Simply using a bank is easy. The problem is they are expensive and you can’t do a lot of things.
Money management is changing rapidly for the better.
Wise and Revolut are two of the best, and both have great cards, apps and inexpensive international money transfers.
On the surface they seem similar.
- Both have multi currency accounts and cards
- Account balances can be held in many different currencies
- Transparent, inexpensive and fast money transfers
- Wise is generally simpler, cheaper and (for many) more useful
- However, Revolut has lots more frequent traveller and digital bank “Cool Features (below)” you might want
- Costs (below) are quite different, and some people may even do best by having both.
Let’s get stuck into it!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see my disclosures here.
1. The Big Differences
Wise is a leader in inexpensive money transfers and offers a very handy Multi Currency Account (review), which then enables you to get a Wise Debit Card (review). You could say they are the ultimate solution for the international people including small to medium business.
Check if Wise is available in your country (new tab).
Revolut on the other hand is more of a banking alternative with a strong focus on travellers and international business people through their multi currency account, debit card and “cool features”.
Check the latest offering for Revolut in your country (new tab).
But what do you want?
- Revolut offers paid plans which includes things you can’t get on Wise like: Travel insurance, Car hire excess, Lost or delayed luggage, Lounge access and Ticket protection
- GBP and EUR bank details + SWIFT accounts to receive other currencies
- Savings accounts
- Stocks and crypto trading
- Complex fee structures based on the free or paid plans and if you use the card on weekends
- Weekend card use attracts a fee
- Versatile Multi Currency Account: Share local bank details in 10 currencies, hold & convert 50 currencies and send money to 80 countries.
- Very low cost money transfers using the “real” or mid-market rate
- Simple and efficient online platform and app
- Guarantee on the exchange rate (2-72 hours)
- Available for personal and business (in more parts or the world)
- No savings accounts, stock or crypto trading
Revolut for personal use is currently available in the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and the United States. Its website also mentions plans to launch in more locations in the near future.
Revolut Business is currently available for businesses and sole traders registered in and with a physical presence within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The website mentions expansion plans for the USA coming soon.
You can get a card for your business account, but you need to be a resident in one of these countries to download the app and order the card.
At the time of this writing, Revolut is available in UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, and the USA (click to see the dropdown for your country).
You can also get a card for business.
Wise, on the other hand, allows you to open an account for money transfers in most countries.
While this sounds great at first glance, one of the biggest limitations is the availability of the Wise card. You are only able to get a Wise card in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and EEA countries, except for Greece.
If you’re a business user, you can get unique account details for the UK, US, Eurozone, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Hungary and Poland (more currencies are always being added) and you can pay invoices in 80+ currencies.
Important: Opening a Wise account (for money transfers only) is typically possible from almost any country, but getting the Wise Multicurrency Account and Card is only available in these countries (See dropdown to check your country is on the list).
The best choice for you will depend on the country you live or do business in. As a general rule, follow these guidelines:
If you live in the USA, UK, Europe, Australia or New Zealand, you’re in luck. Both services are readily available, so you can read on and choose based on the features most relevant to you.
If you’re in Canada or many other countries, Wise is likely your only choice.
3. Costs and Fees (+ Hidden Fees)
When considering fees, there are four main types to consider: Opening Fees, Money Transfer Fees, Card Fees, and the dreaded “Hidden Fees”.
Opening an Account
It is free to open an account with both Wise and Revolut. While Wise proudly states it will never charge subscription fees, Revolut offers a range of membership options.
The packages range from the free Standard plan, to Plus (€2.99, £2.99 per month) Premium (€7.99, £6.99, $9.99 USD, $10.99 AUD per month) or Metal (€13.99, £12.99, $16.99 USD, $24.99 AUD per month) account. (see Cool Features below)
Naturally, the features increase as you go up the packages, so the option you choose will depend on what you need to use the account for.
You can learn about the inclusions below – however, here are a few notable features to mention:
- Standard: Free UK bank account, Free Euro IBAN bank account
- Plus: 24/7 priority customer support, 90 days return policy
- Premium: Discounted device insurance, Unlimited no-fee currency exchange
- Metal: Overseas medical insurance, Exclusive metal card
Money Transfer Fees
Wise is built upon the promise of making money transfer affordable—to only charge what it costs to send the money, plus a small margin. Wise charges mid-market exchange rates at all times and this also applies to all transfer fees.
