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Is the new metal Revolut card as good as it looks?

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This article is sponsored by Revolut to promote its special sign-up offer for HFP readers

In May 2018 we ran a series of reviews of travel money cards.  This included a review of the Revolut debit card which you can find here.  Revolut has proved popular with people who do not have, or do not want, a separate ‘0% FX fees’ credit card to use when they are travelling.  There are now over 3 million Revolut cardholders across Europe.

Revolut has not sat still since our May 2018 article.  They have been updating their product and launching two new premium variants.  They asked us to take another look at the three different cards the company is now offering, with the carrot of a special offer for HFP readers who sign up.

Revolut has given us a special deal. If you apply for a standard Revolut card via the links in this article and top up £10, you will receive the card for free.  This saves you the £4.99 delivery fee.  Once you’ve tried it out, you can decide whether to upgrade to one of the new premium options.

What is Revolut?

Revolut was founded three years ago.  In the beginning the company promoted itself on the back of a prepaid card which carried 0% foreign exchange fees and let you move money between currencies without charge.

Not only are there no FX transaction fees when spending abroad, but as Revolut uses the interbank rate, you should be getting slightly finer pricing than using a 0% FX fees Visa or Mastercard credit card.  Other cards use a centralised Visa and Mastercard exchange rate which is slightly worse than the interbank rate.  Do note, however, that Revolut adds a small surcharge for foreign currency spend at the weekend as it cannot access a real-time rate.

‘0% FX’ and fee-free money transfers are still a big part of the Revolut model, but the company has shifted its focus towards everyday banking.  It now offers ‘app only’ current accounts with its cards as well as various saving and spending tools.

Revolut metal card review

How does Revolut work?

Revolut now positions itself as a digital current account provider, competing with Starling, Monzo, Atom, N26 and Monese.

You can sign up for FREE on the Revolut website here. You will need to download the Revolut app and verify the account with your phone number.

As Revolut now operates as a current account, you can transfer money in or out using BACS or IBAN.  It is also possible to have your salary paid onto your Revolut card if you wish.

Alternatively, you can add money using a credit card (Mastercard or Visa).  Most credit card companies treat Revolut top-ups as a purchase, not a cash advance, although you should do a trial to test this.  This means that you earn miles and points on the top-up.  Be aware that Tesco Bank does charge cash advance fees if you load your Revolut card from a Tesco Bank credit card and there may be others too.

What are Revolut’s key features?

As a purely online current account provider, Revolut has started with a clean sheet of paper and introduced some interesting features which many High Street banks do not offer:

You get a current account in £ and €, with an IBAN number for EU payments

You can receive instant spending notifications on your smartphone

The app has various budget controls and analytical tools to help you monitor and analyse your spending

There are advanced security features – you can freeze the card via the app, you can block contactless payments, swipe payments, ATM withdrawals, and/or online payments and optional location-based security can block all transaction from a location which is not near your phone

The “Vaults” feature allows you to round up each purchase to the nearest full £1, moving your spare change to a savings account

You can send and request money from your friends – handy if you want to split rent payments, a bill, etc.

And, of course, you can still spend abroad and send money overseas at the real exchange rate

Revolut now operates with 150 currencies, of which the 24 core ones are fee-free up to a limit of £5,000 per month.   On the standard card, there is a 0.5% fee on FX spend or transfers above this level.  You can also withdrawal up to £200 per month from international ATMs with no fees added (£2 fee thereafter).

There is some small print around the ‘0% FX fees’ options.  There is a 0.5% -1.5% mark up at the weekend depending on the currency, which gives Revolut a buffer against losses whilst the currency markets are closed.

Revolut Premium Card

What do you get with the Revolut Premium card upgrade?

For £6.99 per month you can upgrade your card to the Revolut Premium card.  There are four different Premium card designs which you can choose from when you order your card.  Premium removes some of the limits attached to the free Standard card and adds some new benefits:

There is no value or volume cap to your foreign exchange transactions

The card comes with a free ATM withdrawal allowance of £400 per month

As a Premium customer you also get free overseas medical / delayed flight / delayed baggage insurance, free global express delivery, exclusive priority 24/7 customer support and exclusive Premium promotions in addition to everything included in the Standard Account.

Revolut has also moved into the cryptocurrency market for Premium card holders, allowing you to move money into Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash or XRP directly from the app.

A new feature recently introduced is free disposable virtual cards.  This makes your online shopping more secure by creating a new ‘one use’ card number, linked to your main account, every time you make a purchase.

