Revolut Credit Card – Eliminate Foreign Exchange Fees!

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Revolut Credit Card - No more foreign exchange fees!

One big problem with most credit cards is that they charge hefty fees for transactions in foreign currencies. If your base currency is Swiss Francs and you are paying something in dollars, you will have to pay a percentage of the transaction as a fee. It is not uncommon for credit cards companies to charge more than 2% fees on such transactions. That is where the Revolut travel card comes into play!

As we are going to see, Revolut can help you save a lot of money on foreign transactions fees. Moreover, where banks are generally giving bad exchange rates between currencies, Revolut is generally giving you the best rates available. If you purchase things in other currencies, or even other countries, such a travel card is essential to saving you money!

I already tried to find the best credit card in Switzerland. When I compare all my options, I found out that foreign exchange fees were costing me more than the annual fee on the card.

In my first review of my options for Switzerland, I already took a look at Revolut. At that time, I did not delve too deep into it. It is now time to fill this void in my credit card strategy. I finally decided to order a Revolut credit card! And I found out a process to top up a Revolut card for free in Switzerland!

Revolut Credit Card

Revolut Credit Card
Revolut Credit Card

Revolut is a company from the United Kingdom. They are pretty young. They started in 2015. They do not have a real credit card. But they offer a prepaid credit card. Both MasterCard and Visa are available. They are almost the same for most usages. You can use it on the internet, and you can even withdraw money at an ATM. They offer two types of cards:

  1. Virtual Debit Card: You can generate it in your Revolut account. You can use it online with its number.
  2. Physical Card: You can order a physical debit card for a small fee.

But the most important thing with Revolut is that foreign exchange transaction is free! There are no foreign exchange fees! Since I spend around 5000 CHF in foreign currencies every year. My new credit card will bill me 1.5% of this amount. This is 75 CHF per year. If I use the Revolut card for all my foreign spending, I will save 75 CHF per year.

I think it is entirely worth having a new card for this saving. Moreover, since my company headquarters is located in the United States, I may have to travel more than usual. That means I will save even more money.

Since its inception, Revolut started offering many new features. For instance, they now have support for cryptocurrencies. And you can also get insurance on some purchases. They also have a Premium and Metal paying plans. However, if you plan to use Revolut to save money on foreign fees, you will be okay with the free Standard plan!

How to Top Up Revolut for Free

Since Revolut card is a prepaid debit card, you need to top it up. If you do not have any money on your card, you cannot use it. You have several choices to top it up:

  1. A debit card: Free!
  2. A credit card: Large fee from Revolut
  3. A bank transfer: The fees depend on your bank

Of course, using option two should be avoided at all costs. There is no point in spending more money than what you will save in foreign exchange fees. If you already have a Mastercard debit card or Visa debit card, you should use option 1. It is the fastest way to top it up since you do not have to wait for the transfer to settle. If you cannot, the second-best way is to use a direct bank transfer.

Top Up Revolut from Your Bank Account

In the beginning, Revolut did not offer a real CHF IBAN. That means that a bank transfer was not free. Just by charging money to your Revolut account, you were losing money. It made it almost pointless to use a Revolut card. Fortunately, this changed and Revolut now has a real CHF IBAN.

You can now transfer money for free to your Revolut directly from your bank account. If you have a Swiss bank account or if you have another account for which Revolut has a free bank account, you can directly signup for Revolut and skip the following section.

If you do not have a way to do a free money transfer, there is another good way to do it. In that case, you need a debit card to top up Revolut for free! If you do not have one, you need to find one with two properties. You should be able to top it up for free directly from your bank account. And you should be able to use it to top Revolut for free as well. It is not easy to find one that is fulfilling these conditions. Fortunately, there is TransferWise coming to the rescue.

Top up Revolut card for free using TransferWise

TransferWise Credit Card
TransferWise Credit Card

Note: You do not need to do this if you plan to top up Revolut with a bank transfer.

TransferWise is an Estonian company. They provide international transfers at very low rates! In the beginning, in 2011, they only started with offering a system for a multi-currency account. With this, you could get paid in the UK and spend your money in Estonia. And do not pay too many fees! In 2017, they added a debit card to their offer: The TransferWise Borderless Card. It is what is interesting for us!

Indeed, you can have a TransferWise Borderless card for free! And you can top it up for free too! So what you do is transfer money to your TransferWise card and then transfer it again to your Revolut card. It is not as simple as it would ideally be, but it works well. I tested this technique, and I did not get charged a single CHF of fees!

