A new fintech business which I was introduced to previously this year. Currensea…
It has actually won a few awards over current months for what it does (offering you an inexpensive way to spend abroad) but what I like about is that it is simple as hell. This is a good idea.
is, efficiently, a direct debit travel card. It is a Mastercard which sits between you and your existing bank account. There is absolutely nothing to top-up or prepay. You merely invest as you would on a regular debit card and the cash is drawn from your bank account– just without the typical 3% cost.
Oh, and is totally free to look for, which also helps.
There are also some fascinating travel advantages if you select a paid plan, but the complimentary plan works fine. You can apply here.
There is a service design in fintech which Curve, Revolut, Monzo etc have actually all followed:
launch by doing one thing well, and totally free or more affordable than the competitors
include a growing number of features which your existing consumers do not truly require or want
include constraints, charges or costs to the function that made people get your item in the first place, eliminating any competitive advantage
is presently still in Stage 1 of this process and will ideally remain there. Monzo, curve and revolut are currently in Stage 3 …
is basic enough that it passes my ‘Can you explain it to your mate in the pub in 30 seconds?’ test:
What countries can I use Currensea? Currensea
It is a free direct debit card to utilize abroad and which automatically recharges all purchases to your existing current account in Sterling, less a small 0.5% cost.
You do not (yet …) earn any airline company miles or points for using it.
Why would I wish to get a card?
If you have a credit card offering 0% forex costs, then you do not require a card, unless you desire totally free ATM withdrawals. You can stop reading now.
Nevertheless, charge card which offer rewards and charge 0% FX charges are few and far between. The only ‘miles and points’ options which offer a partial solution are the Virgin Atlantic charge card which have 0% FX costs in the Euro zone.
IS possibly for you if:
you don’t have a charge card offering 0% FX costs and do not want to impact your credit report by getting another credit card particularly to use abroad
you want an item which enables you to make , 500 of foreign currency ATM withdrawals monthly with no fees and only a minimal FX mark-up (there is a little cost beyond , 500).
you want an item for you, your adult kids, moms and dads, partner or anyone else in your life who requires a simple, easy to understand payment card that will conserve them cash when taking a trip.
How does work in practice?
It is, as I stated previously, an extremely basic process. You use your Currensea card in the same way as your existing debit card.
You make your purchase in local currency (any currency, internationally).
Your current account bank instantly confirms that you have adequate cash in your account and authorises the transaction.
The transaction goes through at either the interbank rate or the Mastercard rate, depending on the currency. adds a 0.5% charge if you have the totally free card. There are no costs if you have one of their paid cards.
You get an automated spend notification through the app, if you select to install it.
The cash is drawn from your bank account a couple of days later.
Here is an example. With no foreign travel in the journal, I decided to sprinkle out and buy 1,000 MeliaRewards points for EUR5.
This is what you see in the Currensea app, which reveals , 4.33 scheduled to leave my HSBC account a few days later on:.
Converting pounds was expensive.
A pet peeve of mine is when ATMs forewarn you about the daytime robbery that is just about to occur (frequently in a different language) while not telling you about the inflated currency conversion charges taking place in the background. Don’t get me started. Anyhow back to the positives for a bit anyway.
Luckily recently a handful of great travel debit cards have popped onto the scene … and like other excellent cards assures big savings (85%) and a great app.
I think the best bit may be what no other card does: links to your existing high street bank account.
What this means is you can spend cash you have in your existing bank account with less stress over running out of cash and the additional step. But that does not mean it is ideal.
In this Currensea review is the excellent, the bad, the awful and the alternatives, so that you can decide.
While our premium plans have no FX markup, we charge a nominal FX markup on our Important Strategy of 0.5% per transaction, permitting us to make profits from our Important Strategy whilst remaining much cheaper than other prepaid cards and high-street debit cards. We also charge an FX markup on ATM usage over the totally free amount on all our plans, full information can be found on our rates plans.
We charge an annual subscription fee of , 25 for our Premium Plan, and , 120 for our Elite Plan. The membership charge also eliminates all FX markup on transactions.
Whenever you spend with your card we get a small % of the transaction, called interchange, this comes straight from the merchant and will not be charged to you. Currensea