It has been a while, I know. However I finally have something worth writing about! It is not exactly a gadget but as I’ve said before, I will share anything that makes life easier and this definitely comes in to that category.
Revolut is an online bank account with an App and a debit card (see http://www.revolut.com) backed by MasterCard. You don’t need the card to use the app however. You top the account up with your base currency (in my case sterling) ready for your holiday and off you go… but why would you, and what makes it different?
First point: Your sterling is only exchanged when you actually spend it, so you don’t have to buy large amounts of currency just in case and get stuck with it, either having to save it until the next trip or exchange it back again.
Second point: The exchange rate is the bank rate and not the tourist rate you would usually get from buying currency. This can make a huge difference.
Third point: The card is a contactless debit card which can be used in shops, hotels, ATMs for all purchases and cash requirements.
Fourth Point: There are no charges for the service. The app is free. The card is free. Withdrawal of cash is free (there is a limit of a ‘charge free’ withdrawal of £200 cash per month. After that there is a charge of 2% for any more cash withdrawn that month).
There is so much flexibility in the system that it is difficult to précis it all for a blog post, but the above points are the ones that will appeal to anybody who travels. Being my blog though, I would like to share all the ways I have used Revolut, and I only signed up about three months ago and have left the country once so far.
Late last year we had a visit from some Spanish friends. She had exchanged euros to sterling for the trip but at the end of the week was left with £150. I kept the sterling and used Revolut to send her the equivalent in Euros. She does not have a Revolut account but that doesn’t matter. Revolut send a link to her email address or mobile number (your choice which). She receives the link and fills in her bank details. The money is then deposited in her account. Simple and effective.
Next was a Christmas present for my niece in Australia, and later that month a 60th Birthday present for a close friend, also in Australia. Both gifts I bought were on Australian websites for local delivery. If I had used my own credit card or debit card, there would have been an extra charge so I used Revolut to pay in their local currency. Inter Bank exchange rate, no charges.
One of our christmas gifts from our kids was an overnight trip to Berlin (how lucky am I?) so of course I topped up my Revolut account for the trip. I used it to pay for train tickets, restaurants, gift shop and also in an ATM to withdraw some cash I know we will need for an upcoming skiing trip. Not a single extra charge was paid. The app shows you the amount you paid, who to, the exchange rate on the day and you can even catagorise the purchase and add your own note for reference later.
We wanted to buy something we could only get in America on Amazon. So we paid for it and had it sent to a friend in Texas who arranged to post it to us. She messaged me with the amount in US$ and I paid her through Revolut (she got a text message etc). She was so impressed by it, she asked how I did it and has now joined up herself.
My children have signed up to Revolut themselves. In fact it was my daughter-in-law who told me about it. It makes life even easier! We are off on holiday together in the near future and I payed for all our seats and luggage requirements. They paid me straight back on the Revolut card just by ticking my name in their contacts.
If you prefer to know your exchange rate rather than be subject to the highs and lows in these volatile times, not a problem. You can exchange your base currency in to the currency of your choice and spend it in all the forms mentioned above. All on the same account using the same card.
Revolut have promotional videos and a very good website which you should check out. Here I just wanted to share it’s versatility in every day life from the perspective of a very ordinary person living a pretty normal life.