacations, but if I was on a longer trip Career Break I think I might need the premium tiers for more cash withdrawal.
Other Premium/Metal travel perks that Revolut has include:
- lounge access with smart delay
- discounted lounge access
- travel insurance
These are not things that matter much to me because I either don’t need or have it already, but it could be useful for some of you out there.
Easy to set up and use
Signing up for the card was a pretty quick and straightforward process. I downloaded the app from the Apple Store and signed up via my Singpass, ordered my free card through the app as well very easily.
The only thing I would like though would be to choose the name to put on my card. Usually I use a shorter version rather than my entire name, but since it automatically pulls from the official data, my full name is on the card.
The app is also pretty easy to use all around. Some banking apps drive me nuts when things are too well hidden, like it took me forever to find the place to swap between accounts for Trust Card for example. So far I’m liking the Revolut interface and app.
Good exchange rates
I tested the card out while I was in Taiwan, paying for one of my hotels with it. My rate was NTD 1 = S$0.0433 (NTD 100 = S$4.33) with no additional conversion or admin fees. Trust Card had similar rates as well when I used it in the past.
I did change some money at the Changi Airport before I flew off and the rate I got was about NTD 100 = $4.60, so definitely much better exchange rates on the Revolut card than in cash!
You can exchange up to 28+ currencies and hold that in your account. Some of the more relevant currencies (i.e. places that Singaporeans love to travel to best) include USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, HKD, JPY, THB. Great if you monitor the rates closely and are looking to exchange a sizeable amount. ($5k limit for free tier, $15k for Premium and unlimited for Metal)
Taiwan dollar isn’t included in this list, but you can still use the Revolut card in Taiwan, just make sure you have enough of your home currency (SGD for me) and the currency exchange happens automatically. I like that they show the rates very clearly as well in the transaction details.
A note that on weekends there is a 1% charge, which is not something I’ve noticed on other cards and honestly a bit odd to me, but something to take note of.
Free 2-way interbank transfer
I linked Revolut to my Singapore bank account and it’s both free and super quick to transfer money between my accounts money. After the initial set up, I don’t even need to key in any more bank details. Good if you need to make quick transactions on the go.
Also, I like that you can actually withdraw money from Revolut back to your bank account – I just need to add myself as a payee and transfer money back to myself almost instantly. Some cards like Youtrip are 1-way only, so if you misjudge and add too little to the Youtrip wallet, your card runs the risk of being rejected. If you add too much, you are then forced to spend from that card or leave the money in there.
For Singaporeans, Revolut uses e-Giro so you can directly link to accounts in major banks including Bank of China, DBS, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered and UOB.
Safer online security
Revolut also makes it easy to set up and use disposable cards. This is especially useful if you are a bit nervous about the security of some of these online shops. I haven’t had the chance to use this yet (juggling around too many cards to make minimum spends for cashback and other rewards) but it’s something I could see myself using.
So if you’re looking for a card to use for spending while travelling, you can check out the Revolut card and see if it works for you, overall my experience with the card was quite good. I have a link below that lets you get 3 months of premium free if you’re considering using the higher tiers as well.
Sign up to Revolut for free and get 3 months of premium free [Affiliate Link]