Travelling to USA - couple of Questions


#1

hi there!

Not used my Revolut card much to date, but off to the US soon, so hoping that Revolut will be a more cost effective solution. Just a couple of questions hopefully will help me on my way & make sure Im using it as efficiently as possible!

  1. I have Sterling £ in my Revolut account. do I need to exchange any of it to USD?
  2. Can I withdraw USD from cash machines in the US? Do I first need to exchange the £ using the app, or does it happen automatically?
  3. How much can i withdraw using my Revolut card?
    4.If I just use my Revolut card as a Mastercard in the US, do I first need to exchange the £ to $ using the app first, or does it just happen automatically at whatever the rate is at that time?

Thanks!


#2

I’d be interested to know the answer to this, too. In the more general sense, I guess the question is - is there a way (or a planned feature) for being able to pull from foreign currencies at POS rather than pre-transferring a specific amount over?

I have both a personal and business account, and especially for the biz account, it’d be useful to have charges come out of GBP when there’s not an active balance elsewhere.

Is that what currently happens? Or is it simply a decline?

Thanks in advance.


#3

Actually, looking at this comment, it seems that if the foreign balance is zero, it will do the exchange on the fly. Cool!


#4

I suggest you both study the FAQs. :wink: They have plenty of useful tips there about how to use the card in the US and elsewhere. And how conversion on the fly works, what the limits are and what are the fees one might run into.


#5

Thanks @Frank, I will. Admittedly, I saw this post before I looked through the FAQ, so I thought it worth chiming in before I forgot to research. Cheers though for your response in the other thread- very helpful.


#6

thanks for your replies.

I think the FAQs dont really go into the right level of detail - they arent as bad as a banks set of terms & conditions, but they dont give specific use cases for common ways to get the best out of Revolut as a product…

For example I would expect to see an FAQ how best to use your Revolut card in the USA, describing do I need an account in £ or $ as well. What are the recommended ATMs to use to access free withdrawals etc.

Once Im back I will write one and post it on this forum.


#7

You can search this forum for USA travel tips :slight_smile:

And no, you don’t have to convert money and hold them in “local” currencies to profit from Revolut’s rates when spending with the card. When spending with the card, money will be converted on the fly using the same rates as when one would convert it in the app. (I believe that’s covered in the FAQs?)


#8

There are a lot of things covered in the FAQs.

But it doesnt cover specific use cases. I would expect to see one saying “Im going to the USA, what do i need to do” kind of thing - which lays it out very clearly as you have done “you don’t have to convert money and hold them in “local” currencies to profit from Revolut’s rates when spending with the card. When spending with the card, money will be converted on the fly using the same rates as when one would convert it in the app” or “Use Wells Fargo ATMs as they wont charge you a fee for using their services”


#9

I see your point but I also see the potential hassle to keep such a wiki up to date. Most of the informations are the same for all countries, always, like how Revolut withdraws money from different wallets depending on local currencies, base currencies, et cetera. And other things are local, like ATM fees or how the card works with public transport in in London. And its difficult: In the US, for example, ATMs in rural areas might not have a surcharge, while ATMs form the same bank in Manhattan have. Last time I checked, most major banks in Manhattan agreed on 3 USD fee, while ATMs at other places where free.

Another example: I remember a discussion here in this forum about the ticket machines for New York subway: the machine might ask for a ZIP code. People reported it worked without entering one. Other people said, 00000 did the trick. While others said that didn’t work, they entered 99999. (I myself was able to buy tickets without entering a ZIP.) What‘s that about? Different types of machines? Is it because of different card issuers with Revolut? Did the company in New York change their machine programming?

Or car rentals. Avis has a general rule not to accept prepaid cards, as far as I know. But if users are able to convince the guy behind the counter, it does work if there are sufficient funds for the security deposit on the card if the Avis guy uses an online terminal. Such a deposit can be surprisingly high depending on the car and on the tariff (lower deposit if the tariff already covers damages via insurance for example). I can see that car rentals would be a topic of interest for many customers traveling to the US, but it’s really difficult to generalize and give simple advice. Its kind of an endless list of “it depends”.

When new Revolut users ask basic things I often like to refer them to the FAQs and I recommend to read them fully. Because Revolut is in many ways different than the card people are used to. And I think it helps if people have read what to do in case one looses a phone on a trip before going on that trip since Revolut is a mobile only product for now. (And some seemed surprised that its linked to a phone number.) And I think the FAQs contain many informations people would not have thought about. Myself included, of course.

