Three times while staying at a hotel in Rio de Janeiro last week, I asked the hotel reception to help me compare Revolut’s and Curve’s GBP/BRL rates, given that both use live FX rates. Each time, I paid the hotel simultaneously using two card terminals, with my Revolut card in one and my Curve card in the other. The amounts ranged from BRL 50 to BRL 2300. After entering my PIN, I pressed the green button at exactly the same time. Here are the results with rates rounded to 5 decimal places:
28/01/2019 21:46 GMT
Difference: Curve better by 9.9 basis points (but the difference in GBP amounts was only £0.01 so not accurate)
31/01/2019 21:39 GMT
Difference: Curve better by 5.0 basis points
01/02/2019 21:48 GMT
Difference: Revolut better by 10.5 basis points
I conclude that both card issuers’ FX rates are equally competitive, but a test using GBP/BRL is not necessarily representative of all currency pairs.
My test also confirmed that Curve’s £500 monthly limit for fee-free FX is indeed per calendar month and not per rolling monthly period, given that two transactions spanned month-end.