You need to start by creating a TransferWise Borderless account. You will have to transfer some money to it. Then, you will create a Revolut account. And finally, you can transfer money from your bank (or credit card) to TransferWise. And then from TransferWise to Revolut.

Order TransferWise Borderless Card

The first thing you need to do is to apply for a Borderless Card. For this, go to TransferWise. Then, you have several ways to register:

  1. Use the Register button on the top right
  2. Use the claim your discount button on the right
  3. Select Get a Borderless account on the menu
  4. Click on the Debit Card tab and click on Order a card

It is a bit of a mess, but in the end, all these options will do the same thing ;)

The procedure to create an account is relatively standard. You will need to fill a lot of information. You will need to scan your ID (or driving license or passport) to verify your identity. And you will need to top up at least 20 CHF to validate your account. You can use a credit card to top it up for free and instantly. After all of this is done, you can order a Borderless card.

The card will arrive by mail after a few days. In my case, it arrived in three days. Since it comes by airmail, this is pretty fast. And nothing here cost any money. Everything is free. You will now have a Borderless Mastercard debit card for free!

You could use your TransferWise card in place of your Revolut card. However, they are more fees with TransferWise than with Revolut. Even if it stays very reasonable, we want to minimize them!

Sign up for Revolut

Now you are ready to sign up for Revolut. You have to install the application on your smartphone. There is no way around it. This is great for most people. But for people like me who dislike phones, it is not perfect.

Nevertheless, it is pretty straightforward. You can go to the Revolut website to get a direct link to the application to download. You can also search for Revolut in your phone application store (Google Play or App Store, probably).

Once you installed the application, you can go through the registration process. It is very similar to the registration of TransferWise. You will have to enter standard information about yourself. You will also have to scan your ID. At some point, for authentication, you will have to top up Revolut. You can use your TransferWise card now to top it up. And this will be free!

Once this is done, you can either start using a virtual card or order a physical card. If you order a physical card, you will have to pay 6.99 CHF for the delivery. It is a bit sad that you have to pay for this since it was free for TransferWise. But it is still a very fair price. And this should be the only time you pay anything to Revolut. My card arrived quite quickly, four working days I think.

Top Up Revolut

If you can use a bank transfer for free, you can directly start the bank transfer from your current bank account. You should receive it after a few days. If you use the TransferWise trick, you can now use the following method to charge Revolut for free:

  1. Transfer money from your bank account to TransferWise IBAN
  2. Transfer money from your TransferWise debit card to Revolut using the mobile application

Now, you will have money on your Revolut card. And you can start shopping in foreign currencies without any fees!

Detailed Revolut Fees

I said foreign transactions are free with Revolut. Unfortunately, this is not always true even with Revolut. There are a few details that are important to know.

First of all, not all currencies are treated equally by Revolut. For Thai Baht, Russian Rubbles and Ukrainian Hryvnia, there is a 1% fee. All other currencies are free. However, there is a limit of 5000 GBP for free transactions. For other currencies, it is the equivalent of 5000 GBP. If you are exchanging more than this, you will pay a 0.5% fee.

Also, the rates are different during the weekend. During the weekend, Revolut is going to charge 0.5% extra fee on each exchange transaction for major currencies (USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF, JPY, SEK, HKD, NOK, SGD, DKK, PLN, and CZK). For other currencies, there is a 1% fee. You can find more details on the official Revolut price explanation.

In the best case, an exchange is free with Revolut. On the worst case, it can actually be quite expensive with a 2.5% fee. You need to be careful to do your exchanges during the week. And be aware that some currencies will charge you more. And you should avoid using Revolut for large transfers as well!


I think I am now ready with my credit card system. I should soon receive my Cumulus Mastercard. It has no annual fees and a 0.33% cashback bonus. You can read about it in my comparison of Swiss credit cards. Then, I now have a Revolut Visa debit card. I already used it to pay for SiteGround hosting in EUR. And I used it as well to pay for Amazon books in EUR.

I plan to use it as much as possible on all foreign currency transactions. It will bring my credit card fees down to zero normally. And I should be able to enjoy the bonus of my Cumulus Mastercard.

For all the details, read about my entire credit card strategy.

To know more, watch the official video presentation of Revolut:

Did you ever try a Revolut card? Which credit card do you use?

