A brand-new fintech company which I was introduced to previously this year. Using Currensea…
It has actually won a couple of awards over current months for what it does (offering you a low-cost way to invest abroad) but what I like about is that it is easy as hell. This is a good idea.
is, successfully, a direct debit travel card. It is a Mastercard which sits in between you and your existing current account. There is nothing to top-up or prepay. You simply spend as you would on a typical debit card and the money is drawn from your current account– just without the typical 3% fee.
Oh, and is free to apply for, which likewise helps.
There are also some interesting travel advantages if you pick a paid strategy, but the free plan works fine. You can apply here.
There is a company design in fintech which Curve, Revolut, Monzo etc have all followed:
launch by doing one thing well, and free of charge or more affordable than the competitors
add increasingly more features which your existing customers don’t truly desire or need
include fees, limitations or charges to the function that made people get your item in the first place, eliminating any competitive advantage
is currently still in Phase 1 of this process and will hopefully remain there. Curve, monzo and revolut are already in Phase 3 …
is easy enough that it passes my ‘Can you explain it to your mate in the bar in 30 seconds?’ test:
What countries can I use Currensea? Using Currensea
It is a totally free direct debit card to utilize abroad and which automatically recharges all purchases to your existing current account in Sterling, less a little 0.5% charge.
You do not (yet …) earn any airline miles or points for using it.
Why would I wish to get a card?
If you have a credit card offering 0% forex charges, then you don’t require a card, unless you desire totally free ATM withdrawals. You can stop checking out now.
However, credit cards which provide rewards and charge 0% FX charges are few and far between. The only ‘points and miles’ choices which offer a partial option 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 credit card offering 0% FX charges and do not want to impact your credit report by getting another charge card specifically to utilize abroad
you desire a product which enables you to make , 500 of foreign currency ATM withdrawals monthly without any charges and only a minimal FX mark-up (there is a small charge beyond , 500).
you desire an item for you, your adult children, parents, partner or anyone else in your life who requires a basic, easy to understand payment card that will save them money when taking a trip.
How does operate in practice?
It is, as I stated earlier, a very basic procedure. You utilize your Currensea card in the same way as your existing debit card.
You make your purchase in local currency (any currency, globally).
Your bank account bank instantly confirms that you have enough money in your account and authorises the transaction.
The transaction goes through at either the interbank rate or the Mastercard rate, depending upon the currency. If you have the totally free card, adds a 0.5% cost. There are no fees if you have one of their paid cards.
You get an automatic spend alert through the app, if you select to install it.
The money is taken from your current account a few days later.
Here is an example. With no foreign travel in the diary, I chose to splash out and purchase 1,000 MeliaRewards points for EUR5.
This is what you see in the Currensea app, which shows , 4.33 set up to leave my HSBC account a few days later:.
But converting pounds was costly.
A pet peeve of mine is when ATMs forewarn you about the daytime robbery that is practically to take place (typically in a different language) while not telling you about the outrageous currency conversion costs occurring in the background. Do not get me started. Anyway back to the positives for a bit anyhow.
In current years a handful of fantastic travel debit cards have actually popped onto the scene … and like other excellent cards Currensea promises big savings (85%) and an excellent app.
However I believe the best bit might 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 current account with less fret about running out of cash and the extra step. However that does not suggest it is ideal.
In this Currensea evaluation is the good, the bad, the awful and the alternatives, so that you can choose.
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 income from our Important Strategy whilst staying more affordable than other pre-paid cards and high-street debit cards. We also charge an FX markup on ATM usage over the free quantity on all our plans, complete details can be found on our pricing strategies.
We charge a yearly subscription cost of , 25 for our Premium Plan, and , 120 for our Elite Strategy. The subscription cost also eliminates all FX markup on deals.
Each time you spend with your card we get a little % of the transaction, referred to as interchange, this comes directly from the merchant and won’t be credited you. Using Currensea