BBC Radio 4 Money Box about prepaid cards

On Saturday 6th July 2019, BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme did a 6-minute report about prepaid cards in the UK, focussing particularly on travel prepaid cards. Some of the charges mentioned are absurd. I don’t understand why consumers use these other prepaid cards, when Revolut has existed for 4 years without any such charges.

Don’t be confused by the title, because the report about prepaid cards is at the beginning:

The only problem mentioned in the report that applies also to Revolut is when amounts are blocked after an authorisation that doesn’t ever turn into a genuine charge. I believe that Revolut might handle these better than other prepaid cards, releasing the funds relatively quickly in some cases.


most “travel card” out there are scams. it’s a pity :r: card is tagged as prepaid and the weekend markup upsets me a lot, but it’s still way better than any of those currency cards.

debit cards have the same problem getting funds temporarily blocked though.


The workaround weekend markup, are convert currency in the app on friday, and convert back again on monday

The weekend markup problem occurs only when the transaction currency isn’t supported as a balance currency. There is no workaround.

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You’re sure that there is no mark up on Thai Bhat?

True. There’s a weekday markup on THB and UAH, even during FX markets’ trading hours. I’m pleased to see that it has been removed on RUB though. But the weekend markup problem is only on non-balance currencies.


Me too as I plan on visiting Russia at some point.

For what it’s worth though even with a 0.5-1.5% markup on Revolut’s rates at times - they still beat things like WeSwap.

Surprised Martin Lewis isn’t preaching by Revolut and Tandem/Halifax Clarity (or maybe one of the more expensive Amex cards?)

Martin Lewis often recommends Revolut, Halifax Clarity for non-GBP spending and American Express for GBP spending.

Paul Lewis, on the other hand, is the presenter of BBC Money Box.

I’ve seen him recommend Halifax Clarity and WeSwap for foreign spending and then Amex for GBP spending. Never Revolut - not actually seen a mention of Revolut recently whereas he’s heavy pushed Monzo and Starling despite similar offerings

monzo and starling are banks, with proper debit cards, and good customer support.

Monzo have a proper card but they’re certainly not kings of a good products or good customer support :slight_smile:

they are far from great, but I wouldn’t regret recommending them. It’s hard to recommend Revolut without disclaimer and a long list of buts.

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I would personally recommend Revolut over Monzo every time, their support is about even and Revolut has a better product.

I would likely recommend Starling over both of the aforementioned though - unless you’re able to get an international EUR/USD denominated AMEX card.

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Monzo = UK only (at least now).
So, meh.
Revolut wins :+1:

the whole discuss was pretty much UK centric though

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You mean 0.5% in EUR, and supporte currency

What foreign exchange rate will I get?

The interbank exchange rate is the dynamic rate at which banks swap currencies between one another. It is a real-time rate, which is why it is constantly changing in our app and website. We receive these rates from third parties, such as Morningstar and Currencycloud.

If you exchange currencies on weekdays (Mon-Fri UTC) you will receive the interbank exchange rate without any markup on all currencies except for Thai Baht and Ukrainian Hryvnia where there’s a 1% markup, with a small 0.5% fee for anything above 41640.57kr each month .

On the weekend (Sat-Sun London time) the provided rates are fixed to protect against fluctuations, this means there are markups of:

  • +0.5% to all major currencies (ie. USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF, JPY, SEK, HKD, NOK, SGD, DKK, PLN, and CZK); and
  • +1% to all other currencies including THB and UAH. (this means over the weekend THB and UAH have a 2% markup.)

Since the interbank exchange rate is constantly fluctuating, the rates locked in for the weekend may not be the same as the rates that are available when the markets open on Monday morning.

@Hup, why have you posted this information? It doesn’t prove or disprove anything that was said previously.