Travelling Is Expensive Enough Already – Let’s Use Revolut To Save Some Money
For those of you who frequently read this blog, you’re probably aware that I’m currently enjoying a 5 month adventure around South East Asia with a fairly small bag, my Revolut card and, of course, my MacBook Air (these posts aren’t going to write themselves you know!).
As always, before my trip I did plenty of research of things to buy, what to wear and most thankfully how to save money whilst traveling. This lead me to an excellent discovery of a company that are doing something very innovative. This post is all about that company and how they can save you money and be totally awesome.
The company is called Revolut and you can read more about them by clicking here.
To summarise (in a traveling context):
Revolut can provide you with a Debit MasterCard that allows you to spend money anywhere in the world FOR FREE
Check out the 2 scenarios below where this solutions shines:
1. You go to any country in the world, let’s say Italy. Try the local cuisine by visiting an enticing looking restaurant by the river. Enjoy a lovely steak with a well earned beer (travelling is a chore) and ask for the bill. When the bill arrives, you hand over your Revolut card, enter your PIN and walk away knowing that you’ve paid a very generous exchange rate resulting in you paying no more than you should. That’s right, you paid JUST FOR THE MEAL!
2. You arrive in Brazil and in all excitement forgot to exchange any money…or chose not to. As soon as you’ve collected your bag you run over to a suspicious looking ATM machine with it’s delightfully evil green flashing light. You put your Revolut card in and take out way more Brazilian Real than you know you should be carrying on you. Hop on the wifi as soon as you arrive in your hotel, check your Revolut account on the phone app and realise that you haven’t been charged anything for that withdrawal and once again, have received a very generous exchange rate.
Let’s Do Some Exciting Mathematics
I plan to be away for 5 months and have estimated this entire trip in SE Asia to cost me around £4,655 (gotta get specific with those estimates – oh, and £35 a day in case you’re interested). Let’s say that £1,500 of that is used up on travel. And, let’s also say I’m a rather relaxed person and didn’t exchange any money before leaving Blighty (slightly true).
That leaves me with £3,155 spending money that I need to get by either using an ATM or my card.
My HSBC Advance account charges 2.75% each time I take money out OR use my Debit/Credit card to purchase something. I am going to 8 countries and suspect I will need to make 2 ATM visits at each country (I never seem to get the right amount out the first time!). In reality, it will likely be more times than this! To be generous, I’ll average that I’ll do 20 ATM transactions.
£3,155 divided by 20 (transactions) is £157.75 taken out of an ATM each time.
2.75% charge on each of these transactions is £4.34 (rounded).
£4.34 charged each transaction, 20 times, is (drum roll please):
£86.80! – Do you have any idea how many meals and beers that is in Thailand!? Madness! This shows the usefulness of beautiful Revolut.
Yes, it’s true. I do these type of calculations all the time and LOVE it. I am half tempted to put a mistake in there to make sure you’re all paying attention ;).
How It Works, How To Sign Up & All That Jazz
OK, so you’re sold on the idea of it? Awesome. Let me explain how to easily sign up and get the free money debit card you’re drooling over.
1. Download the Revolut App On Your Phone
First things first, either go to revolut.com by clicking here OR search for their app on your Android/iOS app store to download the Revolut app.
2. Upload a Bank Card OR Bank Account Details
Upload a bank card OR add a bank account so you can make payments straight into your Revolut account. Adding a bank card is extremely easy. You can use the camera to scan the card straight in and it automatically adds it without you needing to type anything.
It is worth me mentioning that this is all very secure – your card/bank account will only be used to top up your account and will never make a transaction without your own doing.
3. Top Up Your Revolut Account
Top up your Revolut account using the card or bank account mentioned above. I just did £10 at first to try it out and it worked perfectly. You can even play around with the exchange rates at this part to see how good a rate you get exchanging into Dollars and Euros.
As soon as I got to this stage, I accidentally converted £10 into dollars and back again. After doing this, I had £9.99 in my account. Which means that I got pretty much the perfect exchange rate both ways! If you went into any Bureau De Change then I’m sure you wouldn’t come back with only 1p less.
4. Order Your Debit Card
Ordering a debit card (Mastercard) from within the app is easy as well – and is completely free. Just click on the Card tab at the bottom and follow the process to have a card delivered to you. The button will say something like: Deliver the Card To Me.
You’ll notice that you can actually use the card already without having a physical one being delivered. This is great if you plan to buy anything online in a different currency. For example, purchasing that shirt that only exists in America! I’m talking about the Becket from Mizzen+Main if you’re interested.
Note: The card may take up to 8 working days to be delivered due to high demand. It’s popular!
5. Use The Card
Use the card to take money out at ATM machines or pay for items/meals using your card. You can get your PIN by clicking on the Card tab at the bottom of the app and clicking on the Show PIN button
That’s It! You won’t get any of the usual bank charges and the money will be converted straight into the local currency for free, at a very good exchange rate. It seriously works and has saved us a lot of money already so go check it out.
