Revolut is a popular banking app which offers many benefits to digital nomads and travellers in Europe, or indeed anyone living in a foreign country where they don’t have a bank account. In our Revolut review below, we’re going to delve deeper into it by explaining the basics, where in Europe it works and what services they offer.
Table of Contents
- Revolut Review for Digital Nomads in Europe
Revolut Review for Digital Nomads in Europe
Revolut – The Basics
Founded in 2015, Revolut is a money app and one of the so-called “challenger banks” that have attracted millions of users around the world. Revolut has largely gained popularity thanks to their ability to slash fees for currency exchange and foreign transactions.
You can exchange money easily using their mobile app. The Revolut exchange rate for most currencies is at near-perfect interbank rates. Essentially that means you will find it very difficult to get better rates and in almost all circumstances you will get better ones than those offered by your average bank or high street currency exchange. By depositing money into your Revolut account in your own currency, you can then exchange it and hold a balance in dozens of different currencies.
While Revolut enables you to have a virtual card and does support Apple Pay and Google Pay, the next step is to order your free Revolut card. This will enable you to effectively pay for things like a local when you travel with purchases made entirely in the currency of the country you are in. It will come straight out of the relevant balance in your app with no extra fees and you can easily monitor your spending there.
In which European countries can you use Revolut?
Revolut is available throughout Europe and is also based there with its headquarters being in London. It got a European challenger bank licence in Lithuania in 2018 and in January 2021 applied for a UK banking licence which would enable it to expand its services by acting more like a traditional bank and offering greater customer protection.
If you are a resident of any of the following countries, you are eligible for a Revolut account:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.
The European currencies that Revolut supports are as follows:
- British Pound
- Bulgarian Lev
- Swiss Franc
- Czech Koruna
- Danish Krone
- Croatian Kuna
- Hungarian Forint
- Icelandic Krona
- Norwegian Krone
- Polish Zloty
- Romanian Leu
- Serbian Dinar
- Russian Rouble
- Swedish Krona
- Turkish Lira
The above list covers every single currency in the European Union, so if you are travelling in the EU, Revolut is the only banking app you really need. It can also be used in non-EU countries such as the United Kingdom, Turkey and Russia.
For most travellers in Europe, the free services that Revolut offer will cover all your needs and plenty more. The app is free to use, as is your first physical card, so there are no costs involved in getting going.
Under the free plan, you can easily manage your money, send money abroad or to friends in different currencies and of course spend money in foreign countries. You will even have access to extra options such as buying crypto and stocks.
There are no limits on the amount you can spend or withdraw each month, however there are some fees which kick in once you meet a certain threshold.
Exchanging money doesn’t involve any fees between Monday and Friday however there is a 1% fee that gets added to weekend transactions. You will also have to deal with 0.5% fees once you pass €1000 (or equivalent) exchanged in any calendar month as demonstrated above.
In terms of withdrawing money, your first €200 or first five withdrawals (whichever comes first) are free each month (foreign ATMs may still charge their own added fees). After that you’ll have to pay 2% when getting money out so Revolut is a less appealing proposition for anyone who will need to withdraw a lot of cash.
In addition, If you lose your first free card, replacements cost €6 + delivery fees (or equivalent in your currency). You can also order custom cards for the same fee.
There are three extra premium plans. If you think you will be a very active user or have business/work transactions that will be done using Revolut which will make it beneficial to upgrade.
This plan includes €1000 purchase protection which can cover you against the theft of your phone amongst other things. There is also cancellation cover and a 90-day return window when purchasing items between €50 and €300 which can be useful if you are unable to return goods.
Upgrading to the premium plan offers the significant advantage of unlimited currency exchanges so you will be spared that 0.5% fee when passing the monthly cap on the free plan. Your free withdrawal limit will also double to €400 while the purchase protection offered on the plus plan increases to €2500.
With metal, you have the potential to earn up to 1% cashback on purchases, as well as a shiny metal card. Your free withdrawal limit will increase to €800 and the purchase protection coverage goes up to €10000.
What are the main advantages of Revolut for Digital Nomads in Europe?
There are loads of reasons why travelling with a Revolut card is better than using your regular bank card and hopefully many of those are obvious to you already if you’ve read up to this point. Digital nomads who are constantly hopping in and out of different countries will benefit even more than most.
As well as saving a load of money on much more favourable exchange rates and dodging most foreign transaction fees, the Revolut app will allow you to easily monitor your spending and even set monthly savings goals.
Another really nice advantage is that you get an immediate notification on your phone any time you spend money so will instantly be able to spot if anything is amiss with your account or anyone has attempted to overcharge you.
It’s also great if you are travelling with a friend or partner and are constantly needing to split bills or payments for things. You can easily send each other money in a few seconds using any of the supported currencies mentioned above.
Things to bear in Mind
While increasingly it works and functions like a bank and that is certainly where they are trying to get to, Revolut does have some limitations.
For example, there may be rare occasions where you have problems using it to pay for online purchases. You also should be aware of how their fees work, particularly if you are sticking with the free service. You will almost certainly still save money when compared to using a normal bank card or by using a typical exchange joint to get cash. However you will still want to try and avoid unnecessary costs by doing things like exchanging money via the app at weekends when there are small extra fees.
You may also want to time your withdrawals as best as possible each month to avoid the 2% fee which becomes more significant if you need to withdraw a lot of cash. However it’s certainly fair to say most European countries no longer have cash based cultures with contactless payments way more common these days, particularly following the impact of Covid-19.
Overall, using Revolut in Europe has a lot of advantages, particularly in the EU but currencies in some non-EU countries are not supported including those in Albania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and North Macedonia. It’s still wise to have an alternative payment option when travelling in Europe in case something goes wrong, but Revolut is an excellent solution for almost all of your banking and money needs whilst working and travelling in the continent.