N26 vs Revolut – Which Card is Better?

Which card is better for traveling? N26 or Revolut?

I got a confession to make. I love them both. And I use both N26 and Revolut.

I have been traveling with these two around the globe and we made tons of memories together.

There are however slight differences between N26 and Revolut which you will find out in this post.

If you don’t want to pay for your debit card, get the Revolut Free Card. This card gives the most overall value. If you travel around the world and need to withdraw at least €500 worth of cash every month, get the N26 Black card.

The digital bank Revolut as well as the German mobile bank N26 are the leading “fin-techs” in the digital-banking sector in Europe. In today's comparison N26 vs Revolut you will find out which card is the better option for you.

Download digital banking apps N26 and Revolut and sign up for free. It only takes a few minutes.

Which is the better fit for you? N26 vs Revolut
(click on the image to enlarge)

Customers of N26 bank and Revolut benefit from the best currency exchange rates, fast and secure access to their accounts, fast money transfer and low fees across all verticals.

This makes the N26 and Revolut one of the best debit cards for travelers, digital nomads and people who prefer to pay fewer fees in exchange for 100% digital banking.

Both digital banks N26 and Revolut do not have a network of branches as opposed to typical banks, however, your money is protected by the European Deposit Guarantee up to €100.000 with both banks.

N26 and Revolut offer three different types of debit cards:

  1. Free Mastercard
  2. Premium Mastercard
  3. Metal Mastercard

How do the cards compare?

You can certainly compare the fees, however, there are more factors that you should know about before signing up with one of those companies.

I am using both N26 and Revolut cards while traveling the world, keep reading to find out which debit card is the better option for you.

Who can apply for the N26 and Revolut card?

Before we jump to the comparison between the N26 and Revolut cards you should first know if you can even apply for the card. Both companies are slowly expanding globally, there are however still some limitations on where you need to be based to receive the card.

 

You can apply for the N26 card if you reside in one of the following countries:

Germany, Austria, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland.

 

You can apply for the Revolut card if you reside in one of the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia

At the moment you need to be resident of the European Economic Area (EEA) with few exceptions. However, both companies aim to expand their products also to the United States. I will update this article as soon as this will be officially announced.

 

Without further ado, let's have a look at the offer of the free Mastercard from the N26 bank and Revolut.

What happens when you lose your card?

Keep in mind that in case you lose your N26 card while traveling abroad, a replacement can only be shipped to one of the countries where N26 operates. Revolut ships your first card to your address where you reside, replacement cards can be shipped worldwide.

Without further ado, let's have a look at the offer of the free Mastercard from the N26 bank and Revolut.

N26 Mastercard vs Revolut Mastercard (free version)

n26-standard-card-min

N26 card

0.00
monthly fee
Free ATM withdrawals within Euro-Zone (except Germany)
1.7% fee on ATM withdrawals in other currency than Euros
Free shipping of your N26 card
Free money transactions worldwide
Unlimited contactless payments worldwide for free
Interbank Exchange Rate for withdrawals and payments (transfers include the Transferwise fee)
revolut-standard-card

Revolut card

0.00
monthly fee
Free ATM withdrawals worldwide up to € 200 or equivalent per month for free, above that 2%
Free money transactions worldwide
Free shipping when signing up with my link
Unlimited contactless payments worldwide for free
Interbank Exchange Rate + markups (weekends, amounts over € 6000, specific currencies)

Free EUR withdrawals with N26 and Revolut: If you withdraw Euros in any country from any ATM you will not be charged any additional fees, unless there is an ATM transaction fee, charged from the ATM machine. This is valid for both N26 and Revolut.

N26 (free plan) withdrawal fees: If you withdraw your money in GBP, USD, AUD or any other currency you will be charged 1.7% when using the N26 Mastercard.

Revolut (free) withdrawal fees: Revolut does not charge any fees up to € 200 withdrawals (or equivalent in any other currency). If you need to withdraw more, Revolut will charge you 2%.