The fees are cheap and transparent, but it can get a little complicated. How much you will pay depends on the country you are in, the currency you are sending and the currency it will arrive in.
Luckily, Wise offers a calculator to show how the fees on a transfer are calculated.
This handy calculator will let you know how much each transfer costs.
Here’s an example:
You want to send £1000 to EUR. The recipient will receive 1,154.60 EUR. The total fee will be £3.69 which includes:
- £0.20 fixed fee
- £3.49 (0.35%) variable fee
There are also different ways to send the money including the Low-Cost Option (the example above), Fast and Easy Transfer (the same transfer would cost £6.67), or an Advanced Transfer (£3.69 for the example transfer).
Revolut makes a bold claim on the website that it offers “no fee currency exchange” in 30 fiat currencies. However, if this is one of the important benefits for you, it’s important to note that this does come with a few caveats.
For a start, the free transfer is only up to a certain allowance which depends on your membership plan—£1000 for the Standard and Plus plan, and unlimited for the upper two plans. Any amount exceeding the allowance is charged at 0.5%.
As they say, “Whenever you make a money currency exchange using Revolut, we use our simple and transparent pricing formula of rate + fee (if one applies) = total cost.” Here are those fees.
Both Wise and Revolut offer free card payments if you are paying with currency you hold.
However, if you don’t hold enough of the currency, Wise will charge you a conversion fee of between 0.35% and 1%, while Revolut will apply the mid-market rate.
It’s important to note that both options are significantly cheaper than paying with a typical bank credit or debit card.
If you would like to withdraw money from an ATM it is free up to 200 GBP/EUR, $350 AUD/NZD/SGD/CAD, $100 USD, then a 2% fee will apply with Wise and with the free Revolut plan. If you opt for a premium Revolut package, the amount you can withdraw for free increases incrementally to £800 depending on your plan.
Wise is about as transparent as you can get—not just in the world of finance but in any business. Not only does Wise “charge as little as possible”, but it also clearly outlines exactly what your fees pay for.
Revolut is not quite as transparent but still pretty darn good. It doesn’t seem to be hiding anything from our experience of using them and looking deeply into the way it works.
Both Wise and Revolut have strengths and limitations, but which is best largely depends on where you live and what you want to do with your card:
Card payments: Revolut is cheaper if you are in the UK, Europe or Switzerland and are only paying for things using the card (no transfers).
ATM withdrawals: If you need more than £200 cash (200 GBP/EUR, $350 AUD/NZD/SGD/CAD, $100 USD) from ATMs and plan on using the card pretty frequently, it is worth considering the Revolut Premium (€7.99, £6.99, $9.99 USD, $10.99 AUD per month) or Revolut Metal (€13.99, £12.99, $16.99 USD, $24.99 AUD per month) account options with higher limits.
Transfer money: Wise is cheaper if you plan to transfer money to anyone else (especially outside of Europe where 3rd party banks can take a healthy cut—Wise often eliminates through local bank accounts)
Weekend exchange: If you need to transfer money at the weekends, Wise is cheaper.
If not, and you find you regularly use the card for ATM withdrawals and also weekend transfers, you will need both a Revolut and a Wise to achieve the optimal reduction in fees.
Wise currently allows you to hold and convert money in 54 currencies and you can send money to more than 80 countries (see the full list here).
You can only add money in 19+ currencies, so if you need to hold AED, BDT, CLP, CRC, EGP, HKD, GEL, IDR, ILS, INR, KES, MXN, LKR, NGN, NPR, MAD, MYR, PEN, PHP, PKR, RUB, THB, UAH, VND, ZAR, or CNY, you will need to add funds from your bank account and then convert to these currencies.
You can get local bank account numbers for ten currencies—GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, NZD, SGD, CAD, HUF, RON and TRY—allowing you to get “paid like a local”.
Revolut, on the other hand, allows you to hold and convert money in these 30+ currencies: AED, AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HRK, HUF, ILS, ISK, JPY, MAD, MXN, NOK, NZD, PLN, QAR, RON, RSD, RUB, SAR, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, USD, ZAR.
You can pay using your card and make ATM withdrawals in over 140 currencies wherever Mastercard and Visa are accepted.