Recently Revolut has added the option for Premium cardholders to purchase airport lounge access through the LoungeKey network via the Revolut app. Entry for one person costs £25 and the money will be taken off your Revolut account when booking via the app.

Revolut metal card review

And now …. the brand new Revolut Metal card

Metal payment cards are all the rage at the moment as you will have seen on Head for Points in recent weeks.  If you have ever wanted to impress your friends with a metal card, this could be the one for you.

Revolut’s newest product is a contactless metal Mastercard. This card comes with all of the Standard and Premium features plus a free ATM withdrawal allowance of £600 per month.  There is also a 24/7 concierge service to help sort out your social life.

With this card you also earn cashback on your day to day spending.  You will get up to 0.1% within Europe and 1% outside Europe.

Revolut Metal card holders get one complimentary LoungeKey airport lounge visit per membership year.

The metal card costs £12.99 per month.  For regular travellers this might actually be better value than the Premium card, since the 1% cashback earned on non-EU purchases could mount up quickly.  

Remember that the 1% cashback on non-EU transactions is on top of the ‘no FX fees’ benefit.  This means, net, you are 4% better off with the metal Revolut card than you would be paying a non-EU bill with a standard credit card with a 3% FX fee and no cashback.

Revolut metal card review

Which Revolut card is best?

Getting a standard Revolut account is free – and with our link you will also get the physical card for free, saving the £4.99 delivery fee – so signing up and giving it a try does not cost you anything.

If you don’t have a 0% FX fees credit card to use while travelling, it is a handy product to keep with your passport even if you don’t want any of the more advanced features.  It is especially useful for younger members of your family who may not qualify for a credit card.

The question is whether you should pay £6.99 or £12.99 per month for added benefits of the Premium or Metal cards.

Looking at the Premium card, you get medical insurance (although you should look carefully at the limits, excesses and exclusions), no FX limits and a higher ATM withdrawal allowance for £6.99 a month.  If you are making substantial currency transfers via Revolut which break the £5,000 monthly cap on the free card then it will clearly be good value.  For everyone else you need to look at the potential saving from the higher ATM allowance and the travel insurance.

The Metal card has a neat design and comes with an even higher ATM withdrawal allowance.  You can earn cashback on your spending which will probably be the key feature for HFP readers.  To justify the additional £6 monthly fee over the Revolut Premium card, you would need to be spending an average of £600 per month outside Europe or £6,000 within Europe to earn £6 cashback.  You also need to factor in any ‘cool’ factor you place on having a metal card in your wallet, of course …..

You can sign up for the standard Revolut card for FREE on the Revolut website here.  Using our exclusive HFP link will remove the £4.99 delivery fee for your card as long as you top-up with £10.  Once you’ve tried it out, you can decide whether to upgrade to Premium or Metal.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. rams1981 says:

    I keep having to re-verify my revolut account every few months. Slightly frustrating as prevents usage of funds other than with card.

  2. Signed up for the free Revolut card today – topped up fine with £10 from Apple Pay but now I’m at home I can’t get it to top-up from my IHG card.

    I can see that others are topping up with the IHG card fine so it is a case that it is temperamental where it works some days and not others? Try again tomorrow?

    • Andrew L says:

      It will only allow me to do small amounts on IHG card. Anything more the £100 at a time declines. Could be that I only opened my Revolut account a few weeks ago but yes, IHG card can be temperamental at times.

    • IHG are pretty strict on cash-like transactions. I’d give it a few days and try again, max £250 or so.

    • Thanks – the app wouldn’t even let me add the card never mind choose how much to top up from it. I’ve have however done my quota of payments to Brighton via Curve this week so that is probably where the problem lies. I was hoping using both Curve and Revolut would allow me to double up on amount I could put through the IHG card per week, but perhaps not.

      • No, it’s all out the same small quasicash allowance.

      • As an aside, I’m glad Revolut can be added to Curve so I don’t need to take the card out in public – the colour scheme and style of the logo on the free card are hideous

    • The Urbanite says:

      Creation top ups with Revolut are limited. £200 a day, £700 per week. I still haven’t worked out if a week is per calendar week or rolling 7 days – I think it is the latter.

  3. Alastair says:

    Just been reading that Revolut is a pretty unpleasant employer:
    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/revolut-trade-unions-labour-fintech-politics-storonsky

    This would make me think twice about doing business with them. If it is all true, I’d expect that with these kinds of values one cannot really expect them to always treat their customers ethically either.

  4. Wollhouse says:

    Hi all,

    Hoping I can tap the more experienced amongst you to see if I’m maximising my card/point collection?

