We like to travel and often. Last year we were on three continents. As international travelers, we have a lot of experience with traditional credit cards and with Revolut Switzerland. Do you want to pay less and get more? Read on and we’ll tell you how.
Traveling abroad with the Revolut Switzerland: experiences
Last year we traveled longer in the USA. On a weekend trip to Las Vegas, we used both our traditional credit card and Revolut to withdraw and pay on the same day. Back home in Switzerland, we took a closer look at both accounts. For 2,000 francs, there was a whopping 50 francs difference in fees! Hey, that would be nice for dinner there. Just because we paid with the wrong card. Come on, really?
This is how the CHF 50 difference in fees comes about
If you pay by credit card abroad, your card provider earns twice as much. Firstly, there is a processing fee for the assignment abroad, because you don’t pay in francs but in euros, dollars or another currency. That is at least 1.5% of the invoice amount. Secondly, the Swiss franc currency has to be exchanged for the foreign currency because you pay abroad in a foreign currency. When it comes to the conversion rate, every provider has some leeway as to which rate they will give you. We paid 1.5% fees for foreign assignments with our free Mastercard from Cembra Moneybank Bank. The foreign currency exchange rate was worse than that of Revolut, resulting in a total difference of 2.5% points. That made a difference of 50 francs to 2,000 francs.
Our tip: pay in local currency
When withdrawing money or paying abroad, the terminal often asks you whether you want to pay the amount in local currency or in your home currency. Choose the local currency here, experience has shown that you can get away with it cheaper. Some time ago, the SRF Kassensturz also looked at the promise made by Revolut and other new providers such as Neon that they are significantly cheaper than traditional providers in terms of fees and surcharges, especially when used abroad. And comes to the conclusion that they also keep this promise.
Revolut credit card: How it works in Switzerland
Revolut is a global fintech founded in the UK in 2015. Revolut also offers a free prepaid credit card and app in Switzerland. This gives you massive fee savings when spending or transferring money on the go. In minutes you can open your app-based Revolut account on mobile. You can hold money in up to 31 different currencies on your Revolut account and pay free of charge in over 150 countries with a contactless Mastercard. You can currently withdraw up to CHF 240 (EUR 230 or the equivalent of £200 in other currencies) per month from ATMs free of charge.
More than 1,500 employees serve around 18 million private customers, including more than 1 million in the German-speaking region. We have been using Revolut for domestic and international payments since it was introduced in Switzerland and have had good experiences so far.
Revolut received a European banking license in December 2019. According to the announcement , Revolut was launched in Germany in January 2022 with a European banking license, the license of which comes from Revolut Bank in Lithuania. This has been offering classic banking transactions, for example in Austria, for a long time. Existing customers can upgrade to Revolut Bank in the app and will in future benefit from statutory deposit protection of up to EUR 100,000.
Our tip: keep the balance small and work with the top-up function
Revolut has been operational for several years. But you never know: keep your balance on the Revolut account only as high as it corresponds to your usual expenses and use the automatic top-up function.
Our experiences with the Revolut credit card in Switzerland and abroad
Where is Revolut accepted?
Mastercard is behind Revolut. Wherever you can pay with a Mastercard, this also works with Revolut.
How do I load money onto my Revolut card and how fast is it?
Revolut is a prepaid credit card. You can therefore only spend as much as you have previously transferred to your account. To top up money, you enter in the app once when setting up your account which credit card should be charged. In addition to Revolut, you need another (free) credit card, e.g. from Cembra Moneybank. After that, you can top up any amounts you want at any time. The money is there within a few seconds and you can pay with it immediately. Alternatively, you can also top up via bank transfer. It will take a little longer before the money is there. So if control over your credit is important to you, then manual top-up with a stored credit card is a good solution for you.
How does automatic top-up work on Revolut?
If convenience is more important to you than control, you can use the automatic top-up function. For example, we have set a limit of 500 francs on our Revolut account. Whenever this limit is undershot, our credit card is automatically charged with an amount specified by us and the Revolut account is thus loaded.
Is Revolut also worthwhile when shopping online abroad?
Yes, whenever you buy goods or services in another currency, you benefit from lower fees and the favorable foreign exchange rate compared to a traditional card when using Revolut. If you’re all over If you want to pay with a card, there is nothing wrong with paying with Revolut in Switzerland.
Is it better to pay with Paypal or with Revolut?
Both. You pay the seller with Paypal and deposit your Revolut card with Paypal as a card. This is how you benefit from PayPal buyer protection and the favorable conditions for international payments from Revolut.
Does Revolut work with Apple Pay and Google Pay?
Clear. Both is possible. You can add the Revolut card to your Apple Wallet or Google Wallet as usual. You can then pay with your iPhone, Apple Watch or Android device.
Can I pay contactless with the Revolut card?
Yes, you can use your Revolut plastic card to make contactless payments at appropriately equipped terminals.
Do I need another credit card than Revolut?
Depends on. You can top up Revolut from other credit cards or directly from your postal or bank account. In other words, you don’t actually need another card to use Revolut. Whether you want another card depends on the benefits that the additional services of this card bring you. Keywords: cashback or insurance.
Does Revolut also offer banking services?
Currently, Revolut is primarily a cheap credit card with very good exchange rates. They are constantly expanding their functions. What is relatively new is that you can also buy cryptocurrencies and hold money in different currencies, for example. For example, you can top up your travel or shopping budget on favorable occasions.
What are virtual cards and what are their advantages?
You can use it to bet different pots with different spending limits . Of course you can give each pot a suitable name. The virtual cards each access your available balance at Revolut. So you have your expenses for the different pots under control.
What are disposable virtual cards for safe single use?
Well, sometimes when we’re shopping online, we’re not quite sure whether we really want to enter and save our real credit card details there. Better safe than sorry. This is where Revolut’s disposable virtual cards come into play.
The one-time cards are available to you at all times and you can specify a new one-time card with the associated details for each purchase if required. Or you can give this card to a friend for a one-time payment without revealing your “real” card details.
Can I block and unblock cards on Revolut?
Yes, you can do that easily in the app. If a card is blocked (e.g. because a transaction appears suspicious), you can unblock your card yourself. You don’t need to call a hotline and wait for minutes.
Our extra tip: Cashback
If you top up your Revolut account with cashback using a credit card, you will also receive a sales bonus on your credit card. At Cembra Moneybank, for example, that’s 33 Cumulus points (0.33%) for every CHF 1,000.
Summary of our experience with the Revolut credit card in Switzerland
Withdrawing money abroad can be expensive – with a little preparation this can be avoided. Because expensive fees for international payments do not have to be – in a few minutes you can say goodbye to high costs. Our experiences with Revolut in Switzerland and abroad show that we save a lot of money on every purchase abroad compared to conventional credit cards. If you spend CHF 2,500 a year in Europe, Great Britain or Switzerland, you pay 25 times less with Revolut than with a traditional credit card from a large Swiss bank, according to calculations by Kassensturz.