There are a handful of unsupported currencies, including: ZWD, CKD, KID, PND, TVD, AMD, FOK, ERN, BTN, EHP, CUC, SHP, GGP, JEP, IMP, SDG, SYP, IRR, PRB, SOS, KPW and the website makes it clear that more currencies will be added soon.
Finally, with Revolut, you can transfer money to your accounts via bank transfer in the following 28 currencies: AED, AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HRK, HUF, ILS, JPY, MXN, NOK, NZD, PLN, RUB, QAR, RON, SAR, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, USD, ZAR.
Winner: Both (for different reasons)
Again, the winner depends on what you would like to use your account for. Both Wise and Revolut have strengths and weaknesses depending on your requirements:
For spending and withdrawal: Revolut supports more currencies than Wise, and you can spend or withdraw in most of them at the interbank exchange rate.
For receiving money (see Receiving Accounts below): Wise enables you to get paid as if you had a bank account in ten currencies, while Revolut has a UK and a Euro account only.
For money transfers to others (see Ways to Send Money below): Revolut enables 31 supported fiat currencies to a bank account. Wise on the other hand enables over 50 fiat currencies to be sent.
5. Ways to Send Money
With Wise, you can send money either from your bank account (paying with a credit/debit card or bank/SWIFT transfer) or send money deposited in your Multi Currency account, by setting up a transfer.
It may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days for the recipient to receive the money.
Revolut allows you to send money either to another Revolut user or to a bank.
In the first circumstance, you can send money from the app to any Revolut user by simply saving their phone number on your device and selecting the right recipient when making the transfer.
Sending money to a bank account is similar to sending money from any mobile banking app—simple and intuitive.
Revolut to Revolut transfers are instant.
Bank transfers within the UK usually take minutes. In the rest of the world, you can expect the recipient to receive the money in less than a day, although in some cases it can take a few days.
Send money for free and instantly between Europe, the US, Singapore, Japan, Australia and beyond and with Revolut you can transfer in 28+ currencies, or in commodities or cryptocurrencies.
Revolut gives you various possibilities to send money, and the transfers are quicker than with Wise—but Wise supports more currencies for international transfers.
6. Receiving Accounts
Through its Multi Currency account, Wise gives local bank account details in GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, NZD, SGD, CAD, HUF, and TRY and allows you to receive money from over 30 countries for free.
Revolut offers its users local bank details in GBP and EUR, as well as SWIFT accounts for another 28 currencies. Receiving money in all these accounts is free as long as you don’t exceed your monthly plan allowance for local or international transfers.
You will be charged £0.2 per transfer for each local transfer you send or receive above your plan’s allowance and £3 per international transfer above your allowance.
Wise offers more local bank accounts and receiving transfers is free regardless of how much money you receive, except for USD. For USD wire transfers, you will be charged a flat rate of $7.50. ACH transfers are free.
The Wise Debit Mastercard is linked to the Multi currency account. You can use it to make payments and withdraw money wherever Mastercard is accepted. The card is enabled for contactless payments.
You can use the Wise debit card to spend in the local currency wherever you are in the world, as long as the place accepts Mastercard or Visa.
You can spend in any currency. Wise applies a commission of between 0.35 and 1% (you can check the exact fees here) when you convert your money from one currency to another at the mid-market.
There are some other costs associated with the Wise Debit card:
- Order a Wise debit card: £5 Replacement card: £3
- Spend in currencies in your account: Free
- First 2 ATM withdrawals up to £200 / month: Free
- ATM withdrawals over £200/ month: 1.75%
- Over 2 ATM withdrawals / month: £0.50 / withdrawal
If you need more than £200 GBP, €200 EUR, $1200 USD, $350 AUD cash from ATMs and plan on using the card pretty frequently, it is worth comparing the Premium or Metal account options with higher limits.
Revolut offers four types of card, depending on the account you have:
- Standard plastic card for the Standard Account
- Customisable plastic card for the Plus Account
- Exclusive card designs for the Premium Account
- Metal card for the Metal Account
They can be either Visa or Mastercard, depending on your country of residence, and can be used wherever Visa or Mastercard are accepted. All cards are enabled for contactless payments and all cards are pre-paid.
