Banks and travel : Comparison of Revolut and Number26

Last update : December 10th, 2018

To avoid crazy bank fees during the trip, we opened two accounts at Number26 and Revolut , two online banks that don’t charge – or not much – withdrawals and payments abroad.

These two banks work the same way: sign up in 5 minutes online, and you’ll have a bank account, a Mastercard, a smartphone application to manage your account where you can receive real-time notifications, set spending limits, make transfers, lock/unlock your card if you lose it, change the pin code …

It’s easy, and it’s definitely worth it.

 

Differences between Revolut and Number26 standard offers

Logo de revolut
Logo N26
Current account Yes (Euro or GBP) Yes (Euro)
Account Access Mobile app Mobile App & site
Shipping costs of the card 6 € Free
Mensual cost Free Free **
ATM withdrawals in the euro zone Free (up to a limit of 200 € per rolling month, then there is a 2% fee) 5 free withdrawals per calendar month, 2€ fee per withdrawal beyond
ATM withdrawals outside the euro zone 1.7% fee
Card payments (worldwide) No fees (up to € 6,000 per rolling month, 0.5% beyond) No fees
Exchange rate used Interbank exchange rate plus a markup for some currencies and the weekend * Mastercard exchange rate without markup
Money transfers In 25 currencies In 19 currencies with Transferwise
Support Live chat in the app Live chat in the app, mail, phone
Other Limit of € 30,000 per year, Converter and real-time exchange rate available in the app Bank overdraft authorized, csv export of all transactions
Eligible Countries (Legal Residency) list list **
See Revolut’s offer See Number26’s offer

Other offers from Revolut and Number26

Revolut Premium : For 8 € per month, the premium offer allows you to have a higher limit to withdraw money without fees (400 € per month instead of 200 €), to receive a card by express delivery for free, to have a traveling health insurance for trips of less than 40 days (this insurance is also available for standard Revolut accounts for 1 € per day of travel), delayed luggage and flight insurance, and to have access to assistance 24/7

Revolut Premium : For 14 € per month, you can withdraw up to 600€ per months without fees, overseas medical insurance, delayed luggage and flight insurance, up to 0.1% cashback within Europe, and more

Number26 Black : For 9.90€ per month, international withdrawals are free and unlimited, and you are insured for a lot of things: medical expenses abroad, stolen phone, loss of your luggage, flight delay… There are no special conditions depending on the age as for the standard account ** , but there is a 12 months minimum duration.

Number26 Metal : For 16.90€ per month, same advantages as the N26 Metal card, plus some special offers from partners and special assistance.

Number26 Business : for freelancers and auto-entrepreneurs, this offer is equivalent to the standard account, with the additional benefit of having 0.1% cashback on all purchases made with the card.

Our opinion

Happy as popes with both of them 🙂

We had only one bad experience with Revolut, in Armenia. The exchange rate proposed by Revolut sometimes came back 10% more expensive than that of N26. The reason is, the banks use different references to fix the exchange rate (the interbank rate for Revolut, and the Mastercard rate for N26). For two payments made at the same time with these two cards, the rate will not necessarily be exactly the same. Generally the difference is minimal, and compensates in the long run (one rate will not always be better than the other).

But for some currencies the difference can be very large, and this is the case for the Armenian Dram: for example at the time I’m writing this article, 1 euro=553 dram with Revolut, and 1 euro=580 dram with N26, about 5% difference. For now, it’s the only country where we’ve had this problem, but we’re still keeping an eye on exchange rates! As clever as worms!

Beside that it is always better to also have a “classic” card in the pocket, a Visa if possible, because in some countries Mastercard is not very widespread 🙂

 

Additional details

* With the Revolut card, for THB (Thailand) and RUB (Russia), there is a 1.5% charge on the exchange rate. For UAH (Ukraine), 1% additional charge. During the weekend (from Friday at 23:59 to Sunday at 23:59), there is a markup on the exchange rate because the foreign exchange markets are closed. An increase of 0.5% is applied to the rate on Friday at 23:59 on the main currencies, and 1% on other currencies. For THB and RUB, the increase is 1.5% during weekends.
So if you travel mainly to Russia, Ukraine or Thaïland, Number26 will be better than Revolut !

 

** For N26, conditions may vary by country and age (over or under 26). For some European countries, the Mastercard costs € 2.90 per month, whatever happens. For Italy and Austria, ATM withdrawals in euros are free (no limit)

Final word

Do you ever wonder why you can pay by credit card without fees, but not withdraw unlimited money without fees ? Every time you pay in a shop with your credit card, the shop has to pay a fee. When you withdraw money, your bank will pay the fee. If you prefer giving your money to the local shop owner than to the bank, pay in cash 🙂 It will also preserve a bit your privacy, as paying by credit card everywhere you go is also sharing lots of information with your bank !

11 Replies to “Banks and travel : Comparison of Revolut and Number26”

  1. The last bit is completely wrong! You can pay by credit card for free because the vendor will always pay the fee, when you with the from a ATM revolut will pay a fee to bank/ATM.

    1. oh you’re right there’s that too ! I’ll change the text, thanks!

  2. Very interesting topic, thanks tor sharing! 🙂

    One good think of n26 is that it’s working under apple pay, so it’s my prefered card for payments in physical shops within the EU when Amex is not accepted.

  3. So in general for payments with foreigh currency, is it better n26 than revolut?

    Is Revolut’s Visa using the same exchange rate than Revolut’s Mastercard?

    1. It’s hard to say which one is the best.. it depends on the country you’re from, the countries you’re travelling to, your habits (if you like to withdraw money more than to pay by card for example)… The exchange rates are not the same : Revolut uses the Interbank exchange rate and N26 the Mastercard exchange rate. For some countries the interbank rate is better than the mastercard rate, and the other way around; if you always travel to the same countries, it might be worth checking the rates

  4. Just FYI, the 5 free withdrawals with N26 is only for Euro Zone. Outside those countries they do not cover ATM’s fees, so those would be at your cost. For exchange currency at ATMs you will be given mid-market rate BUT, again, they will not cover ATM’s fees if the currency is not EURO.
    That it was mentioned to me last week (Jan 2019) through online chat customer service.
    For Revolut card’s you won’t be charged at any ATM until you reach the restricted amount of your account which is 200€\£\$ for the standard, 400€\$\£ for the premium. After that amount (monthly basis) you will start paying ATM’s fees. Exchange currency would be the same as N26 when withdrawals at different currency, mid-market rate. Hope it helps.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for your comment 🙂
      Indeed outside the Euro zone N26 charges 1,7% per ATM withdrawal as we mention above, but maybe the table is not clear enough on that point. Of course, in both cases it does not include the potential additional foreign bank fees that can apply in some countries, for example in South Korea most banks will charge you 3 to 5 € per withdrawal.
      The last bit about mid-market rate is not totally true, as N26 and Revolut don’t use the same exchange rate (Revolut uses the Interbank exchange rate, and Number 26 the mastercard rate)

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that with N26, if you have a black or a metal account you would not pay any fee on withdrawals, even outside Europe.

    1. Yes that’s true 🙂 In the table we compare the standard offers only, that’s why we don’t mention it there

  6. whilst using these cards have you ever had to contact customer services and if so did you have a quick response as i had to wait several days on my revolut metal ,thinking of upgrading my n26 to metal

    1. Hi Paul,
      We did contact the customer service of Revolut through the chat in the app, and they answered very quickly as far as I remember. I don’t think we ever contacted the customer services of N26 so we can’t really compare 🙂

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