So I would find a more comprehensive wiki style database useful, of course. But I can see the potential hassle to keep this up do date, and to cover all the different problems people run into that are sometimes general, and sometimes very specific. And I can see the anger of users when they get very specific informations and then it does not work like mentioned because a merchant changed sth. or Citibank introduced a surcharge in San Francisco in the meantime. And lots of situations aren’t specific to Revolut, they happen with cards from other issuers as well.

(Sorry for this long opinion piece. I hope you enjoy your card in the US like I did. But I also would never travel to any place and rely only on one card.)


#10

Hi there.

You can exchange £ to $ before your trip, that way when you make payments in the U.S. it will deduct from your USD balance. If you don’t have USD on your account, the card automatically converts into the local currency at the real exchange rate so you don’t have to worry about it. It depends on you whether you would like to exchange before your trip.

You can withdraw from ATMs in the U.S. Please make sure to always opt for a ‘checking’ or ‘savings’ account and ALWAYS choose to complete the transaction ‘without conversion.’ Otherwise the merchant or ATM provider can apply their own exchange rate. Cash withdrawals from ATMs are limited to £500 or equivalent per day.

As stated in the FAQ, you should keep in mind that when you withdraw funds from a Travelex ATM, Travelex will convert your money using their own exchange rate.


#11

Thanks @jessicaszabla.

Just curious about the following edge-case:

What happens if, say, a transaction is for $100 but there’s only $50 in the USD account? Will it withdraw $50 from the USD account and automatically convert the remaining $50 from GBP… or bypass the USD account entirely, and convert the whole amount from GBP?


#12

From FAQ’s

What balance will my Revolut card use when I am abroad?
Your Revolut account can hold a balance in GBP, EUR, USD, PLN, CHF, SEK, NOK, DKK, RON, AUD, NZD, SGD, HKD, ILS, TRY, AED, CAD, HUF, INR, JPY, MAD, MXN, QAR, THB, and ZAR. The card selects which balance to use in the following order:

*The local currency of the merchant/ATM e.g. if you are in Spain, it will deduct funds from your Euro balance.

*Your base currency - i.e. if you used a UK address to sign-up, your base currency will be GBP.

*Your largest balance.

You need to have sufficient funds in one single balance in order to make a transaction. If you don’t have enough funds in the balance of the local currency, it will default to your next largest balance and so on.

That should answer your question.


#13

Thanks @TonyP, but the FAQ still reads as ambiguous to me:

You need to have sufficient funds in one single balance in order to make a transaction. If you don’t have enough funds in the balance of the local currency, it will default to your next largest balance and so on.

Imagine the following scenario:

You have $50 in your USD account, and £50 in your GBP (~$67.)

You attempt a charge for $100.

Does the charge get accepted, or declined?

Two possible outcomes:

  • It’s accepted. Neither balance alone is sufficient to cover the charge, but the two balances combined are. $50 is drawn from the USD account, and the remaining $50 (~£37) is converted and drawn from the GBP.

  • It’s declined. The system isn’t smart enough to discern that across all balances, the charge can be covered, and so merely rejects it.

Knowing the answer to this isn’t just a thought experiment. It fundamentally affects how I will use and interact with Revolut.

For example, if the latter scenario is correct, then it would generally be less useful for me to transfer funds into alternative currencies ahead of time. Keeping an active balance in one major currency, such as GBP, would be more likely.

It will also affect how I account for transactions. If there’s a 1:1 ratio between charges and individual statement line items, fine. If the former situation is the way the system works, then there could be multiple transactions from 2 or more different currency balances that ‘part pay’ toward the charge. In which case, when it comes time to implementing the API (which is a big reason I opted for Revolut for Business in the first place), that will fundamentally change how I classify a ‘transaction’.

Hopefully, if the latter situation is the current, the former will be one that is considered later on. It would be annoying to carry the same physical balance, but get a declined response in one instance and an accepted in another.


#14

But the text also contains the above sentence which I think answers your question clearly.
If you don’t have enough funds in one single balance the transaction will be declined.
So in your case above - it’s declined.


Allow split-balance transactions
#15

ok, thanks @TonyP. I’ll copy the text over to the Ideas section.