There are some other costs associated with the Revolut card:
- Order your first Revolut card: Free + delivery fee
- Virtual Revolut Cards: Free
- Replacement card: £5 + delivery fee
- Spend in currencies in your account: Free
- First 2 ATM withdrawals up to £200 / month: Free
- Up to 5 ATM withdrawals or up to £200 / month: Free
- Over 5 ATM withdrawals or more than £200 / month: 2%, subject to a minimum fee of £1 per withdrawal
As well as physical cards, Revolut also offers virtual cards with some unique features. You can create up to 20 personal and 200 business virtual cards inside the app. They work exactly like a physical card except they only work online.
You can create single-use virtual cards to allow you to make one-off payments without needing to cancel the card immediately. Both virtual and physical cards can be managed within the app.
Revolut offers more choice when it comes to the types of cards and the virtual cards do make it easier to make purchases safely online. However, the fees for using the Revolut card in an ATM are higher.
If you intend to use your card mainly online, Revolut is the better choice. Alternatively, if you do multiple ATM withdrawals, go with Wise.
8. Cool Features (Revolut)
Wise does not offer many additional features. You can use your Wise card with Apple Pay but that’s about it.
Revolut on the other hand offers a lot of value-added extras (for a price).
- Cryptocurrencies and Precious Metals: Instant access to 5 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and XRP (for Premium and Metal memberships), as well as gold, silver and precious metals. You can start investing from just $1, although each plan has its own limits.
- Vault: Based on the concept of saving accounts, Revolut’s Vault is a way to save money towards your goals. You can choose to round up your transaction and deposit the spare change, set up recurring payments, or make a one-off contribution. You won’t get interest, but it’s a nice way of saving.
- Budgeting features: You can limit your spending by setting up monthly budgets within the app.
- Lounge pass: Made for travellers, you can buy airport lounge passes when you have to wait between flights if you’re a Premium or Metal member.
- Revolut Rewards: Currently available for selected countries only, it’s a reward program that wins you instant cashback for various brand purchases.
- Phone insurance: The insurance offers instant accidental damage coverage from £1/week.
- Pay-per-Day travel medical insurance: By using geolocation technology, Revolut charges you £1/day only on those days when you are abroad for medical and dental coverage, provided by Revolut Travel Limited.
- Apple Pay: You can save your Revolut card and make payments via Apple Pay. Google Pay is currently available to selected users in the UK and Europe, and it will soon be launched for everyone.
- Donations: If you want to support your causes, you can do so easily with Revolut’s Donations. You can either round up spare change and donate the difference, set up recurring payments, or make a one-off donation.
- Recurring payments: Easy to set up and cancel at any time.
- Direct debit: You can set up direct debit payments to pay for your bills or purchases.
- Loans: Currently available to UK residents up to £5000 and in Lithuania up to €15,000.
- Concierge: Only for Metal members, it allows you to hire a concierge to book tickets, find flights, restaurants, hotels, and more.
- Linked accounts: Connect all your external bank accounts to Revolut with Open Banking and discover seamless spending control.
- Budgeting planner: See how much you spend, add spending goals, and analyse your spending by category.
- Junior account: A Junior account designed for kids, controlled by you. Help them build healthy money habits.
- Pockets: Create and fund pockets for recurring bills, so your remaining account balance can be spent—guilt-free!
- Group bills: Track, split and settle multiple expenses between friends and family. Do it all in one centralised place, instantly.
- Here are the latest Revolut pricing plans
This one is a no brainer. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles, Wise isn’t the account for you.
On the other hand, Revolut offers a wealth of additional services to standard, premium, and metal users.
However, the real question is would you use them and find them valuable?
9. REAL Reviews (inc. Negative Ones)
Both Wise and Revolut offer intuitive and super-easy online solutions, with overall positive user experiences. To compare the two services, we consulted public opinion on TrustPilot.
Wise is praised by its users, scoring over 117,000 reviews and an impressive 4.6 star rating. 85% of the users voted Wise as Excellent, 8% Great, 2% Average, 1% Poor and 4% Bad.
The negative reviews follow these common themes:
- Poor customer service experience
- Transfers being blocked for review
- Accounts were disabled and closed “for no reason”
From our personal experience, transfer delays and temporary blocks are quite infrequent, but they are easy to solve by contacting the customer service team by phone, email, or chat.
Revolut has 80,000 reviews with a slightly lower TrustPilotstar rating at 4.3. Revolut is 4 years younger than Wise which could explain why it has fewer reviews.
