Revolut vs Monzo

Revolut Vs Monzo: Which Is Best For Travel In 2024

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Revolut vs Monzo, which one will save you the MOST money when you’re travelling? This is the key question I can provide the answer to. So let’s read on and find out which card is better for travelling abroad, Revolut or Monzo.

As you’ll soon find out, travel cards will become a key part of your travelling armoury. During my first solo backpacking trip to Southeast Asia, I remember being in Phuket and it made me sick when I checked my bank and they had charged me hundreds of pounds just for using ATMs.

Instead of making similar mistakes on future trips, I sat down and did some research and what travel cards would save me the most money. After consulting many of my friends, I was left with two main contenders: Revolut vs Monzo.

Below you’ll see the clear differences between Revolut and Monzo and what, in my opinion, wins the war of Revolut vs Monzo.

Just so you know my analysis is purely on a travel basis and what is best for people using these cards abroad. Oh, and stick till the end I have some bonus options which might catch your eye…

So, let the battle commence, Revolut vs Monzo which card is better for travelling abroad.

Revolut

Monzo

Low Exchange Rates ✅

Low Foreign ATM Fees ✅

Multiple Travel Rewards ✅

FSCS Protected ✅

Ability To Get Overdraft ✅

No Enforced Fee-Free Limits ✅

Revolut Vs Monzo: Which One To Choose?

To decide which card is best for travellers you have to analyse the features each card offers you and how they are further developed through the premium plans offered. With such a wide range of features, it can be easy to get lost in the details but don’t worry, I’ll do my best to make this as simple as possible as if I were writing a guide for dummies lol. First up in the comparison is Revolut.

Revolut

Revolut presents a compelling option for international travellers, offering an array of features that streamline financial experiences abroad. 

Its multi-currency wallet enables users to hold and exchange currencies at interbank rates, minimising foreign exchange fees. Additionally, Revolut provides real-time spending notifications, allowing you to track your spending and stick to your budget.

The app’s budgeting tools and expense categorisation provide total control over your spending habits. The ability to instantly freeze or unfreeze cards provides a sense of non-panic because if you have lost your card and freeze it, all transactions will seize until it is unfrozen or a replacement card is sent.

The user-friendly Revolut app means all this is achieved with minimum fuss. For just £5 plus a delivery fee (+ international travel charge), you can get a replacement card sent to 180 countries.

With no hidden fees, Revolut ensures transparency in financial transactions. Furthermore, the travel insurance and airport lounge access available with premium plans contributes to a comprehensive travel package.

In essence, Revolut combines convenience, cost-effectiveness, and innovative features, making it a fantastic choice for international travellers seeking financial flexibility.

Key Benefits For Travellers (Revolut Standard Plan – Free Account)

So what does it mean for you? With the Standard Plan, the key benefits are:

  • Ability to freeze your card: Using Revolut is simple, for example, if you lose your card after a mad night out, load up the app, freeze your card and no transactions can be made.
  • Order a replacement card to 180 countries: For £5 + delivery fee get a replacement card sent to you.
  • Multi-Currency Account.
  • Compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
  • Fee-Free Spending: Enjoy fee-free spending in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate.
  • Global ATM Withdrawals free up to £200 every month: Withdraw up to £200 worth of your designated currency every month for free. Thereafter there is a 2% per transaction markup.
  • Budgeting Tools: Utilise budgeting features to track and manage your expenses efficiently.
  • Real-Time Exchange Rates: Access real-time exchange rates, ensuring transparency in currency conversion. £1000 per month currency exchange limit before markups apply. Weekend extra charges apply to all plans.
  • Instant Payment Notifications: Receive instant notifications for every transaction made, allowing you to track your spending or protect against fraud.
  • Up to 3% cashback when booking accommodation through Revolut.

So there you have it, if you select the standard plan, these are the key benefits you will receive for using their product.

But what if you want to pay for a premium plan?

