"Real" exchange rates: Revolut doesn't live up to its promise


Hi there

I live in Kenya and would love to use my Revolut card for my day-to-day spending.

While in the FAQ no markups are mentioned with regard to the Kenyan Shilling (KES), I have been observing a constant 1.5-1.6% markup on the interbank exchange rates vis-à-vis EUR and CHF.

Today, on a Sunday, the markup is a whopping 2.2% (which would be at least more or less consistent with the usual 0.5% weekend markup).

Again, as the KES is not mentioned in the list of “illiquid” currencies such as UAH, RUB and THB, I do not understand this steep mark-up for the KES.

Can somebody at Revolut explain these exchange rates? Frankly, I get a better rate with my local bank!

Another weekend markup joke by Revolut. EUR with 2,7% markup. This is ridicolous!!!
High BGN related FX rates

Since rates depend on the vendor (which is Morning Star for Revolut), it’s totally plausible that a big bank in a certain area that exchanges a given currency in larger volume gets better rates. There is more than one market maker for FX similar to how the same stock can have different prices at diffent stock exchanges.

This might explain what you are experiencing.


Fair enough, but my point is the unexplained markup of 1.5-2.2% slapped on the KES-EUR rate by Revolut.

@JessicaZ, what does Revolut have to say about this?



Same thing for PLN rates.
Funny enough, PLN is now considered a “main” or “major” currency with .5% markup against other “main” currencies.
Today’s markup been 2.2% and has been updated mid-weekend.

Can someone from Revolut team look at this please? At last?


There is a regular weekend mark up, which is also officially communicated by Revolut.
Check again on a normal working day.


Since when is the markup over 2% an appropriate one for PLN/EUR or PLN/USD?


USD/PLN just now got bumped up to 0.2800… it’s still way before midnight UK time.

Revolut, you really may wish to get your policy straight on the weekend rates please!

As long as it works in a predictable way, I actually prefer to stay with PLN and just pay a little markup for the sake of convenience and having a real time rate. But the way it worked today is just ridiculous and completely unpredictable.


@Ripotot, as I wrote in my first post, the high markup on KES is a consistent pattern I have been observing over the last six months.

Today (Monday), the markup on KES/EUR is 1.6%.


Hey @GFL_Money

Can you send me a DM with your phone number linked to your account so that we can investigate what’s going on?

TransferWise vs. Revolut: A Swiss perspective

Weekend update:

KES|CHF as per xe.com - 100.5768
KES|CHF on Revolut - 97.7149

Markup is 2.8%


Why do we never get any official comment on that? It can’t be that hard to explain such a thing, it’s really disappointing…


Dear @AndreasK

How is your investigation progressing? The following picture illustrates the big markup on Kenyan Shillings. The current rate is way below both low/high for the day… this should not be possible in a world of perfect interbank rates.


Calm down man! Don’t be so sarcastic with a free service. Plus what you have posted here proves nothing. You see mid market rate and Revolut provides bid.


I agree, especially since your graph is not EUR/KES but CHF/KES and EUR/CHF moved a lot over the past week…


Same here:


Again, you’re checking mid market rate. It’s not the same as the interbank rate.


I’m not being sarcastic. When Revolut charges you >2% mark-up on the “real” exchange rate it’s not a free service anymore. Then we’re talking about hidden fees, while Revolut’s marketing is all about transparency and no fees.

While for major currency pairs Revolut gives you exactly what you call the mid market rate, for more exotic currencies (like the KES in my example) Revolut applies a markup of >2%. Such a markup is not mentioned in the FAQ and therefore not transparent. That’s why I have asked Revolut for clarification on the rates they apply.

I would love to hear from Revolut about this. I’m now with TransferWise. They use what you call again the mid market rate (the one you would find on xe.com) while applying a constant markup of 0.7%. Much more transparent and even cheaper than Revolut.

To sum up: Based on the information provided by Revolut you would not expect to loose more than 2% of your money when exchanging EUR to KES (it’s almost 3% on the weekend). So far, Revolut has not been willing or able to explain what rates they use.


TW explains it: they are using a mid market rate. The rate Revolut is referring to when using the term interbank is always either a buy or sell rate. Both sides argue that their rates are „real“, and both are kind of right. I am tempted to say interbank buy / sell rates are more realistic or real than mid market rates because they reflect better the reality of interbank FX trading.


I am not trying to answer the question about what makes more sense here, I am just sorting the nomenclature. Mid market is easier to understand and more consumer friendly, but it‘s also a little bit misleading when TW implies that interbank rate and mid market are the same. Usually, the term interbank rate referrs to a market where currencies are traded with a spread. Like the stock market.

When using Revolut, you can ask this question, for example:

How many GBP do I need to buy XYZ JPY? So for a GBP to JPY exchange, the app would show you the buy rate.


I would suggest that if you buy EUR/USD you’ll have to pay what is currently asked for and if you sell EUR/USD you need to bid a price someone wants to pay. Thus, from the two current prices (buy / sell, bid / ask) you always have to use the worse one for the transaction. From my amateurish understanding, the mid-market rate is just something artificial, like an average of bid and sell. Thus, the mid-markt rate is not “real”, because it’s not the rate some other party is currently willing to accept for a transaction. Since it is not real, R will not give you that rate as they would make loss this way.