It’s Not All Fun And Daisies
A WARNING: The ATM scenarios described here are very real and true BUT there are some ATMs out there in the big wide world that charge you for taking money out. These are exactly the same as the ones you see on the high street in a city in England. As you know, it’s probably better to walk another 100 feet to go use a free one! These charges come from the bank that you are taking money from and can be avoided by doing what you do in England and avoiding the ones that charge. Sometimes it’s worth having a quick Google of the area to find ATMs that don’t charge.
Citibank: I know that Citibank don’t charge so recommend you nip in and get some currency using your Revolut card whenever you’re passing by one of these.
Enjoy The Savings
I seriously hope you find this useful and sign up. The Revolut card has been a life saver for me on this trip as I love to be as efficient as possible.
Please comment below now to let me know your thoughts and enjoy the savings.
Posted on: March 28, 2016
Don't be shy now! I am very passionate about what I do and would love your feedback, comments or abuse. Any comments are welcome so pitch in and we could end up discussing something very exciting and inspirational.
12 comments on “Revolut | Travelling Soon? Check Out This Necessary Money Saving Tip”
I’m off to Bangkok and Bali on Friday and have my Revolut card ready to go. How have you found using the Revolut card in Thailand/Indonesia? I’m wondering how much (if any) cash to take in case the card fails me?
That’s very exciting news for you! Bali was my favourite place to visit after spending 4.5 months travelling – You’ll have a blast :)!
Excellent work on getting a Revolut card – You’ll definitely save a lot of money. My experience is below:
Overall: I only encountered a couple of issues with the card not working. This happened in Vietnam and was literally only twice. This also happened about 2/3 months ago and Revolut have been making a lot of improvements since then and I believe they have sorted whatever the issue was.
Indonesia: You will have absolutely no problems here and won’t need to get any cash before going. I spent 1 month here (mostly Bali!) and my card worked perfectly when making purchased on the card and when getting money out at the ATM.
Thailand: This one a little bit more tricky, no fault of Revolut though. Most of the ATMs charge a fee whilst taking money out. This is usually about 200 Thai Bhat, which is about £4 – quite a lot for taking your own money out. If possible, try to take out from Citibank whenever you see one. Aside from that, there was absolutely no issues with using Revolut to buy things and take money out of an ATM. Perhaps it would be worth taking a bit of money out for Thailand to avoid possible ATM charges, especially if this is your first destination.
Another couple of useful things:
– If you’re on Three network then your phone will work as normal in Indonesia at no extra cost
– It is worth downloading the Maps.Me app for offline maps. It’s crowed sourced and very good.
Thanks a lot for your comment and let me know how your trip goes! Especially the Revolut side.
Thank you for your quick and comprehensive reply! I’m getting very excited now and am extremely comforted by your positive experience with Revolut. Having read some reviews, I was beginning to worry but I know that you can’t believe most things you read these days!
I had heard that Thailand can be a bit tricky with the ATMs. Thank you for advising to use Citibank – I will keep my eyes peeled!
I will let you know how I got on when I return! I may not have any money left by that point but something tells me that won’t be Revolut’s fault!
All the best,
Oh yes – the Internet can certainly be full of very varied reviews! I’m very glad that my experience and advice has comforted you. Thank you very much for your comments.
I hope you have a fantastic trip and really look forward to hearing about it when you return! Especially your celebrations of finding those Citibanks!
Ha, yeah…I’m in Thailand currently and the trip all of a sudden became a bit more expensive due to the weakness of the Pound! I’m sure it will recover in no time ;).
All the best,
I recently got a Revolut card and am jetting off to India, Nepal and South East Asia in two weeks time, but I’ve not yet put any money on it. I keep asking myself the same silly question that I can’t find an answer to – is it better to upload money as GBP and withdraw from ATM’s (in Vietnam for instance) as you normally would, or should I upload to GBP and convert to USDin the app before withdrawing money from ATM’s when away. I really can’t work out whether the weakness of GBP will have much difference in each case at the moment and whether or not I would get a better exchange rate by converting to USD first before withdrawals. Probably a very stupid question, but I can’t get my head around it. Do you think you could help please?
I was also thinking along the same lines as Georgia as to how much cash to take, but given your posts below, I think I may only take a little USD for back-up in case I can’t find a citibank ATM right away.
Thanks in advance!
Thanks a lot for your message. It sounds like you have an incredible trip ahead of you. Which is very hard for me to say as I’m returning from my 4.5 months in SE Asia tomorrow!
I can confirm for you that it definitely is best to upload money as GBP and then withdraw it straight from ATM’s.
