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Transferwise vs Revolut: Which Is Best in 2020?

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Transferwise vs Revolut: Which Is Best in 2020?

TransferWise and Revolut offer services that are quite similar. They are both offering cheap money transfers in many different currencies. How can you decide between both services?

I have both cards. But, I am mostly using my Revolut card. So, many of my readers asked me why I was mainly using my Revolut card, where I could have only used my TransferWise card. Today, I am going to answer the question: Which is better between TransferWise and Revolut?

Both companies will help you save money on foreign currency exchanges. However, they are still different in their fees and their offers. They both have some pros and cons. And that is precisely what we are going to go over in this post.

When I started using Revolut, there was no way to top it up for free from my bank account since they did not have a Swiss bank account. Therefore, I was using a TransferWise card as an intermediary between my bank account and my Revolut account. Now, Revolut has a Swiss IBAN, and I do not have to use my TransferWise card anymore. Let’s see why I am using Revolut more than TransferWise.

For this comparison, I am only going to go over the personal accounts, not the business accounts. Both TransferWise and Revolut offer accounts for businesses. But this is out of scope for this article. So, let’s compare TransferWise vs Revolut.

TransferWise

TransferWise is a private company based in the United Kingdom. It was launched in 2011. It is a money transfer service. From your TransferWise account, you can transfer money to any other users in almost any currency. You can also transfer money to a bank account. You can use money from your account with the Borderless MasterCard.

The main focus of TransferWise was for people working abroad. These people can receive a salary in a currency different than the country they are living in. TransferWise can help them save a lot of money on fees.

TransferWise has been profitable since 2017 and now has more than four million users. It has about one thousand employees over the world. Their services are available in Europe and the United States.

Revolut

Revolut is a private company based in the United Kingdom. It was launched in 2015. They offer money transfer services. From your account, you can transfer money to other users as well as directly to bank accounts. You can do transfers in almost any currencies. You can use your money on your account with the Revolut MasterCard. They also offer virtual cards that you can use on the Internet. They also have started providing access to cryptocurrencies.

The original focus of Revolut was for people traveling abroad. By using their credit cards in another country, these travelers need to pay a lot of fees. Revolut can save them a lot of money.

Revolut announced that they had about four million users in 2019. They have about 600 employees over the world. In the beginning, Revolut was only available in Europe. But since 2020, they are now available in the United States as well. And they will probably increase their coverage in the years to come.

I have been using Revolut for a while now. You can learn more about it in my full review of Revolut.

Availability

Both services are very well supported in Europe.

However, Revolut is mostly available in Europe. Overall, Revolut is available in 32 European countries. They are already available in Australia, where they are growing fast. And since 2020, they are now available in the United States as well.

On the other hand, TransferWise is available in 48 countries, including the United States. It makes TransferWise generally more popular since they have more coverage from the U.S. Also, TransferWise can be used in many Asian countries (Indonesia, for instance). At the same time, Revolut is absent from these countries.

Revolut supports 140 currencies, while TransferWise only supports 96 currencies. Moreover, Revolut lets you hold money in 24 currencies in your account. On the other hand, TransferWise only enables you to hold money in 16 currencies. But this is probably already more than enough for most people.

So, Revolut has better currency coverage. If you are traveling to a lot of countries, this could make a difference. But this is not a significant difference for me.

Money Transfer Service

Both companies focus on money transfer as their primary service. They both offer a debit card that you can use everywhere. You can charge your debit card from your bank account. You can then use it as a physical card or online. In both cases, you can also withdraw money from your debit card.

Both TransferWise and Revolut offer a way to do money transfer from one account to another or another bank account. Generally, people believe that TransferWise is a bit faster in executing payments. However, my transfers with Revolut have always been swift. Revolut has always been faster than my bank account.

There is a difference when receiving money. In Revolut, you can only receive money in GBP, EUR, and CHF. With TransferWise, you can also receive money in USD. It is convenient if you get paid in dollars or have investments in USD.

You can use TransferWise from a website and a mobile application. On the other hand, you can only Revolut from their mobile app. From my user point of view, they offer the same usability.

