A new fintech company which I was introduced to previously this year. Currensea Top Up Card…
It has won a couple of awards over current months for what it does (providing you a low-priced way to spend abroad) but what I like about is that it is simple as hell. This is an advantage.
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 just spend as you would on a typical debit card and the cash is drawn from your bank account– simply without the usual 3% cost.
Oh, and is free to apply for, which also helps.
There are also some interesting travel benefits if you pick a paid strategy, however the totally free strategy works fine. You can use here.
There is a business model in fintech which Curve, Revolut, Monzo and so on have all followed:
launch by doing something well, and totally free or cheaper than the competition
add a growing number of functions which your existing clients don’t truly require or want
add charges, costs or limitations to the feature that made people get your item in the first place, eliminating any competitive advantage
is presently still in Phase 1 of this process and will ideally stay there. Curve, monzo and revolut are already in Stage 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? Currensea Top Up Card
It is a complimentary direct debit card to use abroad and which automatically recharges all purchases to your existing current account in Sterling, less a small 0.5% charge.
You don’t (yet …) earn any airline miles or points for utilizing it.
Why would I wish to get a card?
If you have a charge card offering 0% forex charges, then you do not 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 costs are few and far between. The only ‘points and miles’ options which provide a partial option are the Virgin Atlantic charge card which have 0% FX charges in the Euro zone.
IS perhaps for you if:
you do not have a credit card offering 0% FX charges and do not want to affect your credit report by getting another charge card particularly to use abroad
you want an item which permits you to make , 500 of foreign currency ATM withdrawals per month with no charges and only a minimal FX mark-up (there is a little fee beyond , 500).
you desire an item for you, your adult children, parents, partner or anybody else in your life who needs a simple, easy to understand payment card that will save them money when travelling.
How does operate in practice?
It is, as I said previously, a really simple process. You utilize your Currensea card in the same way as your existing debit card.
You make your purchase in local currency (any currency, worldwide).
Your bank account bank automatically confirms that you have enough cash in your account and authorises the transaction.
The transaction goes through at either the interbank rate or the Mastercard rate, depending upon the currency. adds a 0.5% charge if you have the totally free card. If you have one of their paid cards, there are no costs.
You get an automatic spend alert through the app, if you pick to install it.
The money is taken from your bank account a few days later on.
Here is an example. With no foreign travel in the diary, I chose to sprinkle out and buy 1,000 MeliaRewards points for EUR5.
This is what you see in the Currensea app, which shows , 4.33 scheduled to leave my HSBC account a few days later:.
But converting pounds was pricey.
A pet peeve of mine is when ATMs forewarn you about the daytime break-in that is practically to occur (frequently in a various language) while not telling you about the expensive currency conversion fees happening in the background. Do not get me began. Anyway back to the positives for a bit anyway.
In recent years a handful of terrific travel debit cards have popped onto the scene … and like other terrific cards Currensea promises big savings (85%) and a terrific app.
However I believe the best bit might be what no other card does: connects to your existing high street savings account.
What this indicates is you can invest money you have in your existing bank account with less worry about running out of cash and the additional step. However that does not suggest it is ideal.
In this Currensea evaluation is the excellent, the bad, the unsightly and the alternatives, so that you can decide.
While our premium plans have no FX markup, we charge a small FX markup on our Vital Plan of 0.5% per transaction, permitting us to make profits from our Necessary Plan whilst staying much cheaper than other prepaid cards and high-street debit cards. We also charge an FX markup on ATM use over the complimentary quantity on all our strategies, full information can be discovered on our prices plans.
We charge an annual subscription fee of , 25 for our Premium Strategy, and , 120 for our Elite Plan. The membership fee also gets rid of all FX markup on deals.
Whenever you invest with your card we get a small % of the transaction, known as interchange, this comes straight from the merchant and will not be charged to you. Currensea Top Up Card