You’re about to travel to the UK and you are trying to save as much money as possible, so you’re looking into solutions to avoid all those expensive conversion fees. Maybe you’ve heard of some tools, maybe you’re just investigating the possibilities for the first time.

So here is a comparison between Transferwise and Revolut, two virtual accounts that I’ve been trying.

 

What are they?

Both Transferwise and Revolut allow you to create virtual bank accounts in different currencies. That means you can easily convert your euros into pounds and vice-versa without having to pay extortionate fees. However, Transferwise and Revolut work slightly differently.

Keep reading this post and you will be able to choose your favourite! 🙂

 

Quick overview

 

Transferwise Revolut
Countries available Over 40 countries around the world Euro Zone
User interface Website + mobile app Mobile app
Account creation Free Free but can upgrade
Currency conversion fee Yes No
Contactless debit card Yes Yes 
Ongoing fees Just for conversions and transfers Basic account free. Upgraded accounts starting from 7.99€/month

 

Benefits for you

If you create a borderless account with Transferwise using this link, you won’t pay any conversion fees the first time you convert up to £500.

If you use this Revolut link, you can order your debit card for no extra charges.

 

Availability

Transferwise is available in over 40 countries. You can find the list here. Revolut is only available for the Euro Zone.

 

Currency conversion

Ok, so first things first. The goal here is to convert money you already have into a new currency, most likely pounds, to use while you are in the UK.

With Transferwise, you will have to pay a small currency conversion fee, depending on the currency and country. To put this in numbers, if you want to convert say 50€ to pounds, you may be charged 0.60-0.80€ for it.

With Revolut, you can exchange currencies close to the market rate without having to pay any fees. I think you can see the winner here.

 

Account maintenance

There are no costs with holding or opening a borderless account with Transferwise. Your only fees are when you are converting or transferring money. So if you decide you don’t want to use it, you can just “leave” the account there.

With Revolut, you can start with a free plan but may want to upgrade to unlock some features, such as increasing the amount of money you can withdraw at an ATM or order a contactless card. The Premium account costs at the moment 7.99€/month.

 

User experience

Transferwise has a good dashboard that you can use from a desktop, plus a nice and easy to use mobile app.

Revolut for personal accounts is a mobile app and you do not have easy access to a computer dashboard.

Why is this important? In case you have more than one phone or change phones regularly, you may not want the hassle of having Revolut on several phones.

 

Debit cards

Both Transferwise and Revolut allow you to order a Mastercard debit card that will use up the appropriate currency when paying in different countries.

Transferwise’s card is free to order, arrives within 10 working days (often way less than that) and is contactless. There are no fees to maintain your card.

Revolut’s card also has no maintenance fees, but you may need to pay delivery of the card if you don’t order your card shortly after creating your account.

 

Virtual cards

Revolut allows you to create virtual cards, which you can use on ecommerce stores like amazon. Transferwise does not give you virtual cards, only the debit card (which you can still use in most places). If you do a lot of online shopping, then Revolut is a better choice so you can avoid using your actual card number.

 

Withdrawing money from ATM machines

When you have a debit card, you can then use it to withdraw money from your virtual accounts. You can withdraw up to £200 per month for free with Transferwise, paying a small 2% fee after.

With Revolut, the value is similar, but you can upgrade to a Premium account and increase the value you can withdraw to £400.

 

Travelling

Transferwise does not provide you with any benefits for travelling.

With an upgraded Revolut account though, you can get travel insurance and medical insurance included, as well as cheaper airport lounge access. Useful if you travel a lot to different countries!

 

So… what’s my favourite?

They are both very strong contenders! I started by using Transferwise a lot more than Revolut. I did not like the fact that I was going to have to pay to get my Revolut card, but in the end I compromised and paid the 5€ fee… I currently use both of them! Transferwise is very good for me to “hold” money and withdraw it from the ATM, Revolut is much better for the conversions and online shopping. I really like the idea of the travel benefits you get when you upgrade your Revolut account – but I see it as a way of just spending more money!!!

So in other words, although I really love Transferwise and would recommend it to everyone in a heartbeat, Revolut is slowly winning my heart!!!

 

Either way – my recommendation is that you get one of them, whichever you feel you will prefer to use. Any of them will save you a lot of money in currency conversions and they both work as a bank account, so one less thing for you to worry about when you move to the UK!

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