I recently came back from a trip where I used my N26 card exclusively. I used to be a Revolut fan but have since moved over to N26 and to be honest, I haven’t looked back. I still always pack my Revolut Card with me as backup but N26 is my main card now both at home in Ireland and when travelling. I thought it would be interesting to do the sums to see how much N26 ‘saved’ me during the trip.
There are things to keep in mind.
- I pay for N26 Black which costs €5.90 per month. If I hadn’t paid for N26 Black and instead had the basic N26 MasterCard I would have ended up paying 1.7%. This would have worked out at ~€17.95 for the trip so it would still have been cheaper than AIB and Revolut
- If I wasn’t using N26 and instead using AIB or Revolut I would have done fewer larger transactions. This would have saved fees but I would have had to walk around with more cash on me which I like to avoid.
- I am making some assumptions with exchange rates. Every third or fourth withdrawal I would use my Revolut card, that had no funds loaded to make the transaction. The transaction would fail as expected, but the euro converted amount shows as a failed transaction.
Revolut offer interbank exchange rates while N26 uses MasterCards exchange rates with no markup. I’ve been using Revolut for years now and am a big fan. I’ve recently moved my current account completely over to N26 Black so was interested to see how the exchange rates compared between Revolut and N26.
I have only made three comparative transaction with both Revolut and N26 so it is not exactly an exhaustive study. In two of the three transactions N26 was cheaper but they were all very similar prices.
A few days ago I reviewed TransferWise when I needed to transfer money to an Australian Bank account. When I was looking at which company to use I came across both TransferWise and CurrencyFair while I used TransferWise I’ve decided to take a look at CurrencyFair. CurrencyFair is a bit different in that it is a ‘market place’ for currency exchange. It is Peer-to-Peer meaning if you are looking to swap Euros to Australian Dollars you’re transfer will be matched with someone who is looking to swap Australian Dollars to Euros. This means you should get the fairest exchange rate. TransferWise is slightly different in that you Send Money in, Exchange it on the marketplace and then transfer the money out or you can chose to automate this process.
I recently needed to transfer $1,000AUD to an account in Australia. I had a look at my Bank of Ireland account to work out how much it would cost. There was a fee of €5 for the transfer and ‘foreign exchange margin’ to do the transfer. I couldn’t find any particular percentage for the foreign exchange margin on the fees page. Bank of Ireland do publish their daily currency exchange rates on their website. Using this I could see on the day the transfer would have cost me €736.79 which included the €5 fee. XE.com said that the mid market rate for $1,000AUD was €704.75 so there was a markup of €27.04 hidden fee in addition to the €5 fee with Bank of Ireland. I decided to look around for other options and came across CurrencyFair and TransferWise. I have to admit, I don’t know why I dismissed CurrencyFair but instead used TransferWise.
Revolut advertise themselves as the ‘Global Money App’ allowing instant transfers between currencies at mid-market rates. This allows you to save big versus the rates offered by banks. This post will concentrate on their RevolutCard which is a prepaid MasterCard designed with currency exchange in mind. I’ve used Revolut since August 2015 and have saved at least €400 using it versus my Irish debit or credit card abroad.
How much does Revolut cost?
Revolut have a very simple fee scheme:
- Cost to get a Revolut Card – €0
- Each ATM Transaction – €0*
- Each POS Transaction -€0
- Currency Exchange Fee – €0*
- Cost to top up account via Bank Transfer of Debit Card – €0
- Cost to top up account via Credit Card – 1%
- Replacement card €7 standard delivery, €20 Courier Delivery