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It’s been almost half a year since I own a Revolut card, and since then I’ve been on two trips. The card has helped me to manage my travel money in a more relaxing manner. Here is a Revolut review where I share my opinion on why and when the card is useful, and in which situations there needs to be a back-up plan.
What is Revolut card
For me, Revolut is a free Visa card which allows me to withdraw up to 200 Eur of cash without additional fees and with a favorable exchange rate in the majority of countries which I’d want to visit.
You can see their website for more features of the card and the related app. However, the ability to withdraw cash for free was the main selling point that nudged me to get the card.
This is what you get with a free card. There are also several paid options with more features like medical insurance and even lounge access in the airports, but you don’t necessarily have to get them in order to try out how this card works.
It’s actually quite simple. There is an easy-to-use app which guides users through the set-up. After that, the app is really simple to use and gives a feeling of detailed control of how you transfer money to the app and how you can spend it.
How to manage cash during travel
I’m not a fan of carrying around a lot of cash when I travel. Technology which allows me to book and prepay online accommodation and car rental before I arrive at the destination has saved me from a lot of anxiety. But no matter how hard I try there is always some need to have cash.
What I like to do is to take out a bit of cash in Euros before traveling. The amount depends on the country I’m traveling to. If I go to Finland, I take almost no cash, as there always is an option to pay with a card. However, going to Bali in Indonesia was a whole different matter. There I calculated that I’d need around two hundred Euros per week in addition to the part of the trip that was already paid beforehand.
As the amount of cash that I needed with me was a little too much for my peace of mind, I tried to mitigate any risks of losing the money or being robbed. Here are the rules I’ve set for myself regards to the cash while traveling.
Don’t keep all of the cash in the same place
Even if there are just 200 Euros in cash that you need to carry, chances are you won’t need them all at once. So it is smarter to divide them in smaller notes and place into more unreachable parts of the bag or somewhere deeper in the secret pockets of your jacket.
Don’t leave your belongings in an unsecure place
When you need to leave your bag or a jacket or any other belonging, pay attention to the security of the place where you leave those. Even if you have followed the first step and separated your money to be in several places if the place is unsecured the money is as well.
Withdraw a part of cash later during the trip
If you have a card like Revolut, you can postpone getting a part of the needed cash to a later part in your trip. As a bonus, you can withdraw the cash in the currency of the country you are located in, so you don’t have to worry about the money exchange.
When should you use Revolut card
There are many options of what you can do in the Revolut app, but in the context of travel I’ve seen this card to be useful for these needs:
- To withdraw up to 200 Eur cash without an ATM fee in the local currency
- To quickly send money to a fellow traveler and Revolut user, so that you could split the bill
- To pay with Revolut as a regular Visa card, where possible
- To see at a glance how much money you have withdrawn or spent divided into categories
What you should pay attention to when using Revolut
There are some things from my experience which aren’t totally unexpected, but requires a bit of attention.
Firstly, if you exceed the 200 Eur cash withdrawal, there will be a small 2% fee to any amount above it.
Secondly, ATMs abroad may be confusing and not work properly. If you have an internet connection on your phone, you will be instantly notified from the Revolut app about any changes in your account and will be able to see whether the withdrawal was successful. It’s another story if you don’t have an internet connection.
When I was in Bali I’d have had to pay an enormous amount of money for a few megabytes, so I opted out of using mobile internet. I assumed that it’d be enough to use just wi-fi. This lead to a few stressful moments when an ATM message said that it gave me money, but nothing came out of it. I waited for a few minutes and then got back to my hotel’s wi-fi to check the Revolut app. Thankfully, the ATM had an error and no money was missing from the app, but that might have ended differently.