    I have Natwest Private CC which means I have £0 fees on foreign purchases.
    I have a BAPP. (I have already hit my 241 voucher this year)
    I have IHG, Virgin CC, Curve and just got a Revolut.
    I had an Amex Rewards Gold which I cancelled end Nov. (I’m single so I can’t use supp cardholders)
    I have a property in Malta and a tenant who pays rent in euros.

    So, I get my tenant to pay my rent via revolut meaning I can exchange my Euros to £ without incurring bank fees? I think this is the main benefit I see for my having this card unless I use it as an alternative for top ups from virgin if I maxout top ups to curve?

    I link my IHG and Virgin to both revolut and curve and max the atm withdrawals and accrue points. Note- I used my NatWest Black CC to load Revolut and it appears to have been treated as a purchase 🙂

    I can use curve to pay council tax and hmrc
    I can use Amex in the Co-Op to pay council tax (max £200 so painful!)
    Can I use revolut to pay hmrc?

    TBH, I havent actually used any collected points with IHG yet, and have tended to use only when Amex wasn’t accepted. But I do need to go twice a year to Florida, so I’m guessing now that I have the Virgin CC, I’d be better pushing everything to that.

    Any tips for maximising, or corrections if I’ve got something wrong, would be greatly appreciated!

    • Andrew L says:

      If you can use Revolut to pay the HMRC I think you’ll be charged a hefty fee for doing so as it’s classed as a prepaid card rather than a debit card. Use Curve to pay HMRC. It’s classed as a debit card hence attracts no additional charges.

    • Genghis says:

      “I can use Amex in the Co-Op to pay council tax (max £200 so painful!)”
      It may be £200 per PayPoint transaction but they can put multiple through then you pay once. Not painful at all really.

      • Wollhouse says:

        Thanks all. Great to know. And, Genghis, I’ll try this again. I was told last time they could (would??) only do x1 but maybe a different cashier will let me pay with multiple transactions during the same visit. Thanks again

        • Genghis says:

          I do it all the time so it is possible, unless the POSes are different?

  5. “So, I get my tenant to pay my rent via revolut meaning I can exchange my Euros to £ without incurring bank fees?”

    As Revolut are not a bank, your money is not covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. If they go bang you can say goodbye to your money. You’re much better off with a no-fees EUR & GBP Starling current account – where your money is protected. 💷💶

      • Genghis says:

        No it’s not. Being granted a licence does not turn an entity into a bank.

    • Andrew L says:

      Sterling are currently in the process of launching a Euro account and they are a bank with all the desired protection. May be you could use them for the rent payments.

    • Wollhouse says:

      Yes, I saw Genghis’ link. But if I understand Revolutcorrectly, I can convert immediately upon receipt of funds to £ then I can pay immediately into my Uk bank? So the risk is if something happens in that short period? Starling £/€ account is currently not available so thought this might be a “low risk” option. It will be interesting to see if Revolut seek to add FSCS to their offering.

  6. Steven says:

    Anyone having issue with free standard delivery? Just signed up a second card for my partner at the same address with the same link; it no longer showing free standard delivery on the 2nd phone.

  7. rams1981 says:

    Asked again on Thursday to verify my account and still not looked at despite app saying will be checked within 24 hours. Service appears to be very slow right now. Chat doesn’t seem to ever be online.

  8. Andrew L says:

    You may wish to add your Revolut card to Curve because bizarrely Contactless doesn’t work. After having to use chip & pin all day, like the good old days, I decided to have a live chat to try and sort, only to be told that their card makers cards are not working with Contactless and are trying to find a fix….. really??!! I thought this was the new age of banking? Well, clearly not! 🤔

  9. Can I have some advice please. How do you “top up” a Revolut card from a credit card (e.g Hilton Honors Barclaycard or IHG Mastercard and therefore earn hotel points on the transactions) and avoid those credit cards treating it as a cash transaction with consequent fees. Is there a daily limit or frequency limit? Do you need to “hide” that activity amongst a number of other transactions?

    • You can’t hide it. Either your credit card company treats Revolut as a cash advance, or it doesn’t.

      • Ok Thanks – does anyone know about limits/frequency for topping up Revolut from Hilton Honors Barclaycard and IHG Mastercard? Are they treated as purchases not cash advances? . I think the advice I read here on this thread, was to trial your card, but I’d be interested to hear from those that have done it already.

  10. Joseph McCarthy says:

    Just noticed that Bank of Ireland Aer Credit card treats Revolut top-ups as an excluded transaction and doesn’t earn any avios as a result (not that it’s great earning anyway).
    Still no cash advance fees on the credit card or anything topping up for now so that’s good anyway.

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