A new fintech business which I was introduced to previously this year. What A Currensea Card…
It has won a couple of awards over recent months for what it does (using you a low-cost way to spend abroad) but what I like about is that it is basic as hell. This is a good thing.
is, successfully, a direct debit travel card. It is a Mastercard which sits between you and your existing current account. There is absolutely nothing to top-up or prepay. You just spend as you would on a regular debit card and the cash is taken from your bank account– just without the normal 3% charge.
Oh, and is totally free to get, which also helps.
There are also some intriguing travel advantages if you pick a paid strategy, but the complimentary plan works fine. You can apply here.
There is a service model in fintech which Curve, Revolut, Monzo etc have all followed:
launch by doing something well, and for free or more affordable than the competition
include more and more functions which your existing customers do not truly desire or need
add limitations, costs or charges to the function that made people get your item in the first place, eliminating any competitive advantage
is currently still in Stage 1 of this process and will hopefully remain there. Curve, Revolut and Monzo are already in Stage 3 …
is simple enough that it passes my ‘Can you discuss it to your mate in the club in 30 seconds?’ test:
What countries can I use Currensea? What A Currensea Card
It is a complimentary direct debit card to utilize abroad and which instantly recharges all purchases to your existing current account in Sterling, less a little 0.5% cost.
You do not (yet …) earn any airline company miles or points for utilizing it.
Why would I want to get a card?
If you have a charge card offering 0% foreign exchange charges, then you don’t require a card, unless you desire totally free ATM withdrawals. You can stop checking out now.
Credit cards which use benefits and charge 0% FX fees are couple of and far between. The only ‘points and miles’ alternatives which use a partial service are the Virgin Atlantic credit cards which have 0% FX charges in the Euro zone.
IS possibly for you if:
you do not have a credit card offering 0% FX charges and do not wish to impact your credit report by getting another credit card particularly to utilize abroad
you desire an item which enables you to make , 500 of foreign currency ATM withdrawals per month without any fees and only a very little FX mark-up (there is a small fee beyond , 500).
you want a product for you, your adult kids, parents, partner or anyone else in your life who requires a simple, easy to understand payment card that will conserve them money when travelling.
How does work in practice?
It is, as I said earlier, a really easy procedure. You use your Currensea card in the same way as your existing debit card.
You make your purchase in local currency (any currency, worldwide).
Your current account bank instantly confirms that you have enough money in your account and authorises the transaction.
The deal goes through at either the interbank rate or the Mastercard rate, depending on the currency. If you have the free card, adds a 0.5% cost. There are no charges if you have one of their paid cards.
You get an automatic spend notification via the app, if you pick to install it.
The cash is taken from your current account a couple of days later on.
Here is an example. With no foreign travel in the journal, I decided to sprinkle out and purchase 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 couple of days later:.
However transforming pounds was expensive.
A pet peeve of mine is when ATMs forewarn you about the daylight burglary that is almost to take place (often in a different language) while not telling you about the expensive currency conversion fees happening in the background. Don’t get me started. Anyway back to the positives for a bit anyhow.
Thankfully over the last few years a handful of excellent travel debit cards have popped onto the scene … and like other fantastic cards assures huge cost savings (85%) and an excellent app.
But I think the best bit might be what no other card does: connects to your existing high street bank account.
What this means is you can invest cash you have in your existing current account with less fret about lacking cash and the extra step. However that does not indicate it is ideal.
In this Currensea evaluation is the good, the bad, the unsightly and the options, so that you can choose.
While our premium plans have no FX markup, we charge a nominal FX markup on our Necessary Plan of 0.5% per transaction, allowing us to make income from our Vital Strategy whilst remaining much cheaper than other prepaid cards and high-street debit cards. We also charge an FX markup on ATM use over the totally free amount on all our plans, full details can be discovered on our pricing plans.
We charge an annual subscription cost of , 25 for our Premium Strategy, and , 120 for our Elite Plan. The subscription cost also removes all FX markup on transactions.
Every time you spend with your card we get a small % of the deal, called interchange, this comes straight from the merchant and will not be credited you. What A Currensea Card