76% of its customers judged it to be Excellent, 11% Great, 3% Poor, and 9% Bad. While a 4.3 overall rating is nothing to be scoffed at, Revolut does have nearly 10% fewer Excellent reviews and nearly double the Bad.
Again, there appear to be similarities within the negative reviews:
- Poor experience with customer service including claims of a whopping 6 hour wait for live chat
- Accounts have been disabled, suspended or put on hold for no apparent reason
- Extra fee on transfers and charges to close account
Most people complain about the lack of customer support—resulting from the chat function misuse rather than actual lack of support—and frozen accounts, which we discussed in our Revolut review.
Regarding the first complaint, Revolut utilises artificial intelligence (a bot) to solve minor issues. If you want to speak to an operator, just type Live Agent, and you’ll be transferred immediately.
Regarding frozen accounts, while they can be more than annoying, they are triggered by regulations worldwide that require banks and financial institutions to place temporary holds on accounts if suspicious activity is detected.
This is a complaint with Wise too, but as Wise doesn’t offer as many banking features as Revolut, it is less frequently used for everyday banking needs and therefore this problem likely occurs less often.
Wise has more and better reviews on TrustPilot. However, a large part of the difference may be due to Wise not having as many features—ones you might want—and also having been in business longer.
10. Customer Service
Wise has an extensive help section with comprehensive guides that point you towards solving most issues. Unless you want specific account-related help, you will likely be able to find an article that answers your question.
If you do need to contact the customer service team, you can do so via email, phone, or live chat on the website, or inside the app.
The live chat function is open from 7 AM to 8 PM UK time on weekdays only—however, it seems to randomly appear and disappear based on how busy the team is.
When you first hop onto live chat, you’ll be welcomed by an automated message stating your expected wait time. I’ve found it to be accurate and quick, just 3-5 minutes wait in my case.
Revolut also impresses with an extensive help section that can answer all possible questions without ever needing to contact support in person.
That said, if you do need to talk to someone, you can contact the support team from your app via chat 24/7. Premium and Metal plan users receive a priority service on live chat.
The chat is initiated by Rita the bot, and you can always type Live Agent to be transferred to an operator. Rita provides an estimated wait time (1 hour for me) and directs you to the Help Documentation while you wait.
Besides the chat, you can also join the Revolut community or contact them via social media.
Both Wise and Revolut offer excellent customer service and support, but Wise has better options and (in my experience) a far quicker response time to messages.
Wise vs Revolut: Who Wins?
We’ve taken an in-depth look at both Revolut and Wise and covered all of the important benefits including how to send and receive money, the currencies included, and the main fees. We’ve also covered the value-added benefits like saving vaults, Apple Pay, and so on.
You should have a good idea of how suitable each one is for your specific situation and, more than likely, depending on your individual use-case, you will have easily identified the one that’s a clear winner for you.
But, to the all-important question—which one is better?
Before we give our verdict, let’s summarise the main advantages and disadvantages of each of these services:
- Quick and cheap transfers
- Low and transparent fees
- 50 countries supported
- Multi currency card
- Local bank accounts
- Wise card is available in UK, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand
- Processing times can vary based on your country and currency
- Only spot transfers supported
- Fast and free transfers
- Transparent fees
- 33 countries supported
- Virtual cards
- Insurance options
- Multi currency card
- Various membership options
- Instant processing of all transfers
- Recurring payments
- Direct debit payments
- More expensive during weekends
- Currently, only available in Europe and Australia
Let’s try to simplify your choice.
Based on this extensive review, and our own experience using both over many years, the Wise multicurrency account is the better better option if it does everything you want. It is also available in more countries (check) – so it might be your only option.
Frequent travellers based in Europe or the UK might prefer Revolut for its Cool Features (above) and comparing the Premium or Metal (new tab) account options to get these cool features.
However if you need to transfer money, earn or pay people in different currencies Wise is most likely to work better for you.
Revolut as has far more options in terms of saving money and trading stocks or crypto although this is limited to UK and some European countries. If you are interested in Revolut as an everyday option to your high street bank you might find the paid plans work best in terms of flexibility and fees.
Which is the best service is ultimately up to you. Both are awesome—it all depends on your needs and country of residence.
Which one will you choose?