Like any company, if you decide to pay for a premium plan you’ll receive more benefits. Revolut offers five tiers when deciding on a travel card, these include:

  1. Standard
  2. Plus
  3. Premium
  4. Metal
  5. Ultra

Key Benefits For Travellers (Revolut Plus Plan – £3.99 Per Month)

Includes all of the benefits of the standard plan plus:

  • Personalised Plus Card: Two free Revolut Plus cards (and one free replacement each subsequent year).
  • Increased ATM Withdrawal Limit: the £200 limit remains but the five ATM withdrawals per month limit before markup is removed meaning you can withdraw unlimited times up to £200 without increased markup.
  • Currency Exchange Limit Increase: Increase to £3000 per month before markup. For example, change £3000 to $3000 worth before Revolut markups apply.
  • Priority Customer Support: Access priority customer support for faster assistance with the in-app chat.
  • Disposable Virtual Cards: Generate disposable virtual cards for added security during online transactions.
  • Purchase Protection, Refund Protection and Ticket Cancellation Insurance

Key Benefits For Travellers (Revolut Premium Plan – £7.99 Per Month)

All of the benefits above plus:

  • Personalised Premium Card.
  • Save up to 20% on International Transfer fees.
  • Increase to £400 free international ATM withdrawals per month: Revolut charges a2% markup thereafter.
  • Partner Subscriptions Included: Access to companies like NordVPN to help you watch videos all over the world.
  • Unlimited foreign currency exchange: Unlimited Monday-Friday only.
  • Up to 5% cashback when booking with Revolut Stays.
  • Travel Medical Insurance: £10 million a year limit.
  • Winter Sports Insurance: £3000 per year limit.
  • Delayed Flight, lost or damaged luggage insurance: £1000 per year limit
  • Access to airport lounges at discounted rates.
  • SmartDelay – Free lounge access for you and one friend if your flight is delayed by over an hour for more info click here.
  • Revolut Junior – If you’re with a young family, can create cards for two children under the age of 18.

Key Benefits For Travellers (Revolut Metal Plan – £14.99 Per Month)

All of the benefits above plus:

  • Personalised Metal Card.
  • Cashback on card payments: 0.1% on payments in the UK, 1% everywhere else.
  • Discount on International fees: 40% discount.
  • Up to £800 free international ATM withdrawals per month – a 2% fee thereafter.
  • Up to 10% cashback on accommodations booked through Revolut.
  • Car hire insurance: Up to £2000 a year.
  • Personal liability insurance: Up to £1 million per year.
  • Access to up to 5 Revolut under 18 accounts.

Key Benefits For Travellers (Revolut Ultra Account – £45 Per Month Introductory Offer)

Now, finally for the BEST Revolut account. Inclusive of all the points above, plus:

  • Platinum plated card.
  • Customer support: In-app chat plus request callback.
  • Free International Transfers.
  • Up to £2000 free international ATM withdrawals per month– a 2% fee thereafter.
  • Unlimited Airport lounge access.
  • Reduced fees for stock trading.
  • ANY benefit added to Revolut you’ll automatically receive.

As I have tried to keep it to a strictly travel basis I have missed benefits out. Revolut also offers higher interest on your savings based on the plan you choose, click here for all information.

Pricing

As seen above, the pricing of each product is:

Standard Plan – Free

Plus Plan – £3.99 Per Month

Premium Plan – £7.99 Per Month

Metal Plan – £14.99 Per Month

Ultra Plan – £45.00 Per Month (Introductory Offer)

Monzo

So why should you pick Monzo? is it a better choice?

To use Monzo you must have a UK address, they are looking to go international soon but as of right now, it’s really for UK citizens predominantly. Being a bank in the UK, you will have FSCS protection for deposits up to £85,000.

A Monzo account offers several features that make its card an attractive option for individuals travelling abroad. One of the primary advantages is the absence of foreign transaction fees when they are your main bank account, inside the UK & European Economic Area (EEA).

When you use your Monzo card for purchases or withdrawals in a foreign currency, you won’t be subjected to the typical fees imposed by traditional banks. This can result in substantial savings throughout your travels, allowing you to maximise your budget.

In addition to avoiding foreign transaction fees, Monzo provides competitive exchange rates. The rates are based on the Mastercard wholesale rate with no markup. Meaning you always get the best exchange rate possible.

Monzo and Revolut both offer real-time transaction notifications. The account features offer instant alerts for every purchase or withdrawal, offering transparency and control over your spending. This feature is particularly beneficial when travelling, as it helps you monitor your expenses closely and stay within your budget.

Monzo also has a user-friendly mobile app and within the Monzo app, you can manage your card entirely through your smartphone making it a convenient option for travellers. You can easily freeze and unfreeze your card, set spending limits, and track your transactions in real time. This level of control is precious when navigating through the uncertainties of international travel.