The debit cards from N26 and Revolut are fairly well positioned considering that most banks charge a fee of 2% - 5% on ATM withdrawal in foreign currencies.

N26 Black vs Revolut Premium

N26 Black and Revolut Premium come with a yearly fee and some premium features, that are suitable for those who travel long-term and look for more flexibility.

n26-black card

N26 Black

9.90
monthly fee
Free ATM withdrawals in all currencies
Interbank Exchange Rate for withdrawals and payments (transfers include the Transferwise fee)
Insurance Package
revolut-premium-card-

Revolut Premium

7.99
monthly fee (or € 82 per year)
Free ATM withdrawals worldwide up to € 400 or equivalent per month for free, above that 2%
Interbank Exchange Rate + markups (weekends, specific currencies)
Insurance Package

N26 Black vs Revolut Premium Insurances

N26 Black & Metal Insurance Revolut Premium & Metal Insurance
Foreign Medical Expenses up to € 150.000 Foreign Medical Expenses up to € 17 Mio. (excess € 86)
Delayed Flights over 4 hours ( € 100 / hour up to max. € 400) Delayed Flights over 4 hours ( € 80 / hour up to max. € 382)
Luggage-Delay Insurance for delayed flights over 4 hours up to € 1.500 Luggage-Delay Insurance for delayed flights over 4 hours up to € 382
Travel Cancelation up to € 7.500 (excess 10% - 20%) Emergency Dental Treatment abroad up to € 350 (excess € 86)
Travel Curtailment Insurance and early return up to € 5.000
Collision Damage Waiver (lowering the excess up to € 750)
Car Rental Excess Deduction
Mobile Phone Theft Protection up to € 300
Cash Theft Protection up to 4 hours after ATM withdrawal and € 500
Purchase Protection up to 60 days after purchase and € 2.500
Extended Warranty up to € 500 (excess € 50)

As you can see, both N26 Black and Revolut come with a comprehensive insurance package. While looking at the table you might get the impression that the N26 Black offers a better deal.

N26 Black Travel Insurance: Fact is, that the N26 Black covers you only during trips with a duration up to 90 days.

If you travel long-term, you will need proper travel insurance with better coverage. Note that the N26 Black travel insurance only applies for trips that you booked with the N26 Black card. If you haven’t booked the flight tickets and accommodation with the card, the travel insurance won’t activate and you will not be covered.

If you are interested in more details, read their terms and conditions here.

Revolut Premium Travel Insurance: The insurance that comes with Revolut premium card will cover you regardless if you pay for the trip with the card or not.

n26-vs-revolut-insurance

The excess for most insurance claims, however, makes the Revolut premium card quite expensive. The Revolut premium card covers you also only for trips with a duration up to 40 days. If you plan to stay longer, you won’t be covered. Read more details about the Revolut travel insurance that comes with the premium card here.

The insurance offered with the N26 Black and Revolut premium cards is covered by third-party companies such as Allianz (N26) and White Horse Insurance (Revolut). You can submit insurance claims through the Revolut and N26 app.

Both premium cards from N26 and Revolut are not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance. It is rather an extra safety layer but not something you should rely on. If you look for options to stay covered for medical expenses abroad, check the insurance from Safetywing and Worldsnomads.

 

Save money on cash withdrawals with N26 and Revolut Premium cards

 

The only real value that comes with the N26 Black and Revolut premium card is the higher limit for cash withdrawals in all currencies.

Revolut increased the monthly limit for free ATM withdrawals up to €400 while N26 offers unlimited free ATM withdrawals worldwide in any currency.

This is also the main reason I opted in for the N26 Black card. In many Asian countries, you will need a lot of cash, since the cashless payment culture is not as developed here. Apart from local ATM fees, that I am charged with every withdrawal I save at least the 1.7% foreign currency withdrawal fee from N26.