About the author

Mr. The Poor Swiss

Mr. The Poor Swiss is the main author behind In 2017, he realized that he was spending more and more every year, falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2018, he saved more than 40% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

30 thoughts on “Revolut Credit Card – Eliminate Foreign Exchange Fees!”

  1. I’ve been able to send money to my Revolut by transfer from my bank account. Simply select “Fees borne by beneficiary” and transfer to the Revolut CHF account.
    They do have a CHF account, just not in Switzerland. Note, it took about 1.5 – 2 days for the money to arrive in Revolut.

    1. Hi Derek, this is good to hear :)

      Unfortunately, my bank does not have no such option.
      Yes, you are right. I was not very clear in the article. They do have a CHF IBAN but not a CH IBAN ;)

      Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  2. Thanks for the insightful article!
    I live in Austria and currently have three “free” credit cards, i.e., I pay no monthly maintenance fee. Indeed, all three cards charge FX commission on payments when I pay with them abroad.
    Both Revolut and Transferwise still seem to have significant disadvantages for me: I need to prepay to have the desired spending power (which I could) and I would add quite some complexity to my financial setup. Living and working almost entirely in Euro-countries, the benefit of not having to pay FX commissions seems minimal.
    So, to make such a card really interesting for me (product developers at Revolut and Transferwise, listen ;-) I’d love to see a true credit card which can be settled monthly with a direct debit from my existing checking account. A loyalty program on top of this would be nice to have too! Having this, I would switch and cancel two other cards immediately.
    Thanks and cheers

  3. Thanks for your article. I ordered a Revolut card recently and topped it up using bank transfer. My bank is with Postfinance and I transferred 200CHF to their CHF IBAN. The money arrived 2 days later, but to my surprise, a horrendous fee was charged – only 194 CHF arrived in the Revolut account! That’s 6 CHF for 200 CHF, i.e., 3%, which is way worse than the fees of any major credit cards.
    I must have done something wrong. I can’t imagine they’d charge that much. I’m trying to get in touch with their support team, but I got a message saying that they’re extremely busy and I should expect an agent to get in touch with me in one (!) day! I have to say, so far my experience with them hasn’t been that great.

    I was trying to do the shortcut and not go via TransferWise. I think I’ll give it a last shot and open a TransferWise account and use the approach described in this article. If that works – great! If not, I’ll stick with my Cumulus Mastercard.

    Thanks for all your insights. It’s been really helpful.

    1. Hi RB,

      Sorry about your bad experience with Revolut!
      I never tried with their CHF IBAN since it’s not from a Swiss bank and therefore not free transfers. In fact, I wouldn’t really be surprised by the 3% transfer fee. This is very high, but fees between banks are often that high between countries unfortunately.

      Let me know if you are able to do the TransferWise way. For me it works great. I transfer money to my TW account with my Cumulus credit card and then transfer it again to Revolut. All without any charges. I’ve used my Revolut card online and also in two countries these days and I haven’t had any issue either for topping or for withdrawing.

      I hope your issue will be fixed!

  4. I received the TransferWise Debit Card (in my case it took almost ~2 weeks after ordering it). That being said, it was free :)
    Almost immediately after I got the debit card, I tried out to transfer fund from TransferWise to Revolut! That worked nicely, without additional fees. This is indeed a nice workaround, but I do hope that Revolut will soon provide a CHF IBAN with a Swiss Bank. I read on their blog that they’re working on it, but they’ve been saying that for a while. Assuming it will come one day, fingers crossed that TransferWise is not going to change their pricing policy during that time.

    I’m interested in hearing how you top up your TransferWise using your Cumulus Credit Card without fees? When I try to do that, the standard fees for Credit Cards appear (2.60 for 200CHF).

    1. Hello RB,

      I’m glad you received your TransferWise card without any issue, although there was some delay ;)

      I’t s a great workaround indeed, but as you said it would be better if we could directly do it on Revolut. We have to hope it stays the same for now with TW. If they make it not free, we’ll have to find another solution.

      I don’t do anything special to charge it with my Cumulus credit card. One thing I noticed though is that it’s free from the TW website. But there are fees from the TW mobile application. It’s totally dumb… They almost got me when I tried to do it from the mobile application. Did you try the web application or the mobile one?

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. Hi,

    I tried the TW website too, and it appears that they’re charging fees there as well. Is it possible they made these unfortunate changes recently and now you can’t top up using the Cumulus card without being charged a fee?

    The bank transfer option works for me. It’s just a little more convenient to do the topup via a credit card.