Monzo’s commitment to financial inclusivity is reflected in its openness to customers with varying credit histories. Obtaining a Monzo card is generally more accessible than acquiring a credit card from a traditional bank.

Key Takeaways (Monzo Standard Plan – Free)

The key benefits of having a free Monzo plan are:

  • Spend without fees: Pay anywhere in any currency, fee-free. Monzo passes Mastercard’s exchange rate directly onto you, without sneaky fees or extra charges.
  • Unlimited fee-free cash withdrawals abroad inside the UK and the EEA.
  • Cash withdrawals outside EEA: £200 fee-free every 30 days (3% afterwards).
  • Sort out your savings with pots: Create a ‘holiday’ pot separate from your main account and lock it so you’re not tempted to dip into your travel savings.
  • Compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
  • Apply for an overdraft: Never have to worry about running out of money in the day.
  • Ability to freeze your card: Safety blanket if you lose your card or it is stolen.
  • Free card replacement: 2 free replacement Monzo cards per account per year for any reason. After that, they’ll charge you a £5 fee to replace cards which haven’t been stolen, frauded or expired.
  • Order a replacement card to 100+ countries: £30 charge outside the UK.

So there you have it, if you just want the standard current account, these are the key benefits you can expect. Like Revolut, Monzo offers paid services which will get you bonus features. Monzo has two paid plans they are:

  1. Monzo Plus
  2. Monzo Premium

Key Takeaways (Monzo Plus Plan – £5 Per Month)

With the Plus Plan, you get all of the features of the free plan with the addition of:

  • Exclusive Holographic Card.
  • Up to £400 fee-free cash withdrawals abroad.
  • Virtual Cards: Good for fraud prevention.
  • Credit Tracker: Closely watch your credit score for improvement.
  • Offers: Benefit from offers given from a variety of companies.
  • One free cash deposit per month.
  • Personal Instant Access Savings Pot: Exclusive interest rate of 4.50% AER (variable) on balances up to £100,000.

Key Takeaways (Monzo Premium Plan – £15 Per Month)

With the premium plan, you get all of the above plus:

  • Phone Insurance: Covers loss, damage, theft and so on.
  • Worldwide family travel insurance: When you’re travelling together (provided by Zurich).
  • Airport lounge discount: Access to over 1,000 airport lounges for £24 per person, per visit (Provided by LoungeKey).
  • Up to £600 fee-free cash withdrawals abroad.
  • 5 free cash deposits per month.
  • Exclusive metal card.

Pricing

As seen above, the pricing of each product is:

Standard Account – Free

Plus Account– £5.00 Per Month

Premium Account – £15.00 Per Month

Key Differences Between Revolut And Monzo

It’s time for the exciting bit Revolut vs Monzo which company should you choose?

Financial Protection

Revolut is not a UK-registered bank account and as a result, your money does not benefit from FSCS protection.

Revolut does not currently offer this protection as Revolut Bank is considered an e-money institution. Revolut customers are told their deposits are ‘ring-fenced’ with one of their partner banks. 

This is a HUGE win for Monzo as it does have FSCS protection, which means your eligible deposits in Monzo are protected up to £85,000 per person.

This is a win for Monzo vs Revolut.

Withdrawing Money From Foreign ATMs

Analysing the free plans, both Revolut and Monzo offer £200 cash withdrawals free each month. Should you exceed this limit Revolut is cheaper, only charging 2% per transaction compared to Monzo’s 3%. This limit is increased if you sign up for a paid plan with Revolut or Monzo. 

This is a slight win for Revolut vs Monzo.

Paying By Card When Abroad

When choosing Monzo or Revolut this isn’t a specification point that has a significant difference. Both are utilised in the same way except for one feature. Monzo has an overdraft facility. You will have to apply for the overdraft and not everyone will be accepted. If you are accepted, this feature will take away the fear of running out of money during a trip.

This is a slight win for Monzo vs Revolut.

Fee-Free Limits

Revolut charges a fee of 1% for standard users once you exceed the £1000 fee-free limit. Revolut also charges 0.5% for plus users who exceed the £3000 fee-free limit. Monzo doesn’t enforce fee-free limits when spending abroad.

This is a clear win for Monzo vs Revolut.

