Interbank Rate vs Mastercard Rate. TransferWise Borderless Debit Card


We all know that interbank rate is better than Mastercard’s but do we really know exactly by how much in percentage terms? Has anyone come across any trustful comparison between these two over a period of time?

I have recently seen this on the Money Guide Ireland:

Now, TransferWise exchange fees start from 0.35% and can be over 4% for UAH on top of interbank rate. The article mentions 0.25% Mastercard’s mark-up for USD/EUR. It would be quite safe to assume that MC’s mark-up’s for other major currency pairs are on comparable level.

In this case, how good Transferwise Borderless debit card is for an average traveller, who just want to use their card for payments and withdrawals abroad is not interested in having Australian or American bank account, etc. It seems that Starling, Monzo, N26 and other fintech’s using Mastercard’s rate for foreign purchases and withdrawals would be cheaper than TransferWise!


N26 - only euro and EU zone and UK
Starling, Monzo - only UK residents.

TransferWise - a lot of other countries. That’s the deal…


That’s a really interesting observation. However, as previously explained, Revolut applies this weekend mark up because the markets are closed, protecting ourselves as a company against the risk of sudden fluctuation. Of course in many cases, as the rates change, our rates will be significantly better than our competitors where in other cases, we provide less favourable rates. Undoubtedly, during the week days Revolut offers better exchange rates, which you can “lock” at a specific price by exchanging beforehand, avoiding the mark up. No other service can give you this option to ensure the rate you get.


But you won’t get Mastercard if you are not EU resident. At least for now. They will move to some bigger countries in a year or two.


EEA is bigger than EU eurozone (N26).


@AndreasK it is beyond any doubt that Revolut offers the best overall value.

To the TransferWise Borderless MasterCard. The question stands: Is it more expensive to use abroad for payments/withdrawals with their exchange fees on top of interbank rate compared to Mastercard from Starling, Monzo or N26?

It would appear so if the graph provided by Andreas can be used as reliable enough to make a judgement. Monzo comes ahead of TW in the comparison. The question is if the data used is the average from a prolonged period of time or picked up on just one day?


I definitely love Revolut :slight_smile: But I used CurrencyFair ( They are using TransferWise ) during years and the rates differences were not as big as indicated in @AndreasK picture :frowning:


The transferwise borderless account definitely can.


The graph is from one specific time on one specific day (11.40am on September 19 2017).


I don’t question the value that TransferWise brings to the table in money transfers’ market, especially for non European customers.

My question is: Is TransferWise Borderless account with their debit card providing value for money if using their card abroad is more expensive than using Monzo/Starling/N26 Mastercard?


Yes, their fx is more expensive than N26, etc.

However with Transferwise you can keep balances in multiple currencies, you get personal local account details for 5 currencies and they have far less problems than either Revolut or N26 (personal experience) and their support is very good, thorough and is available in multiple languages


This is what I wanted to find out. Your other points are valid as well and I generally agree with them but this time I only wanted to find out about their Borderless debit card cost vs MasterCard’s for overseas use.


Most of the time, it seems that Revolut is the cheapest option, followed by MasterCard, followed by TransferWise, particularly for major currencies. I have seen times, though, where any of the three were cheapest. If you just want to take your pounds/euros and spend them in a different currency, then Revolut (on weekdays) or a fee-free MasterCard is normally the cheapest method.


I see TW as a currency exchange platform and Revolut more as a day to day bank with great currency exchange rates and hype stuffs ( vaults, cards, cryptos… )


to me transferwise is for fast inexpensive international transfers while revolut is for currency exchanges, international purchases and, travel money.


Why would you use TW for currency conversion? It’s the most expensive option


Are you sure TW is the most expensive option?


there are MANY a lot more expensive than transferwise, but revolut is cheaper… but slower, and riskier


TW takes the interbank rates and puts a fee on top of it, Revolut just uses the interbank rate with no fee, so of course it’s cheaper… Except on weekends

I’ve personally compared them multiple times and Revolut always came cheaper. The exception is some more obscure currencies that don’t have much volume in fx markets


I recently registered for a TW account because I was interested how they do things. I must say their iOS app is very polished and the registration experience was a lot less painful than Revolut, especially the “verify your identity part.”

Telling from the short timespan I used TW, it seems to me that EVERYTHING you can do there costs a fee (I may be doing something wrong here, so a Layer-8-problem is totally possible)


  • regular SEPA transfer from EUR to EUR (i.e. no currency conversion whatsoever) -> 60 cents
  • fee also for GBP to GBP transfers with local GBP accounts
  • exchanging money between currencies in the app itself (e.g. from EUR to USD) -> fee, depending on the amount you exchange

From that experience alone, I can tell that I will not use TW in the same way as Revolut, because everything costs.
The only use case I found for me, is exchanging money during weekends when Revolut is adding their “protection fee” because markets are closed.