Revolut launches today in the US, and I can recommend it to travelers

Fintech company Revolut has launched its virtual and physical debit card in the US today, and I can highly recommend it to frequent travelers.

Revolut is a prepaid MasterCard designed specifically for those who travel and need to be able to make purchases in different countries and currencies…

When you sign up, you get both a physical MasterCard and a virtual one you can load into the Wallet app for use with Apple Pay.

Revolut offers three key benefits for travelers.

First, unlike most prepaid cards, you don’t need to carry a large balance on it. You can carry it with no stored credit, so there’s no drama if it is lost or stolen, and just use the app to load it up as required from a linked bank account or other debit card. I have literally waited until I receive a restaurant bill, then loaded up the card with the amount needed to pay it, waited a few minutes for the transfer to go through, and then handed over the card.

Second, if you do choose to carry credit on the card, you can use the app to freeze it — so any attempted transaction would be declined — and then just unfreeze it for a few minutes whenever you need to use it.

Third, and best of all, you get mid-market rates and no commission on foreign currency transactions, making it the cheapest possible way to pay for things in other countries.

I’ve used mine in a wide variety of countries, and saved a lot of money by doing so. You can use Apple Pay where supported, or for any low-value contactless transaction, and the physical card the rest of the time.

Additional benefits are virtual bank accounts in pounds sterling and euros, so if you need to be able to receive payments from people in European countries, you can just give them your “local” bank details and the funds will be credited to your Revolut balance. You can then convert into dollars, again at mid-market rates and with no commissions.

A standard account is free, including one physical and one virtual card — you just pay $4.99 for delivery. You can sign up at Revolut.

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