In case you plan to stay longer, the amount of withdrawals adds up, so does the 1.7% fee in case you use the N26 free debit card.

At the moment I use the N26 Black card which does not charge any cash withdrawal fees worldwide. In the end of the day, it is cheaper to pay the monthly fee for the N26 Black as using the N26 free debit card while being abroad.

Note that this is only the case if you travel to countries, where you need a lot of cash. In countries where cashless payments are accepted (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) you don’t need any N26 or Revolut premium card.

A nice perk that comes with the Revolut premium card is also the LoungeKey-pass that gives you access to 1.000 airport lounges worldwide.

N26 Metal vs Revolut Metal

Both N26 Metal and Revolut Metal offer the same benefits and insurance cover as the above-mentioned premium versions.

The N26 Metal, as well as the Revolut Metal, come with a unique design. The cards are made from reinforced steel, which makes them much heavier as regular plastic cards. Apart from the aesthetics, there are only a few benefits that come with the metal version.

n26-metal-card

N26 Metal

16.90
monthly fee
Free ATM withdrawals within Euro-Zone (except Germany)
NO fee on ATM withdrawals in other currency than Euros
Discounts with N26 partners
Insurance Package
Premium Support
revolut-metal-card-min

Revolut Metal

13.99
monthly fee (or € 135 per year)
Free ATM withdrawals worldwide up to € 600 or equivalent per month for free, above that 2%
Interbank Exchange Rate + markups (weekends, specific currencies)
Exclusive Concierge-Service
0.1% cashback for payments in Europe, 1% cashback for payments outside of Europe
Insurance Package

The price-value-ratio of the N26 and Revolut metal cards is the lowest, compared to the free and premium versions.

Both companies are targeting users that will use the cards as a way to present their wealth. When it comes to the additional features, there is not much-added value.

If you travel light like me, you will probably not want to have a heavy card in your wallet.

Do you want to read more about the prices of the N26 and Revolut cards? click here: N26 price list, Revolut price list.

What else should you compare between N26 and Revolut?

Who has the better exchange rate - Revolut or N26?

 

N26 and Revolut are well known for their good foreign currency exchange rates. Traditional banks usually charge a hefty foreign currency exchange fee. Additionally, they have a high spread on the currency exchange rate - they like to follow their own exchange rates rather than the market rates (interbank rates). Why? Because that’s how they make money.

N26 and Revolut’s main mission is to offer users the possibility to transfer and receive money in foreign currencies for the best rate and lowest fees.

I am traveling since mid-2017 now. Having the option to receive and transfer money for the lowest cost was one of the topics I had to figure out myself. My favorite services I use for exchanging currencies is Transferwise, N26, and Revolut.

There are pros and cons with every service, for the purpose of this comparison, let’s stick to the differences between N26 and Revolut.

This is the result of my currency exchange test with Revolut and N26:

N26

Exchange rate € 1 = 1.579190 AUD
€ 1.000 = 1.572,68 AUD
Transferwise fee: € 4,12 (already included)

Revolut

Exchange rate € 1 = 1.5788 AUD
€ 1.000 = 1.578,81 AUD
fee: 0% during weekdays, 0.5% on the weekend

The currency conversion with Revolut turned out to be cheaper during the week as compared to N26, which collaborates with Transferwise and charges a small Transferwise fee for the currency exchange.

If you would make the conversion on the weekend, Revolut would charge you 0.5% ( €5 ) which would make the currency exchange more expensive as N26.

Both companies are very transparent when it comes to the communication of their currency exchange fees. The N26 as well Revolut banking-app show you exactly how much you will get in the foreign currency as well as the fees you need to pay, before making the conversion.

Most banks don’t offer you this option, which often results in unpleasant charges that you did not expect.

What you should know about the currency exchange with Revolut

In case you use the free Revolut Mastercard, you should be aware of the free currency exchange amount of € 6.000 per month. If you plan to exchange more money, you will be charged 0.5% from each conversion.