Converting to USD isn’t necessary. You can exchange it within the Revolut app pretty much for free but to get the best conversion rate, you should always upload in GBP and use the local currency. This also is the case when making purchases using your Revolut card. For example, I stayed at many hotels, paid on my Revolut card and was asked by the machine whether I would like to pay in GBP or the local currency: I always chose the local currency as it worked out to be a slightly better exchange rate.
I worked out the following using the exchange part of the Revolut app and the http://www.xe.com website (true as of 8am UTC+07:00 on 4th July 2016):
Convert £1 into USD = $1.32
Convert $1.32 into Thai Baht = 46.26 THB
Convert £1 straight into Thai Baht = 46.48 THB – Slightly better.
It is worth mentioning that Revolut converts at pretty much exactly the same rate as xe.com – which proves how good a service it is as it isn’t taking any commission and you get your money at the exact exchange rate!
Yes, it is an unfortunate time for your travel plans actually as the Pound taking a hit will make it a bit more expensive for you. They are still incredibly well priced places though! I am still thinking about my 10p beer I had in Vietnam ;).
It is always a good idea to have a bit of backup money on you. The only country that accepted USD directly for me was Cambodia but there are lots of places everywhere to exchange it.
Have a great trip, let me know how you get on and feel free to ask any more questions.
All the best,
Hi again Jason,
It’s a shame you hear you are coming to the end of your trip – sounds like you’ve had a great time though. Obviously very experienced now too!
Thank you very much for your detailed reply and breakdown. The worked example really helped and you’ve explained it really simply (simply enough for even me to understand!)
It makes a lot of sense to just upload as GBP then so that’s what I’ll do. Thanks also for pointing out that Cambodia only generally accepts USD – I’ll make sure to look out for the Citibank ATM’s!
I’m looking forward to some of the 10p beer in Vietnam you mentioned…I can almost taste it already!!!
Thanks again for all of your advice, it’s very much appreciated!
Thank you for your helpful info about Revolut. I am travelling to Vietnam for the first time in three weeks and this seems an excellent way to pay. Do you use USD at all in Vietnam? Is it necessary to bring some dollars and Vietnam currency to begin with? Any general comments about card use in Vietnam?
Hi Eileen. Thanks for getting in touch and I’m excited to hear about your upcoming Vietnam trip!
From my experience, USD was not used at all in Vietnam and I don’t think it would be necessary to take any as I don’t recall it being accepted. The only place I experienced USD being accepted was in the touristy areas of Cambodia.
It is always a good idea to take some of the local currency (Vietnamese Dong) for when you arrive. However, upon landing, I usually go straight to the closest ATM and use my Revolut card to take out the local currency.
Revolut worked perfectly for me in Vietnam so I highly recommend you sign up and get your card delivered :). The majority of ATM’s didn’t charge to take money out so every time I used an ATM, I got pretty much the exact exchange rate at the time. It’s worth keeping track of your £500 a month ATM free withdrawal limit. Although, Vietnam is quite cheap so I doubt you would go over.
A couple of recommendations:
– Enjoy Hanoi: It has a very nice old town and a lot of wonderful Vietnamese culture.
– Go to Hoi An if you can: It is a very cute town that has nice rice fields around it and a lovely lit up town centre.
All the best,
I’m about to go on a SE Asia trip on Christmas day and i’m going to be using a revolut card.
Just for my peace of mind, do you know if it works in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Sumatra/Bali?
I’m sure everything will mostly run smoothly with this card as i’ve read many good reviews. I’ve just had a bad experience with it before in Europe but i think that was just bad luck as like i said, i’ve heard nothing but good things and it seems to be the cheapest option so i’m trying again!
I’m in Brazil and Revolut has no control at Brazilians ATM’s. I can only pay in supermarkets. Obviously the company wash their hands out… Have anyone experienced that?
I have a revolut card that I have been using for almost a year, and it just got hacked. Awaiting to hear what they can do, but having read the bulletin boards, it’s likely nothing. So I am out of pocket £750 which is what I had in there (it was all taken out a cash machine, Rbc Cannegieter Brnch), which when I looked is in St Marrten & Saba. It happened right after I had placed an order with JCREW on their website using the card (was a US order so wanted to get a favourable rate on USD). So, in order to save pennies, I have lost hundreds of £s!!
The long and the short of it is, its debit card. So if you have a fraudulent transaction, they can try to do a chargeback but if the card has been cloned or hacked somehow as mine was and they go to an ATM and withdraw your funds, then you’re done. No comeback. I have just learnt this at my expense.
If you are going to use it, the safest and only way to use it is:
1. Leave no fund in the account.
2. Top up only what you need the instant you need it, and spend it immediately.
3. Whilst not in use, Block the card.
Since, when I am travelling, I am often dependent on WIFI hotspots as roaming is so expensive, the above has made the card too much of a risk for me. I probably did save in the region of £200 in the year, but out of pocket now £750, so am down £550. I will be cancelling mine.
Please be careful when advising such cards and make sure people are aware of the downsides. If I get a refund, I will come back and change my report.