As for the cards themselves, Revolut offers a Mastercard and a Maestro, while TransferWise only offers a Mastercard. The offer of a Maestro is a good point in favor of Revolut. It can be convenient to get a Maestro card in Switzerland. But it is not critical anymore.

So, for money transfer services, Revolut and TransferWise are a tie!

Other services

TransferWise is very focused on the single service of transferring money at low-cost between bank accounts or between TransferWise accounts.

On the other hand, Revolut has many features. For instance, they started offering cryptocurrencies in 2018. That means you can hold cryptocurrencies in your account. On the other hand, this is not a free service. You will pay a 1.5% fee for each buy or sell of cryptocurrencies. And you cannot get your cryptocurrencies out of your Revolut account. For instance, you cannot move them into your cryptocurrency wallet. So this is not a replacement for other cryptocurrencies exchanges.

Revolut also started offering insurance for several things. And they also have Vaults, a system with which you can round purchases and save spare cash. And they have many budgeting capabilities in the mobile application. Moreover, Revolut has a banking license. It means they could become a bank in the future.

Recently, Revolut started working with Google Pay and Apple Pay. So you can use your smartphone directly to pay with your Revolut card. Beinga ble to pay from a smartphone is good news for many people! But this only matters if you want to use this feature.

Finally, Revolut offers three different accounts:

  1. Standard. It is the free account I am focusing on in this article.
  2. Premium. This account costs 6.99 EUR per month. It adds to Standard account with priority support, higher withdrawal, no more monthly limits, and several forms of insurances.
  3. Metal. This account costs 12.99 EUR per month. This account adds to the Premium account a concierge service and 0.1% cashback on European purchases and 1% cashback abroad.

For me, I do not have any advantage in having the Premium or Metal accounts. You can find the details of the three account types on Revolut. It seems like most people will have enough with the Standard account.

So, when comparing TransferWise vs Revolut, Revolut has many more features than TransferWise. However, I am not sure these features will appeal to everybody. I think it is good that TransferWise focuses on doing one single thing very well rather than trying to do everything at once. Having more features does not mean it is better if you do not use them.

Limits – TransferWise vs Revolut

Both services have different limits. For my usage, I never hit any of the limits. But if you plan to rely on either TransferWise or Revolut heavily, you need to be aware of these limits.

TransferWise has a small default limit on each operation. But you can change the default from the mobile application. So I am going to talk about the maximum limits you can set. Also, TransferWise has different limits for European and U.S. customers.

Let’s start with European customers.  European customers can withdraw 1000 GBP per withdrawal, 1500 GBP per day, and 4000 GBP per month. For online purchases, they can purchase for a maximum of  10’000 GBP per day or 30’000 GBP per month. U.S. customers have smaller limits. They can withdraw 1000 USD per day and 4000 USD per month. And they can pay online for 2000 USD per day and 10’000 USD per month.

Revolut has a more straightforward system for limits. Indeed, you can withdraw a maximum of 3000 GBP per day. And you can transfer a lot of money with Revolut. The daily limit on Revolut is 100’000 GBP. And the weekly limit is 250’000 GBP.

Revolut has much higher limits than TransferWise. Moreover, their system is much simpler. However, for most users, the limits of TransferWise should be more than sufficient.

Money transfer prices

What is most impressive with these two services is their prices. Standard credit cards make you pay a substantial fee for foreign currencies exchanges. It is typically between 1.5% and 2.5% on each amount. Both TransferWise and Revolut are significantly cheaper than that! It is their primary purpose. For me, this is the thing I am looking the most into to compare these two services.

On TransferWise, transfers are not free. You will need to pay between 0.2 and 0.5% fee on each transfer, depending on the currency pair you are converting money from. They are using a very complicated pricing system.

On the other hand, Revolut offers transfers for free! It is valid for each currency pair. However, there is a limit of 1000£ (GBP) per month. Once you reach this limit, you will have to pay a 0.5% fee on each transfer. Moreover, on the weekend, you will have to pay an extra 1.0% fee for each transfer. And some currencies like Russian Roubles (RUB) and Thai Baht are more expensive, with a 1% fee during the week and 2% during the weekend.

