N26 vs Revolut – Ultimate Battle of the travel cards

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Regular credit cards charge you a ton of money for every ATM withdrawal abroad. Without blushing, our bank charges us 5€ for each withdrawal!

That’s on top of the amount of local currency that the foreign ATM charges us! Then, our regular bank at home also charges us a monthly fee for the use of their services.

So why would we be paying extra commission for every ATM withdrawal abroad? N26 or Revolut are both a great alternative for your home bank. They’re also a good solution for travelers who want to use their card in different locations with different valuta. 

This post is a prepaid travel card comparison of Revolut vs N26.

At the bottom of the post, we will give you a tad more information about other travel cards like Revolut and N26: Transferwise, WeSwap, Monese, Travelex, and, Monzo. Those are some alternatives to Revolut and N26.

Let’s see the travel card comparison of N26 vs Revolut.

Revolut bank and N26 bank both offer prepaid travel cards that are accessible for European travelers. Both are expanding their territory and are already available to users outside of the EU. They work in similar ways and they both offer a lot of neat features. Since we tried both cards, we don’t remember why we ever used our credit cards before.

We compared exchange rate, usability, and other available options for these travel cards. Both are an international bank and an online bank, which means they also offer great apps for mobile banking while traveling.

Read an N26 review here.

Where does your money go?

ATM Withdrawal Fees

Credit cards charge an ATM fee for every withdrawal. If you don’t research the commission and compare travel credit cards before you leave, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Without blushing, our bank charges as much as 5€ per withdrawal. That’s not where we want to spend our travel money on!

Horrible Exchange Rates

Most credit cards and travel card banks will use an exchange rate which is to their advantage and resembles a Mastercard exchange rate.

This means you will lose a lot of money, either way. If you change Euros to a foreign currency, you’ll get the worst possible exchange rate.

If you should try to change it back to Euro a minute later, you’ll see you lost even more, because you get the worst possible exchange rate, again.

The ATM charges you too!

This is not something your bank can help.

They already took as much as they could!

Now it’s time the local bank company earned some money as well!

Most ATMs will charge foreign cards for withdrawals.

In Guatemala, this is almost 5€ and we’re guessing this amount is about the same everywhere.

In Colombia, we found an ATM that didn’t charge anything for withdrawals, but that’s really an exception to the rule.

Summed Up...

Our conclusion was to take out more money per withdrawal and just carry it in our money belts.

Since most fees are added per withdrawal, this approach would make sense, if it wasn’t for the ATM restrictions.

Knowing that ATM’s in Central America only allow you to take out a small amount of money per withdrawal, costs tend to rise just too quickly.

In the end, for every 200€ withdrawal, we ended up paying 10€ extra on fees and commissions.

During our previous trip, we discovered how much money we lost on withdrawals and decided to research other options.

We found two highly rated travel cards that are available to Europeans and did some background checks.

Before we left on a new trip, we ordered one of both, N26 bank and Revolut bank, and tried them in real life.

This post is a comparison between some of the best travel cash cards.

At the bottom, we’ll give you a few prepaid travel cards that can serve as a Transferwise alternative or a Revolut alternative, like Monzo, WeSwap, and Monese, we didn’t try for our self.

Travel Card Options

Revolut

Revolut has a free standard and a monthly paid Premium plan.

The Premium plan offers more features, like express deliveries and overseas medical insurance. If these extra options look interesting to you, better check their website to see what it’s all about.

In our comparison, we’ll be talking about the budget option and we use the free card. This card is a Mastercard or Visa Debit card.

N26

N26 has three card options, but they’re not available everywhere.

The paid card is currently only available in Ireland and it also includes travel insurance.

The regular N26 card is free and that’s exactly the one we will be talking about! This card is also a Mastercard or Visa Debit card.

If you want to check out the other travel card options, have a look at their website.

ATM Withdrawal Fees

Revolut

Revolut offers free ATM withdrawals ups to 200€ per month.

After that, you’ll pay a 2% fee per ATM withdrawal.

N26

In €, N26 bank offers you 5 free withdrawals per month. After that 2€ per ATM withdrawal. 

In foreign currencies, N26 charges 2€ plus 1,7% of the amount per withdrawal.

Card Transactions in Shops and Stores

Revolut

Card transactions in shops and stores are free worldwide.

N26

Card transactions in shops and stores are free worldwide.

Contactless Payments

Revolut

Revolut offers contactless payments in shops, stores, and restaurants.

Contactless payments are free of charge.

N26

N26 offers contactless payments in shops, stores, and restaurants. Contactless payments are free of charge.

Sending Money Worldwide

Revolut

You can transfer money to other bank accounts without paying fees.

N26

N26 bank works with TransferWise, a platform supporting international money transfers.

TransferWise offers free transfers within and among EEA states and currencies.

Exchange Rate

Revolut

Revolut offers the Live Market Rate exchange rate without fees for exchanges up to 6000€.

After that, there’s a 0,5% fee added.

N26

N26 bank uses real exchange rates.

N26 promises not to charge foreign currency exchange rate surcharges.

Topping up your travel card

Revolut

A Revolut travel card can be topped up through bank transfer, Android or Apple Pay or automatic top-up when your balance reaches a certain low.

Topping up is free.

Depending on where your bank is, topping-up can take up to four working days. In our case, it usually takes less than 1 day.

N26

You can top-up your N26 card with your regular bank account through a money transfer.

Putting money on your N26 bank account is free.

Topping up takes 1 working day.

Security

Revolut

The Revolut banking app is secured with your fingerprint or pin code.

You can block your travel card through the app in case of theft or loss.