Revolut changes their currency exchange fees based on the time of the conversion as well as the foreign currency.

  • USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF, JPY, SEK, HKD, NOK, SGD, DKK, PLN, and MXN: 0% during fx hours (weekdays), 0.5% when the markets are closed (weekend)
  • THB, RUB, UAH: 1% during fx hours (weekdays), 2% when the markets are closed (weekend)
  • all other foreign currencies: 0% during fx hours (weekdays), 1% when the markets are closed (weekend)

Joint accounts are not supported

Both N26 bank, as well as Revolut, do not offer joint accounts. The only option to use two N26 cards simultaneously is to order an additional Maestro card.

Note however, that you can not use the free N26 Mastercard and the N26 black or metal card at the same time.

Revolut offers you the option to order multiple physical as well as virtual cards. The bank account can however not be opened on more than one person.

What happens when you lose the card

Losing a debit card when abroad is not a pleasant situation. First, you will need to lock your card to avoid any fraud. You can do this through the mobile app that you use to manage your account.

In case you lose your phone as well, you can log in to your N26 bank account from any web browser and lock your lost card.

Revolut does not offer any login options for web browsers. The only way to access your account is via the Revolut app. In case you lose your phone, you will need a new sim card and a new phone to login into your Revolut account and lock it. This makes the process for the user quite painful.

Ordering a new card

The loss of your card is frustrating enough. If you happen to be abroad, you will want to order a new card as soon as possible.

If you have the N26 card, you can only order a new card to one of the countries, where N26 is active. Worldwide shipments are not supported and the N26 bank is not flexible enough to deal with those request.

Trust me, I have been through that. Read my experience with N26 here.

The only way to get a new N26 card is to order it to your home address and ask family or friends to ship it to you.

Revolut, on the other hand, can ship your card anywhere, which is a clear benefit over the N26 bank.

Who has the better support - N26 or Revolut?

The quality of the support from N26 and Revolut is quite the same. You can chat with a support agent within minutes through the banking-app. Both companies are good when it comes to answering general questions.

The N26 failed to impress when I lost my N26 card in Thailand and had to get a replacement. I haven’t had a negative experience with Revolut yet, however, there were no significant issues so far.

Who has the better app - N26 or Revolut?

Both banking-apps are very intuitive to use and offer similar functions.

The N26 app comes with the following features:

  • Overdrafts up to € 6.000 for 8.9% annual interest (depending on your credit score and country of residence)
  • Spaces allow you to open sub-accounts and use them for saving purposes (no interest)
  • Savings allow you to invest in funds with 1.48% annual interest
  • Cash26 allows you to withdraw money for free at any N26 partners in Germany
  • Moneybeam allows you to send money to other N26 users instantly
  • Statistics allow you to view your expenses sorted in relevant categories

Cons:

  • Login via fingerprint does not always work
  • Not all of the features are supported in every country where N26 is active
  • N26 Black and N26 Metal are not available in all countries

The Revolut app comes with the following features:

  • Analytics allow you to view spendings based on categories, merchants and countries
  • Payment links allow you to generate and send links and request money from anyone - even users that won’t use Revolut
  • Split bills with other Revolut users
  • Set Budget for your spending
  • Vaults help you save up your spare change
  • Store up to 29 currencies within your account
  • Virtual card for secure online payments

Cons:

  • Cryptocurrency feature does not offer the full functions of a crypto exchange
  • Stock trading is only available for metal card holders

N26, as well as Revolut app, allow you to top up your accounts for free with most European debit cards as well as via bank transfer. You can also manage your security settings, change your PIN or freeze your card.

Which card is better - N26 or Revolut?

As you can see, there are many differences apart from fees and prices you will pay for the card. It comes down to your personal preferences and how you like to manage your money.

When it comes to making the right decision, the three main questions you should ask yourself are:

  • How often do you withdraw cash and how much?
  • Do you need any additional insurances?
  • What features of the banking-app are you most likely going to use?