Losing Your Card Or Fraud

Both Monzo and Revolut offer advanced safety features during times of panic.

With the ability to freeze your card during times of need; such as unexpected transactions or theft, you feel a sense of stability. With just a few clicks of a button, it is a seamless process protecting you financially and creating comfort.

My friend Brad lost all his bank cards, twice, on his trips around Asia, by freezing his Revolut card he felt at peace knowing no one could use the card that was potentially stolen.

This is a tie for Revolut vs Monzo.

Replace Your Lost Cards

Both Revolut and Monzo offer simple services when needing to replace a card.

Monzo offers two free replacement cards per account per year for any reason. After that, they’ll charge you a £5 fee to replace cards which haven’t been stolen, frauded or expired. For shipping abroad Monzo will charge you £30 via DHL air delivery. 

A similar system is set in place with Revolut. Revolut charges £5 for inside UK delivery and €19.99+ or currency equivalent for express delivery abroad (may be higher depending on where you are). With paid plans, you are eligible for free delivery.

This is a tie for Revolut vs Monzo

Exchange Rates

When we compare Revolut and Monzo, another difference is the exchange rate used.

Revolut uses the Interbank Rate whereas Monzo uses the Mastercard Rate. These rates vary so it is hard to decide which account will be preferable to you. The Interbank is usually slightly cheaper.

This is a slight win for Revolut vs Monzo. 

Rewards

Looking at it from a purely travel perspective, Revolut takes the win on cashback and rewards.

With perks offered to all plan holders (including the free plan), you can travel abroad and save money. Up to 10% cashback when booking through Revolut stays is a great example. 

Monzo customers also benefit from limited rewards if they have access to a paid plan. When activated on the Monzo app, they recently released cashback at certain retailers so be sure to check it out!

This is a win for Revolut vs Monzo

Other Options

If you’re still not satisfied with Revolut or Monzo, don’t worry I have some alternative options for you to check out.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank is a great alternative to Revolut or Monzo, but why…

  • Free Foreign ATM Withdrawals
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Free Card Delivery ✅
  • Freeze Card In App ✅
  • FSCS Protected ✅
  • Overdraft Facility ✅
  • Don’t Have To BE UK Tax Resident ✅

Just to highlight some of the key factors Starling has that set it out as a great travel card. The main one is no charges at all for using your card abroad. This beats both Revolut and Monzo as you will incur fees after a certain period unless you have paid plans.

As I said earlier ‘cash is king‘ in many foreign countries, especially Southeast Asian ones. Due to this, you can expect to be using the ATM an awful lot and the fees associated with getting out your own money can be heartbreaking, with Starling this pain is slightly reduced as they will not penalise you for accessing your own money. You’ll still have the pesky ATM charge given to you by the country!

Another huge benefit Starling has over Revolut is that Revolut doesn’t offer an overdraft facility and Starling does where, if approved, you won’t have to worry about having no money from day to day. So maybe Starling might suit you best.

Oh, and you don’t have to have an account in the UK to be approved.

Chase Bank

So how does Chase Bank compare?

  • Must Be A Resident Of The UK
  • Uses Mastercard’s Exchange Rate with no markup ✅
  • Withdraw Cash Abroad For Free With No International ATM Fees ✅
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees ✅
  • Freeze Card In App ✅
  • FSCS Protected ✅
  • International Money Transfer ❌

Not an option that is spoken about regularly is Chase Bank. Chase Bank is certainly a competitor to Monzo, Revolut and Starling. Having many of the same features Monzo and Revolut have, what sets Chase Bank apart is the lack of international ATM fees, which makes it a great card for travelling abroad. This blows Revolut out of the water where, on a standard plan, you have a maximum of £200 per month before a surcharge appears.

However, you must make sure the account is right for all purposes. If you’re expecting to receive money from accounts internationally, you won’t be able to receive money from a bank account outside the UK.

Final Thoughts – Revolut Vs Monzo: Who Is The Winner?

So who’s the winner of Revolut vs Monzo? I would say marginally Monzo but it’s very VERY tight. In a perfect world, you should download three of these accounts and have three separate cards so you can reap the benefits of each.

If you were to pick three, I would go with Revolut, Monzo and Starling. I think the blend of all three cards makes for a perfect traveller.

If I were only picking one, Monzo might be the best option based on the overdraft facility and having FSCS protection.

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