Have you been fooled by one of Prague’s infamous currency exchange shops yet? Many of us felt that painful disappointment when we first tried to exchange foreign currency in one of those little exchange shops! Indeed, It can be a truly jaw-dropping event, as sometimes money you receive is nowhere near what you expected to get for your hard earned euros, or for any other foreign currency for that matter. And the ridiculous bank fees for money transfers abroad – I guess I don’t even have to mention them. That’s why I see having Revolut in Czech Republic as a real game changer. Revolut frees you from worries about exchange rate of the Czech crown. It’s mobile, it offers quick money transfers, an absolutely unbeatable Revolut exchange rates and it’s FREE. That’s crazy! So, let’s make sense of it. Keep reading…
What is Revolut?
Some people tend to simplify things and think of Revolut as a bank. So, to start with, let’s make one thing clear – Revolut is not a bank, although the European Central Bank granted them a banking licence back in 2018. They position themselves as a FinTech company, trying to stay away from the outdated image of traditional banks. They promise to never lend out or invest your money. Everything is super transparent, quick and easy with Revolut. Basically, your Revolut account is like a digital wallet that allows you to conduct money transfers and exchange currencies pretty much instantly, at rates that no other commercial bank offers. Not a single one!
What is Revolut exchange rate?
Their biggest selling point is that they offer their customers interbank exchange rates. This means that, while traditional banks offer you Buy and Sell exchange rates (check Raiffeisenbank for example), which includes a big margin they keep for themselves, Revolut exchange rate is the market rate. See how they lay it out clearly and transparently in this blog post. This is the lowest possible rate, basically the one that is used when banks exchange currencies between themselves. Banks would never offer this rate to their customers, because they make money on the difference between the exchange rate they offer to you and the one they use to exchange currencies with other banks.
Can I get a Revolut card tied to my account?
First of all, Revolut is an app, and it is fully integrated with Google pay and Apple pay. And, of course, you can get your cards with Revolut. You can have a virtual card (for digital payments) and a physical card (for ATM withdrawals and paying in brick and mortar stores). Both – Visa and MasterCard are issued by Revolut. However, unfortunately, you cannot choose which provider you prefer.
One of the best things about Revolut cards is that you can create disposable virtual cards in your app and use them for one-off online payments. This is really useful when you want to buy something from an online shop you don’t trust the fully. Once the payment is done, your disposable Revolut card gets deactivated automatically.
How to send money to your Revolut account?
The easiest way to transfer money to your Revolut account is by what they call a top-up, you simply load your current card details onto the app and then transfer as much money as you wish. Topping-up your Revolut account works instantly and it’s free.
You can also send money to your Revolut account via a wire transfer, Revolut doesn’t charge you for such incoming transactions. However, keep in mind that your Revolut account is registered in the UK, and most banks out there in the world charge fees for international money transfers.
What do you get with a Standard account from Revolut in Czech Republic?
Revolut believes it’s fair to offer the lowest possible rate to their customers. That is why they offer just one rate, the lowest one. This is true at any given moment, but the downside of this is that the rate fluctuates as the market situation changes. That’s the reason for a small fee they collect in case you decide to exchange money on Saturday or Sunday. They need to cover the potential loss they make on such transactions by the time the markets open again on Monday. Otherwise almost everything you do on your Revolut account is done for free. But let’s look at it in a bit more detail. The benefits vary depending on the type of account you want to have with Revolut.
The basic, free Standard Revolut account comes with:
- free account for balance in CZK (or your local currency)
- free UK account
- an EUR account with IBAN code (also free)
- free payments at interbank exchange rate in 150 currencies worldwide
- instant exchange in 29 major currencies for up to 120000 CZK / month with no fees (a small fee applies on the amount above this limit)
- free cash withdrawals from ATMs worldwide for up to 4500 CZK / month (again, a small fee applied if you withdraw more than 4500 CZK in a given month)
- Secure payment system
- Fully operational and easy to use app (not only in English) for Android and iOS
- Google pay and Apple pay functionality
Can you use the card from Revolut in Czech Republic?
Yes, absolutely yes! Revolut offers Visa and MasterCard cards and those do work in Czech Republic. Even without the card option it’s clear that for any expat who travels and / or sends some money abroad from time to time, having a Revolut account pays off greatly. Besides, any time you order something online from a shop that operates in EUR or another currency, you pay at the best possible rate with Revolut. Understandably though, in order to gain the full benefits of it, you might want to order a physical Revolut card as well.