    1. Hi RB,

      I don’t understand. I just went to the TW website and charging by credit card is still free for me.
      They could have changed the prices for new users or they are rolling out a new update on the price and it still didn’t touch my account. I’m going to ask on Twitter what’s going on.

      Are you trying to charge CHF ?

      Yes, bank transfer should always be free but it’s really less convenient indeed.

    2. Hi RB,

      I got an answer from TW. They confirmed that your case is the normal case. Everybody should pay fees for topping with a card. And apparently, they don’t know why I can top up for free on my account. It must be a bug or something :s That means, I’ll probably start paying a fee very soon.

      I’m sorry about the mixup in the article. I was basing my information on my account. I will update the article to reflect this new information soon.

      Thanks :)

  6. Hi

    Oh no. I hope it wasn’t me who drew attention to your profile. I hope you still get a few months of fee free transactions before they fix the bug ;)

    Sorry for causing any troubles.

    Always grateful for the thorough research you do for the community!
    Thanks 😊

    1. Hi,

      No problem, I drew attention upon myself by asking on Twitter ;)
      For now, it is still free. I will see how long it last. I will switch to bank transfer once it is not free anymore.

      I am glad to be useful :)

      All the best

  7. I’ve created a Revolut account but did not request the card right away since I first needed to set up my TransferWise account.
    After a couple of days, I’ve received a promotion offer from Revolut to order the card for free if I do it within a certain number of days. Not sure if this will always work, but it’s might be worth to try.

  8. From December 2018 Revolut has a Swiss IBAN to top up. After the bank transfer it takes up to 2 working days to get your money on Revolut account.

    1. Hey Roman,
      do you have a link for that (long overdue, and long-awaited) info? I couldn’t find it on their site, nor on their community.

      Anywho, I created my Revolut account and I now I just need to decide which card should I request (MasterCard vs Maestro. I think I’ll go with the MasterCard.

  9. Revolut now has a swiss IBAN with Credit Suisse, my experiences:

    1. Transparent and competitive pricing for FX transactions (at interbank rates)
    2. Up to 200£ equivalent free ATM withdrawals worldwide each month (free version)
    3. Immediate push notifications for all transactions incl. rates etc.
    4. Multiple currency accounts for free and free exchange up to certain amount (6000£ equivalent each month)
    5. Flexible security options in App (e.g. NFC, limits, etc.)

    1. Surcharge on FX rates at weekends
    2. Not yet covered under deposit insurance in EU
    3. Delivery cost for card

    1. Hi Hans,

      Very good points you are making here!

      I am not sure 200 GBP free withdrawal really makes a difference though. It is very little. The use as a payment card is much more interesting for me.

      I agree that they could send the card for free. And that the price during the weekends is pretty bad.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Hi guys,

    why do I need Revolut if TransferWise also offers me competitive currency exchange? I don’t get the hassle getting another card from another provider.

    1. HI Quiquw,

      That’s a good point!

      For now, I can actually top up my Revolut for free with my Mastercard credit card. I just do not know why it is the case. That’s what I have been using the last few months.
      I am just not sure this will stay like this forever.

      Are you at the UBS bank?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Hi Mr. The Poor Swiss
    When ordering a physical card from Revolut you can (in Switzerland) choose between a Maestro and Mastercard. Which one would you prefer to choose?

    1. Hi David,

      If you can choose between a Maestro and a Mastercard, I would recommend the Mastercard. The best use of the Revolut card is to use it for transactions in other currencies. And for that, Mastercard will be more useful.

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your Revolut!

      1. Hi Mr. The Poor Swiss

        Thank you for your reply.

        I read somewhere that there are much higher fees when withdrawing cash with a credit card, like for example a Mastercard, than with a debit card which a Maestro is one. Do you know if this also applies to Revolut? On the Revolut website I could not find any information regarding this topic.

        You mentioned that Mastercard is more useful for transactions in other currencies. Could you explain why? As far as I know it is also possible to pay with a Maestro card in foreign currencies. Am I missing something?

        Best, David

        1. Hi David,

          This is correct for credit cards in Switzerland. However, you can withdraw 200 EUR per month for free with Revolut, without any other fees. But that is only for this limit. After this, it is expensive to withdraw money with Revolut.

          Yes, you are correct with Maestro being useful for foreign transactions. However, in other countries, they are generally less useful than Mastercard. And it’s easier to pay online with a Mastercard than with a Maestro.

          I hope that helps :)

          Thanks for stopping by!

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