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  • FIRST POST
    • VanillaSkies
    • By VanillaSkies 4th Mar 17, 10:21 PM
    • 5Posts
    • 0Thanks
    VanillaSkies
    0 WOW
    Revolut vs Metro card
    • #1
    • 4th Mar 17, 10:21 PM
    0 WOW
    Revolut vs Metro card 4th Mar 17 at 10:21 PM
    Hi team,

    I apologise if this has been previously asked (I did do a search for it and it seems to be looking at EITHER Metro OR Revolut but never the two in comparison... plus I am fiscally challenged so I literally need things spelled out for me!), and I apologise if this is a silly 'but you are comparing apples and oranges' question, however I would so greatly appreciate your advice.

    My end goal is this: to be able to spend money in as cheap a manner as possible in the EU for a 6 week stay (more accurately, in Greece for the near future, but also for general EU travels).

    So I have done my research and read MSE's pages on both cards and apps to find the cheapest way to reach my end goal, and MSE/Martin has said the Metro debit bank card is the best one for zero transaction fees and zero ATM user fees, which is great. And I got myself one of those.

    A friend of mine also recommended Revolut from the research he has done (he is yet to try it though), and Revolut appears to have the same advantages (1. no transaction fees; 2. no ATM usage fees by Revolut).

    Revolut on their website have also said they use the interbank exchange rate, and apparently normal debit cards can charge at their own bank rates (?? - from my understanding, anyway), which gives them (Revolut) the edge.

    So my question is, which is the best value for my spending in the EU (/Greece, for the time being - not that there should be a difference really..) please?

    From what I understand of the Metro bank card, they go by the current MasterCard exchange rate (?? please correct me if I am wrong!), which when I compare to Revolut exchange rate on their website, is absolutely the same/very very similar. Which of the two has a better exchange rate (if that makes sense)? And also, Revolut is also a MasterCard, so do they also go by the MasterCard exchange rate? And how is that different (if at all) from the interbank exchange rate?

    Would it also be better to use my Metro card on weekends and Revolut on weekdays? Would it be better to pay for restaurants + tips using my Metro card than Revolut? Would I be getting the same exchange rate if I withdraw cash using both Revolut and Metro card?

    (On a side note, I have just today signed up for Revolut and ordered a physical card - how exactly does the virtual card work to use in a brick and mortar shop? Would it be like using a contactless Android Pay app? Can you even pay for things in a physical shop using the virtual card? Can you order things online using the details on the physical Revolut card?)

    I apologise for bombarding you all with so many questions, I have tried my best to do the research beforehand so I don't post numpty-like questions on here but... I don't deal well with numbers. :P

    Thank you so much in advance!
Page 1
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 5th Mar 17, 2:40 PM
    • 2,786 Posts
    • 1,211 Thanks
    eDicky
    • #2
    • 5th Mar 17, 2:40 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Mar 17, 2:40 PM
    The interbank and MasterCard exchange rates have no significant difference in practice. Revolut charges 2% on ATM withdrawals in excess of £200 equ per calendar month, so use your Metro card when more is needed. Your Revolut virtual card and plastic card have the same number and CVV.
    Would it also be better to use my Metro card on weekends and Revolut on weekdays?

    Can you even pay for things in a physical shop using the virtual card?
    Originally posted by VanillaSkies
    Yes. (Or Metro any time)

    No.
    • VanillaSkies
    • By VanillaSkies 5th Mar 17, 2:45 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    VanillaSkies
    • #3
    • 5th Mar 17, 2:45 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Mar 17, 2:45 PM
    So I am essentially getting the most advantageous possible exchange rates either with Revolut or with Metro/any other MasterCard rate using cards e.g. Halifax Clarity Credit card?

    Many thanks
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 5th Mar 17, 8:09 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    • #4
    • 5th Mar 17, 8:09 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Mar 17, 8:09 PM
    The interbank and MasterCard exchange rates have no significant difference in practice.
    Originally posted by eDicky
    A quick search seems to indicate that this statement is incorrect. Mastercard seems to have an exchange rate spread of almost 1% whereas the interbank spread is trivial.
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 8th Mar 17, 2:56 AM
    • 2,786 Posts
    • 1,211 Thanks
    eDicky
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 17, 2:56 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 17, 2:56 AM
    A quick search seems to indicate that this statement is incorrect. Mastercard seems to have an exchange rate spread of almost 1% whereas the interbank spread is trivial.
    Originally posted by brianposter
    Where are you finding a spread of almost 1%?

    The MasterCard rate is set as a daily rate for the previous day, whereas the interbank rate is fluctuating constantly in real time. Transactions using interbank rate are set at that moment but MasterCard determines the rate for a particular transaction on the date of settlement, a couple of days or so after that transaction. So to make a comparison is not easy. Sometimes the MasterCard rate will be better than interbank for a particular transaction.