The mobile banking app also gives you instant notifications of withdrawals and payments.

If something looks off, you can block it immediately.

It’s possible to set spending limits.

N26

The N26 bank app is secured with your fingerprint or pin code.

You can lock your card through the app in case of theft or loss.

The mobile banking app also gives you instant notifications of withdrawals and payments.

If something looks off, you can block it immediately.

It’s possible to set spending limits.

Mobile Banking Apps

Revolut

The Revolut mobile banking app is fantastic. You will need it to manage your expenses and cards.

The app notifies you of expenses immediately. If your friends use Revolut as well, you can easily split bills or transfer money to them.

  • pin or fingerprint lock
  • manage your card
  • spending analytics
  • transfer money
  • expense notification in the currency you used

N26

The N26 mobile banking app is pretty awesome too.

You can use the app or check your cards and expenses online with a computer.

Sending and receiving money is easy to do with N26 bank accounts.

  • pin or fingerprint lock
  • manage your card
  • spending analytics
  • transfer money
  • expense notification of your home currency

Signing up for a Travel Card

Revolut

Signing up for a Revolut card is easy and secure.

You’ll have to scan your identity card with your smartphone to prove your identity.

To receive the travel card, you have to top up your account for 6€ so they can charge the delivery costs.

N26

Signing up for an N26 travel card is straightforward and secure.

You can visit a post office in Germany or do what we did.

We opted for the video call with an identity check. A friendly person will call you and ask you some questions.

You’ll need to show your identity card or passport and do a few things, like looking into the camera and waving. The call takes about 5 minutes and I thought it was a little funny.

Getting your Travel Card

Revolut

Getting a Revolut bank card is free.

Use our link to get Revolut witout paying the delivery cost of 6€.

So you have to top-up your Revolut travel card with the app to get it in the mail.

N26

Signing up for an N26 travel card is straightforward and secure.

You can visit a post office in Germany or do what we did.

We opted for the video call with an identity check. A friendly person will call you and ask you some questions.

You’ll need to show your identity card or passport and do a few things, like looking into the camera and waving. The call takes about 5 minutes and I thought it was a little funny.

The Verdict: N26 vs Revolut

We couldn’t decide which one to choose, so we ordered both. I must admit I like both travel cards and both travel banking apps a lot. They both look sleek and work flawlessly.

After testing both cards extensively, we have decided on our favorite prepaid travel card! We still use both cards and we like them both a lot.

We recommend the N26 travel card by far!

I suggest you to visit the websites of both prepaid travel cards and see at which point they currently are in terms of territory.

These cards are not available to residents of all countries in the world, so that might just be a limitation. N26, as well as Revolut are in the process of expanding their territory and attracting new users.

N26 and Revolut Alternatives

We promised you some travel cash cards that can serve as an alternative to Revolut or N26.

Most of the following travel cash cards are similar cards to Revolut and N26. 

Here they are:

Monese

Monese is a UK based online bank.

It looks quite similar to the banks mentioned above, but we didn’t get a chance to try them.

Pay With Fire

Pay with Fire is another option.

This online bank looks a little different and seems mostly aimed at Euro and Pound users.

WeSwap Travel Card

WeSwap is another travel card bank which is proud of its great exchange rates and travel card options.

It is mainly for UK based travelers.

Monzo

Monzo is an online, UK based bank for UK based travelers which resembles the other travel cards and travel banks quite a lot.

 

Travelex

Travelex is a popular traveler option which offers a prepaid currency card with multiple currency choices.

When the exchange rate is good, you can lock it and change your currency to the foreign valuta.

Different than N26 or Revolut, where you get live exchange rates.

Transferwise

Transferwise is a UK-based online bank and it is one of the best and most popular.

With their borderless account, they have a lot of digital nomads in their client base, as you can also open a business account with them.

We’re in the process of testing this account right now 🙂 

 

This might be interesting too!

This might be interesting too!

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Dave

Why focus on ATM withdrawals when they both offer contactless payments?

I have been a premium customer at N26 for the past year and have been a premium customer at Revolut for many months now. The two companies are very similar today (2019) and differ only in the smallest points. Depending on who is powerful, one bank makes more sense than the other. However, my experience has shown that Revolut definitely suits me better. For me, customer service is one of the most important points and Revolut did a lot better for me. N26 has recently abolished the Telefonsiche hotline. Now I wait every 10-15 minutes in the Chatt wait loop… Read more »

You have to mention that none provide credit cards, but debit cards. This is very important when renting a car because most of the car rental cie will refuse them and thus, the renting. You will need to have another credit card associated with a normal bank account, with or without the insurance.
N26 black offers a travel insurance (Allianz)

Bob

1. Revolut offers an Prepaid Card while N26 gives you a Debit Card that is sometimes a big difference . (some do not except prepaid cards)
2. Revolut offers one IBAN which can handelt multiple Currencies while N26 converts every incoming transfer in EUR .
3. Revolut is sending money from multiple Currencies Account while N26 uses Transferwise and offers a EUR Account only.
4. Transferwise is more expensive and be very strict ( blocks some accounts without reason)!

Katy

N26 has big safety issues. Money got stolen from my account 4 times, every time I needed a new card and they just send it to Germany, where I’m from and they don’t care if you are full time traveling and have no access to your money anymore. They said to me that this is my problem and they don’t care! I contacted Revolut and ask I if I can get an account and a Credit Card fast und they where very helpful opens an account in minutes and after 2 days I got my new Credit Card in the… Read more »

Ashwin

Will you be able to invite me to sign up for a Revolut card? How do I reach out to you?

Thanks in advance!

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