Many of you ask us if currency exchange offices are more advantageous than bank cards. Our objective is to gather all the data that will allow us to answer you in the most reliable way possible according to the different cases. In the meantime, here is a decryption of the 2.0 bank cards!
Bank fees abroad are very expensive, even if you are not aware of them. Depending on your bank, and the offers you have subscribed to, these hidden commissions (withdrawal, payment and exchange fees) reduce your travel budget without you noticing.
Since recently, there are fintechs, 100% digital banks that allow you to manage all your transactions on your smartphone.
But how do you choose your fintech bank? Which one is more profitable according to your travel habits?
What is the difference between a fintech and online banking?
Do not confuse the two! They differ in their nature, their support, the services offered, the functionalities…
An online bank is always attached to a traditional bank and managed from a computer. As for FinTech, they are considered as a payment institution: they facilitate the transactions of the customer who manages everything from his smartphone. They compete with traditional banks by offering a basic service but with a very attractive and intuitive interface.
The products offered are also different, fintechs do not usually allow to open a savings account, to be insured or even to make a loan. They only offer the possibility of having a current account with a credit card.
In summary, fintechs focus on the customer experience but do not replace traditional banks (for the moment). Their strong point is the instantaneous nature of transactions and ease of use. It’s up to you to see what suits you best!
What is a “multi-currency” credit card?
Some fintechs provide multi-currency bank cards.
They offer the possibility of having several wallets in different currencies. This way, you can recharge your account in the currency you want. When you make your payments, the debited account corresponds to that of the currency in question.
So you only have to worry about the conversion twice: when you top up your bank account and when you make a cash withdrawal abroad.
Those multi-currency bank cards are secondary, to use in complement of your main bank card. Frequent travelers always recommend to bring at least two bank cards when going abroad!
What to watch out for
Comparison table of the fintech cards for travel
|Cost of the cart||Payment fees||Withdraw fees||Exchange fees||Multi-currency account|
|Curve||£35 or £75 (it depends the offer)||Free||£2 in a non-domestic currency||1%||No|
- N26 Black : 7.90 €/month
|Free||- In EURO : free for the 5 first withdrawals then £2 (unlimited in Italy, Austria and Netherlands) |
- In foreign currency : 1,7% (free for N26 Black)
|Revolut||Free||Free||-Free if the amount is under £200/€200 in the month, then 2%||Interbank rate up to 5000 € per month then 0,5%||Yes|
|WeSwap||Free||Free||£2 if the amount is under £200||Interbank rate||Yes|
You have had a small overview of the different bank cards, but we have designed a more detailed description of each one so that you can make your choice!
N26: The entrepreneurs’ mobile bank
N26 is a German fintech with a MasterCard and a current account. This 100% mobile bank is entirely designed for smartphone users.
Withdrawal fees are free in the Euro zone for the first 5 withdrawals and then €2 (except in Italy, Austria and the Netherlands where they are unlimited). In foreign currencies, the rate is 1.7%.
Price of the card:
This N26 subscription is free.
The exchange rate used for conversions is MasterCard. N26 uses this rate when the transaction is made (day/time) and not when it is processed by the bank!
N26 Black card:
N26 offers an N26 Black card which is not free: €7,90 per month
Advantages and disadvantages
To be known: N26 does not offer a multi-currency account
Revolut: Your alternative to digital bank
Revolut is a British fintech that includes a credit card and allows you to carry out transactions in different currencies and crypto currencies.
Price of the card
The bank card is free, coChange offers you the delivery (€6)!
Transactions are free to any bank account and in the currency you want, but also to another user.
The exchange rate used is the interbank rate up to €5000 per month. For an additional exchange rate, the fee is 0,5%.
Withdrawals are free for an amount under £200/€200 in the month. Above this amount, you will have to pay 2% of the withdrawn amount.
Premium card which cost €8 per month. It allows you to collect up to €400 free of charge and also offers additional services such as travel insurance and free delivery anywhere in the world.
Free disposable virtual cards for Premium accounts.
Advantages and disadvantages
To be know : Revolut apply a differential rate during the week-end between 0,5 and 2%. This has been set up to compensate for any drop or increase in currencies when the market reopened on the Monday.
The only way to have a Revolut account is to have an address in Europe.
Curve : Connect all you accounts to a single bank card
Curve offers you a MasterCard that will allow you to connect all your accounts to a single card. It supports 18 different currencies.
Cost of the card
The Classic “Blue” Curve costs £3;5 to pay at delivery.
Your exchange rate will be charged only 1%, unlike 5% in most banks. So what the rate applied is the MasterCard rate + 1%.
Withdrawals abroad are subject to a fee: £2 for one withdrawal. These are the only fees applied.
Advantages and disadvantages
To be know:
The card has a “systematic authorization” which implies a verification and an approval of your bank at each payment. This will sometimes require the merchant to rest the terminal on the pedestal for authorization to be issued.
The card does not have 3D Secure and requires the internet to carry out transactions (avoid tolls and motorway parking).
The Curve Black card allows you to receive twice as many loyalty points (compared to the classic Blue Curve bank card).
Click here for more info and to open an account
WeSwap : Exchange your currencies at low rates
How it works?
WeSwap users receive a free multi-currency card (18 currencies).
During your transactions she automatically guesses which currency is involved. Payment fees are free of charge.
The swaps or currency exchanges:
The application enables you to do “swaps” that are an exchange currency between two users. Depending on your needs, it is up to you to decide when you want your Swap to be realised.
- Instant Swap: 1.4% of the exchange amount
- Swap of 3 days: 1.3% of the exchange amount
- Swap of 7 days: 1.0% of the exchange amount
The exchange rate used is the interbank rate but at the time your swap is executed (so not necessarily when you start it).
Withdrawals are free of charge for amounts over £200. Any withdrawal less than this amount costs £1.50. It is therefore advisable to withdraw large sums of money less frequently.