Battle of the prepaid travel cards – N26 vs Revolut

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! Travelers from the US all seem to have credit cards and they’re all saving miles for their trips. In Europe, saving miles isn’t that easy and we don’t really have credit card companies who offer us flying miles. So why would we be paying extra commission for every ATM withdrawal abroad? N26 and Revolut are both a great Transferwise alternative. 

This post is a prepaid travel card comparison of N26 and Revolut. At the bottom of the post, we will give you a few similar travel cards like WeSwap, Monese, and, Monzo too. Let’s see the travel card comparison of N26 vs Revolut.

Some of the links on this website are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Check our Privacy Policy.

Where does your money go

ATM transaction fee

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 rate

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! – ATM fee

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 this 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.

RECOMMENDED
Best travel apps for Android and iPhone

N26 vs Revolut - Prepaid travel cards

N26 vs Revolut travel cards

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.

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.

RECOMMENDED
Best Train Booking Apps and Train Journey Planners for Europe

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.

Find cards like Revolut: Monzo, WeSwap

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.

RECOMMENDED
Cool Airbnb Listings in Europe under 100€

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.

RECOMMENDED
Airbnb first booking coupon - Grab your Airbnb discount now!

N26 vs Revolut - Battle of the travel cards

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 two days.

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 two working days.

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.

RECOMMENDED
How to open an N26 account

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
What's the best prepaid travel card?

Sign up for Revolut and N26 bank accounts

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 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.

There is a delivery cost of 6€ however.

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

N26

The N26 bank travel card will be sent to your home address for free after the video ID check is completed.

There’s no shipping cost, so you don’t have to top-up your travel card before you have it in your hands.

The verdict

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 still couldn’t decide on our favorite prepaid travel card! We still use both cards and we like them both a lot. 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.

We promised you some travel cash cards that can serve as a Revolut alternative or Transferwise alternative. Most of the following travel cash cards are similar cards like Revolut and N26. Here they are:

RECOMMENDED
N26 Review - Find out if the N26 travel card is right for you

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 Revolute, where you get live exchange rates.

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)