Result of test/comparison of FX rates across 4 MasterCards including Revolut

In Brazil on Friday 20th January, I paid BRL 50 to a hotel 4 times using 4 different no-fee MasterCards, including Revolut, as a test to see which cards give the best rate. I then used the card with the best rate to pay the rest of the hotel bill.

The GBP amounts were as follows:
£12.76 Revolut using contactless
£12.77 Santander Zero credit card using Apple Pay
£12.77 Halifax Clarity credit card using Apple Pay
£12.68 Supercard using chip & PIN, recharged to an airmiles-earning Visa card

It is important to note that while Revolut and Supercard used live rates, both Santander and Halifax used MasterCard’s daily rate probably on the following Monday or Tuesday when the transaction was processed.

It is encouraging that Revolut was slightly better than the worst two cards, but unfortunately it was 0.63% more expensive than the cheapest card.


if you didnt do the payment at the exact same time, the exchange rate could have varied considerably.
also, was there any extra fees?

was this during weekdays or on the weekend (where @revolut has a 0.5% fee) ?

@FernandoMiguel - I work in the FX industry and I can confirm that the market wasn’t moving in the few seconds between the transactions. In any case, 0.63% would be a significant move in a few seconds.

And no, there were no extra fees on any of the cards. I deliberately did the test on a working day at a time when both GBP and BRL were liquid, which is why I mentioned above that it was on a Friday.

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Thanks @NFH. How did you get live rates on Supercard? Their website says: “Transactions in currencies other than British Pounds Sterling will be converted using the applicable MasterCard® wholesale exchange rate set by MasterCard on the date the transaction is processed (which may be different from the rate on the date that the actual transaction took place)”

Very good question. I believe that Supercard’s web site needs to be updated. Back in July when Supercard launched publicly, they were doing all kinds of weird things. But Supercard now confirms the final GBP amount in real time with a push notification, just like Revolut does.

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MasterCard’s official currency converter confirms the GBP 12.77. And it’s 12.74 the following Monday. Does that suggest your payment was processed with Halifax and Santander the same Friday?

Historic rates for Jan. 20th: GBP 12,71
and for Jan. 23th: 12,644

I know, there is not the interbank rate. Could it be that it’s hard to generalize her? One day, the difference between MasterCard rates and Revolut will be small, and bigger the next day? One day this “interbank rate card” will be better, the next day the other?

[quote=“Frank, post:6, topic:4292”]
MasterCard’s official currency converter confirms the GBP 12.77. And it’s 12.74 the following Monday. Does that suggest your payment was processed with Halifax and Santander the same Friday?[/quote]
It certainly looks that way. There’s no technical reason why the rate can’t be fixed the same day, even though we all know from experience that it’s usually a day or even two later with a conventional credit card.

The wholesale interbank rate for a day is not a single rate, but a range with a high and low over a 24-hour period, running from 5pm NY to 5pm NY. Therefore quoting a single rate from sources like is meaningless.

Do we know who is providing the real time data for the in-app conversion calculator of the Revolut app?

I doubt anyone is providing mere “real time data”. Revolut no doubt has a liquidity provider, probably a large investment bank, which provides a trading facility with live streaming prices on which Revolut can trade in any amount. Working in eFX myself, I would put money on it being Barclays, but I might be wrong.

Wait, what is Supercard?

It closed down on 24th July 2017. A full explanation is here:

Curve is now offering something similar by abolishing its former 1% FX charge.

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