Normally, they charge a one-time fee to issue a card and deliver it to Czech Republic, around 250 CZK + shipping costs. However, Prague Referral has secured a deal with Revolut. It allows our group members to register with a special Revolut referral link and get their card for free. For more information about our free Revolut card check out the special Revolut offer in our Deals section.
When using my card from Revolut in Czech Republic, which ATMs should I look for?
Revolut doesn’t charge you any fees for ATM withdrawals, up to a monthly limit of 4500 CZK. And this limit is higher for Premium and Metal accounts (see below). However, they warn you that…
- You should always decline conversion (as you would normally do with any card) when withdrawing money or paying with your card. If you accept the ATM’s or the shop’s conversion, it will inevitably come at worse rate than what your Revolut offers. So, always aim to be charged in local currency, without converting the amount to your card’s currency. Besides, with Revolut you don’t even need to think about conversion rate at all.
- Also, keep in mind that local banks might setup their ATMs to collect a fee for processing foreign cards. Fortunately, the law demands that ATMs inform you about such fees beforehand, and give you the choice to cancel withdrawal at no cost.
As one Revolut user in Czech Republic (nickname: dsmid) reported in their community forum here is the breakdown of bank ATMs and their fees:
- Komerční banka
- Unicredit Bank
- Česká spořitelna (125 CZK)
- Moneta Money Bank (195 CZK)
Clearly, most bank ATMs in Czech Republic do not charge fees for cash withdrawal with your Revolut card. Obviously, I hope you will never (EVER) use one of Euronet ATMs. If you don’t know what kind of evil these are yet, check the video from the Honest Guide below, and never use these blue machines again. 🙂
What are the benefits of Premium and Metal accounts?
Revolut Premium account
The Premium account is available for a small monthly fee (175 CZK) but it comes with a ton of perks! If you tend to travel at least a couple of times per year, you should seriously consider it. Seriously, your average travel insurance would cost you more and Revolut Premium includes a solid travel insurance package. So, the big picture – the Premium Revolut account offers all the benefits of the Standard plan, and on top of that it also gives you…
- unlimited currency exchange at interbank rate (no 120000 CZK monthly limit here)
- free ATM withdrawals for up to 9000 CZK / month (double in comparison to the Standard account)
- travel insurance for worldwide emergency medical and dental treatment
- travel insurance providing compensation for delayed flights and luggage
- LoungeKey pass access for lounges in over 1000 Airports worldwide
- free express card delivery in 1-3 business days
- free spare card
- and a lot more, check out here
Revolut Metal account
The Metal account is the newest product they offer, and it’s quite expensive. Although not as expensive as many traditional banks in Czech Republic (e.g KB, ČSOB, Unicredit and others). The Metal account will cost you 300 CZK per month. On the other hand, keep in mind that it offers all the benefits of the Premium account, plus…
- higher limits (triple in comparison to the Standard account)
- a cashback system on the purchases you’d be making anyway
- access to a private concierge service (hotel reservations, flight bookings, exclusive events and more… yes, it’s something rich people indulge in)
- And the card looks really good! 🙂
So, if your lifestyle calls for something more exclusive, then the Revolut Metal account might be the right choice for you.
How about Revolut outside Czech Republic? Where is it available?
Although Revolut card are accepted by businesses and ATMs worldwide, not everyone can hold one. They are currently available for users who reside in the European Economic Area (the whole EU + a couple of other countries), Switzerland and Australia. However, they are expanding really quickly. With more than 6 mln. users worldwide and some serious financial backing, this UK based startup is growing at a very impressive rate. For example, recently as The Times of India reported, Revolut announced that they were hiring in India and they plan to enter the market in 2020. So, for Indian expats living in Prague Revolut can be an excellent cost-effective alternative to money transfers via bank or other services like MoneyWise.
Can I use my Revolut card in Czech Republic after Brexit?
And yes, you read that right – they are based in UK. And no, Brexit is not an issue for them. 🙂 In preparations for Brexit, they already created a new unit that would start servicing EU based customers in case of a no-deal Brexit. So, even in the worst-case scenario, your money is safe with Revolut. So, go check it out and don’t forget about our special deal (free Revolut card) in case you decide to get it.
Check out other articles about life in Prague
- Driving schools for foreigners in Czech Republic
- Czech driving licences for foreigners explained
- The best tricks for cheap shopping in Prague. Cashback offer as the cherry on the top!
- Renting a flat in Prague: 4 great ways to find your new home
- Use Revolut in Czech Republic and abroad – it’s expat money-saving tip #1