Both cards offer great terms for exchanging foreign currencies. For most users, the free Mastercard from both companies will be good enough.

If you happen to travel a lot to countries where you need a higher amount of cash, the premium accounts might be worth looking into.

I have tested the free and premium versions of both cards myself and chose to use the N26 Black as my primary card, mainly due to the fact that I don’t have to pay any additional withdrawal fees in foreign currencies. Unless there is a local ATM fee I can pay and withdraw worldwide for free.

This, however, does not mean that’s the right choice for you as well. Chose the card that fits your demands the best.

Who has the better exchange rate - N26 or Revolut?

When you are sending money between currencies on weekdays, the currency exchange with Revolut is slightly better. On the weekends, however, Revolut charges extra fees which makes the N26 the better option.

Which card brings the most value - N26 or Revolut?

The most value brings the Revolut free card, followed by the N26 black card.

Which card is cheaper - N26 or Revolut?

The premium as well as the metal version of both cards are cheaper with Revolut.

Which premium card pays off more - N26 or Revolut?

This depends on whether you have the annual or monthly Revolut subscription. In case you withdraw more than €500 (or €600) per month the N26 black card is cheaper.

Is there a sign up bonus with N26 or Revolut?

Currently there is no sign-up bonus for any of the N26 or Revolut cards.

If you have any questions or want to share your experience with one of the mentioned companies, leave a comment. I am happy to help.

Some of the digital nomads might also consider the Transferwise card - this one has slightly higher fees, however, it is currently available in more countries. Read more about digital banking for travelers in my big comparison. 

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N26 vs Revolut
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4 Comments

  1. Satyam July 31, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Wonderful article. Would be great if you could add transferwise borderless cards as well :)

    1. Jakub August 4, 2019 at 6:56 am

      Might do, thanks for the tip. I have both the business and personal transferwise cards as well, however I still prefer the N26 and Revolut as my daily go to cards (their ecosystem is way more user friendly in my opinion)

  2. Anton September 8, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Hi Jakub. Two questions/remarks:

    I’m currently looking for a solution to work abroad and have an Australian employer deposit AUD into my bank account to me. TransferWise seems a good companion for this instead of getting a local Australian bank and transfer it to my Belgian bank (fees fees fees!). I think you agree with this? Because converting from AUD to EUR seems transparant and cheaper…

    For day to day spending it seems Revolut or N26 are the way to go instead of TransferWise. I’m currently more geared towards N26 because of it’s better reputation and I don’t have to think about which day of the week we are to avoid weekend conversion fees. But then again, N26 doesn’t allow free ATM withdrawals in foreign currencies like Revolut does for a limited amount. What’s your take on this?

    1. Jakub September 8, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      Hi Anton,

      interesting questions.

      1. yes having a TransferWise borderless account in AUD is a possible option. The question is whether your Australian employer agrees on this. If you will be spending your AUD in Australia then it’s probably better to get an Australian bank account (card payments and atm withdrawals should be for free). That’s what a lot of Europeans do when they go to work in Australia.

      2. When I was living in Australia I used the N26 black card (0% atm fees but a monthly fee). It turned out to be the cheapest option for me as I haven’t received money from an Australian employer.

      So the answer is:
      – if you will receive income in AUD and spending it in AUD a local bank account makes sense (i.e. Commonwealth)
      – if you will receive AUD but spending it abroad Transferwise or Revolut can be an option (both accounts allow you to store AUD in your account) – I think that transfering your AUD to EUR within Revolut is cheaper (better rates) than transfering it from Transferwise (AUD) to N26 (EUR)

      Another question would be, how much will you be withdrawing per month and in what currency? Personally I think you can get both free accounts with Revolut and N26. If you will be traveling it’s good to have other options in case one card gets declined, stolen or lost.

      Hope I could help you out with this.

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