As a side note, you can use one of the premium accounts of Revolut to increase the monthly limit for free transfers. If you are planning to convert a large amount of money, this could be worth it.

TransferWise is better than Revolut for guaranteeing the amount the recipient will receive from a bank transfer. Transferwise has local accounts for all their currencies. And they will use that to guarantee the amount received by the recipient.

For instance, if you send Mexican Pesos from the U.K., you will know exactly how much they will receive. Your money will go from one TW account to another first. And then, it will make a local payment to the recipient bank account. Revolut does not have such a guarantee. It means you could lose some money because of the fees.

Example of fees

Let’s make a few examples of exchanges to compare directly TransferWise and Revolut. I am going to take TransferWise Borderless Card as an example. The prices are different if you send money from the app or using the card. If you want all the details, you can use Transferwise pricing system.

Amount From To TransferWise Revolut Revolut Weekend
1000 CHF EUR 3.29 CHF 0 CHF 10 CHF
5000 CHF EUR 16.45 CHF 25 CHF 75 CHF
10000 CHF EUR 33.39 CHF 50 CHF 150 CHF
1000 EUR USD 3.39 EUR 0 CHF 10 EUR
5000 EUR USD 17.78 EUR 25 CHF 75 EUR
1000 CHF RUB 8.86 CHF 10 CHF 20 CHF
5000 CHF RUB 33.11 CHF 75 CHF 125 CHF

Since Revolut increased their fees in June 2020, the results are more in favor of TransferWise rather than Revolut!

  • Revolut is still cheaper for small amounts (less than 1250 CHF per month).
  • TransferWise is always better during the weekend
  • TransferWise is much better for large amounts
  • TransferWise is much better for special currencies

So, with a small amount converted per month, Revolut is still interesting. Otherwise, TransferWise is much better!

If you want the best fees in every case, you will have to use both cards:

  • Revolut for small transfers in standard currencies
  • TransferWise for exotic currencies transfers
  • TransferWise for big transfers
  • TransferWise during the weekends

If you enter in several of these categories, you will need both a Revolut and a TransferWise. It will be the most optimal combination to reduce the fees.

So, both solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. You need to know the fees to minimize them.

Reputation – Revolut vs TransferWise

We can also compare the reputation of these two services.

There has been some recent controversy about Revolut. If you follow financial news, you probably have heard some of them.

Since its creation, Revolut has had many issues with their employees. Or rather, employees had many problems with Revolut! Indeed, they have a significant turnover. And several prior employees have reported a lot of unpaid work and extreme work conditions.

Of course, these are only rumors. They were never confirmed by Revolut. I do not know the truth behind these allegations. But this does not help Revolut’s reputation. Indeed, there is generally some truth behind such claims.

In early 2019, the news reported that thousands of suspicious transactions were allowed to go through the Revolut system. They showed that Revolut switched off their screening system. We do not know why the system was not activated. After the news, they reactivated the system. But this is worrisome.

Shortly after this event, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Revolut stepped down, increasing the controversy and conjectures around Revolut. He said he stepped down because Revolut was become too big too fast and was not capable of handling all these changes.

There are also rumors of another kind about Revolut. Many people believe that they have strong ties to the Kremlin. But I have never read any facts about this. It is generally only based on the fact that the founder is Russian. I would not worry too much about that.

On the other hand, there has not been much controversy about TransferWise. Overall, Transferwise has a much better reputation than Revolut.

I am not worried enough with all this information to stop using Revolut. Many companies are going through something like this when they grow up. Moreover, some of the news have debatable sources. However, this is still something I would worry about if I were to transfer a lot of money through Revolut.

User Reviews – TransferWise vs Revolut

Finally, we can also take a look at actual user reviews for both companies. For this, I am going to use Trustpilot as a reference (in January 2020). Trustpilot is generally the place that has the most high-quality reviews for such services.

TransferWise gets a score of 4.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot. It is an excellent score! 86% of people are reviewing TransferWise as Excellent and 8% as Great. On the other hand, 2% think it is average, 1% think it is poor, and 3% think it is bad!