    For most people on holiday the difference is insignificant, and using either will be a worthwhile improvement on buying cash or loading an 'old style' prepaid card (compared at the same moment).
    Last edited by eDicky; 08-03-2017 at 2:58 AM.
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 8th Mar 17, 4:23 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 17, 4:23 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 17, 4:23 PM
    Where are you finding a spread of almost 1%?
    Originally posted by eDicky
    From the obvious source - Mastercard.

    https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/consumers/get-support/convert-currency.html

    The OP is asking very specifically about exchange rates and your response appears to be misleading and careless, although the other information may be useful.
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 8th Mar 17, 5:00 PM
    • 2,786 Posts
    • 1,211 Thanks
    eDicky
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 17, 5:00 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 17, 5:00 PM
    From the obvious source - Mastercard
    Originally posted by brianposter
    So are you looking at a spread between the inverse of a currency pair in yesterday's MasterCard rates, or a spread of the MasterCard rate from the interbank rate at a particular time, or what?
    • VanillaSkies
    • By VanillaSkies 8th Mar 17, 5:23 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    VanillaSkies
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 17, 5:23 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Mar 17, 5:23 PM
    Hi, thank you so much for your replies. I guess the overall answer is 'it's your luck either way, one might be good one day, one might be better another day'?

    Also, if it helps, it is not a short holiday but rather a stay of six weeks. So I am keen to reduce unnecessary costs as much as possible. does that make a difference?
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 8th Mar 17, 5:56 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 17, 5:56 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Mar 17, 5:56 PM
    So are you looking at a spread between the inverse of a currency pair in yesterday's MasterCard rates, or a spread of the MasterCard rate from the interbank rate at a particular time, or what?
    Originally posted by eDicky
    Look at the rates they offer for converting pounds to euros, and euros to pounds.
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 8th Mar 17, 6:01 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    Hi, thank you so much for your replies. I guess the overall answer is 'it's your luck either way, one might be good one day, one might be better another day'?
    Originally posted by VanillaSkies
    No. For Greece in principle the Mastercard rate is about 0.5% worse than the interbank rate.

    Whether that matters is up to you, and you need to read the other terms and conditions carefully.
    • VanillaSkies
    • By VanillaSkies 8th Mar 17, 6:03 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    VanillaSkies
    Does it always remain a worse rate? (And out of general curiosity, why Greece?)
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 8th Mar 17, 7:07 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    Does it always remain a worse rate? (And out of general curiosity, why Greece?)
    Originally posted by VanillaSkies
    No. As edicky said, the rates are calculated at different times and go up and down all the time so at any one time there is no fixed relationship.
    It is simply that while Interbank rate does not involve any charges, Mastercard are charging you about 0.5% for changing your euros.
    Mastercard may have a different charge for another currency.


    You mentioned Greece and the EU is not all euros.
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 9th Mar 17, 3:01 AM
    • 2,786 Posts
    • 1,211 Thanks
    eDicky
    Look at the rates they offer for converting pounds to euros, and euros to pounds.
    Originally posted by brianposter
    That's where I fail to see a 'spread of almost 1%', and the reason I asked for a source. But you could be right, and it's my lousy math - I see a difference of 0.39% between yesterday's MasterCard GBP/EUR and EUR/GBP rates. Can you give your example and calculation? (Or anyone else?)
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 9th Mar 17, 8:38 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    That's where I fail to see a 'spread of almost 1%', and the reason I asked for a source. But you could be right, and it's my lousy math - I see a difference of 0.39% between yesterday's MasterCard GBP/EUR and EUR/GBP rates. Can you give your example and calculation? (Or anyone else?)
    Originally posted by eDicky
    Its not your maths. If I do the calculation now the spread is less than 0.3% so it looks like the spread is not fixed - and so presumably one cannot be precise about the Mastercard charge.
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 10th Mar 17, 6:57 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    Just done another check and the Mastercard spread is now about 0.6%.
    Last edited by brianposter; 11-03-2017 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Clarity
    • VanillaSkies
    • By VanillaSkies 11th Mar 17, 9:21 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    VanillaSkies
    Hi,

    I think I vaguely get the idea of what "spread" means but, could someone please explain? Is it the extra charge you get for exchanging money? Because when I compare Revolut with Mastercard for how much they give per 100 GBP, each of them has different figures.

    Thank you
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 11th Mar 17, 10:54 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    brianposter
    Someone will normally be buying pounds from you or selling pounds to you. You do not know what they do with those pounds or the other currency so you do not know how much you are being charged for your particular transaction.
    However you do know the rate at which they will reverse the transaction,and the difference in the two rates is called the spread.
    For practical purposes you might as well assume that you are being charged half the spread, in addition to any other charges.
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