Last year I recommended an app called Revolut on Huffington Post as the best solution for accessing money globally – which is essential if you’re considering long term travel or venturing into the world of digital nomadism. Revolut is a pre-paid card solution with app, the main benefit is to enable access to cash globally at the best bank-rates, without the charges often imposed on debit cards today.
Unfortunately, I have to withdraw my recommendation – here are some thoughts after using the service now for over 12 months.
Here are three reasons why I withdraw my recommendation…
Major Reliability Issues
Over the last 12 months I have had countless issues accessing cash from ATMs & using my card to pay. Wirecard, the partner bank who Revolut use to power the cards seems to constantly run into issues. I’ve been left in some challenging situations using the card and equally some very embarrassing situations. After having recurring reliability issues, I started taking my other cards with me everywhere but they still seem to be having trouble here – it’s not improved.
Support is limited to set hours – which is not so great when they are providing a ‘global money’ service. The other challenges are that the support is only available through the app – this proved challenging when I had to claim a charge back as the ATM I used to Kuala Lumpur failed to give me cash, but still debited the card. Also, I should add here – that the overall service level is basic and often messages I’ve sent haven’t been read, or it’s clear that I’m getting stock responses.
Proposition is getting weaker
Upon launch, the proposition was strong. When I had to wait 2 hours for the card to work, I could sort of forgive them because it was market leading. In the last few months they have refined their offering and it’s become much weaker. What was once unlimited cash withdrawals, was £500 per month and is now £200 per month – before a fee is imposed. They have even capped the volume of FX transactions.
After so many reliability issues with Revolut and more recently the proposition getting weaker, I went to find another solution to my global money needs. I found the Lloyds Avios Rewards Credit Card which I can highly recommend. The card has no transaction fees globally and they use the Mastercard or American Express exchange rate. You won’t get reliability issues as they are issued by a bank, the customer service availability is 24/7 (and they’re awesome) & the greatest benefit is you earn Avios (flyer miles). Since using the card I’ve benefitted from 2 business class upgrades (when you spent £7000 or more) and earned thousands of Avios.
Another recommendation is the Halifax Clarity Card, which gets great feedback from the digital nomad community. The card also benefits from no transaction fees globally (including cash withdrawal).
I know from reading tweets I’m not alone in my views about Revolut, whilst the cards don’t function I see stressed out users around the world stuck and frustrated that they can’t access their own money. Whatever direction Revolut take with their product, I hope the fundamental issues of reliability & service are addressed.