If we look at the bad reviews for TransferWise, we can see recurring themes:

  • Bad experience with customer support
  • Transfers took longer than expected
  • Accounts were disabled for apparently no reason

Then, Revolut also gets a score of 4.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot. Once again, this is an excellent score. 79% of people say it is excellent, and 12% say it is great. In contrary, 2% says it is average, 1% says it is poor while 6% say it is bad.

Looking at the negative reviews for Revolut, we can also see some recurring themes:

  • Bad experience with customer service
  • Accounts have been disabled for apparently no reason
  • Extra fee on some transfers

Given that they have the same score, Revolut and TransferWise have the same good ratings by users! We can see the same recurring themes on negative reviews for both companies. But they have many great views, and their scores are excellent. Reviews are much better than I thought. It is because negative feedback is often louder than the positive ones.

TransferWise vs Revolut Summary

To finish this comparison, here is a summary of the primary comparison points between the two services:

Point Revolut Transferwise
Availability Good Best
Weekday fees Best Good
Weekend Fees Bad Good
Free Withdrawals 200 EUR/mo 200 EUR/mo
Transfer Speed Good Best
Currency Support Best Good
Limits Best Good
Customer service Bad Good
Features Many features Many features
Mobile application Good OK
Web application None Good
Stability OK Good
Reputation Bad Good
User Reviews Good Good

Overall, we can see that both services have very good things to offer.

TransferWise has a bit more advantages than Revolut. From a pure money point of view, Revolut is superior. However, they do have a bad reputation, and their customer service is very poorly rated. Moreover, Revolut is not yet profitable.

It is difficult to know what the future reserves for these two companies. I think Revolut will become better and better at doing what it does. But this is only an educated guess.

Here are the main differences between Revolut and TransferWise:

  • Revolut is free during the week while Transferwise always have fees
  • Revolut support more currencies
  • TransferWise is available in more countries than Revolut
  • TransferWise offers a web application and mobile application, Revolut only has a mobile application
  • TransferWise is profitable, Revolut is not
  • Revolut has more features on mobile
  • TransferWise has a better reputation

Conclusion

When comparing TransferWise vs Revolut, I prefer Revolut over TransferWise. The reason is simple: Revolut saves me more money! I am only using Revolut for purchases in other currencies. I have never paid a single cent for Revolut services. But TransferWise is an excellent service as well!

Whether you use TransferWise or Revolut, this travel card will be an essential part of your credit card strategy. Indeed, saving on currency exchange fees is the single thing that will save you the most money on your credit card fees!

However, since they increased their fees in June 2020, you can only convert small amounts each month (maximum of 1000 GBP) per month. And transactions during the weekend have become expensive.

Now, there are some things that TransferWise does better than Revolut. For instance, their customer support is much better and much more responsive. Moreover, if you use some less standard currencies, Revolut is significantly more expensive than Transferwise. Also, during the weekend, their rates are better than Revolut rates.

Finally, and probably, more importantly, TransferWise is a well-established company with an excellent reputation. It is already profitable. It could say that they will last longer than Revolut.

Another alternative is to use the Swiss bank Neon. They have fewer features but they also offer free purchase abroad with their Mastercard. And most people would prefer to have a local bank for the extra security of regulations.

However, nothing prevents you from using two different cards. As I pointed out earlier, if you want to minimize the fees to a maximum, you will need both cards. For instance, you could use Revolut for most currencies and TransferWise for exotic currencies.

As such, I would be more cautious if I were to deposit a lot of money on my accounts. I never have more than 500 CHF on my Revolut account. Revolut is still a young company that has to transition from a Fintech startup into a big finance company.

In both cases, I would advise being careful before depositing too much money in any of these two services. I believe you should primarily use them for currency exchanges.

And do not forget: do not use either TransferWise or Revolut for your default currency! Indeed, you need to use your local credit card for that. That way, you will accumulate some cashback. These two services are only good for money transfers involving two different currencies.

What about you? Do you prefer TransferWise or Revolut?

If you want to learn more about Revolut, you can learn how I am using Revolut to save money.

To learn more about TransferWise vs Revolut, you can watch this comparison video:

Full story here
Mr. The Poor Swiss
Mr. The Poor Swiss is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was 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 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.
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