A new fintech company which I was introduced to earlier this year. Replacement Currensea Card…
It has won a few awards over recent months for what it does (providing you a low-cost way to invest 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 nothing to top-up or prepay. You just spend as you would on a typical debit card and the money is taken from your bank account– simply without the normal 3% fee.
Oh, and is complimentary to obtain, which also helps.
There are also some fascinating travel benefits if you choose a paid plan, but the free strategy works fine. You can use here.
There is a business model in fintech which Curve, Revolut, Monzo and so on have actually all followed:
launch by doing one thing well, and for free or cheaper than the competition
add more and more functions which your existing consumers don’t actually need or desire
add charges, costs or constraints to the function that made people get your product in the first place, removing any competitive advantage
is currently still in Stage 1 of this process and will ideally stay there. Curve, Revolut and Monzo are already in Phase 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? Replacement Currensea Card
It is a totally free direct debit card to use abroad and which immediately charges all purchases to your existing current account in Sterling, less a little 0.5% charge.
You don’t (yet …) make any airline company miles or points for using it.
Why would I want to get a card?
If you have a charge card offering 0% forex charges, then you don’t need a card, unless you want complimentary ATM withdrawals. You can stop checking out now.
However, credit cards which use rewards and charge 0% FX charges are scarce. The only ‘points and miles’ alternatives which offer a partial solution are the Virgin Atlantic charge card which have 0% FX costs in the Euro zone.
IS potentially for you if:
you do not have a charge card offering 0% FX fees and do not wish to affect your credit report by getting another charge card specifically to utilize abroad
you want a product which permits you to make , 500 of foreign currency ATM withdrawals per month with no costs and just a very little FX mark-up (there is a little charge beyond , 500).
you desire a product for you, your adult kids, parents, partner or anybody else in your life who requires an easy, easy to understand payment card that will conserve them money when taking a trip.
How does work in practice?
It is, as I stated earlier, an extremely easy 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 bank account bank immediately validates that you have sufficient 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. If you have the free card, adds a 0.5% fee. If you have one of their paid cards, there are no charges.
You get an automated spend notice through the app, if you pick to install it.
The cash is drawn from your current account a few days later.
Here is an example. Without any foreign travel in the diary, I decided to sprinkle out and purchase 1,000 MeliaRewards points for EUR5.
This is what you see in the Currensea app, which shows , 4.33 arranged to leave my HSBC account a couple of days later:.
But converting pounds was expensive.
A pet peeve of mine is when ATMs forewarn you about the daylight burglary that is practically to occur (frequently in a different language) while not telling you about the exorbitant currency conversion charges occurring in the background. Don’t get me began. Anyway back to the positives for a bit anyway.
Fortunately over the last few years a handful of great travel debit cards have popped onto the scene … and like other terrific cards assures huge savings (85%) and a terrific app.
However I think the best bit might be what no other card does: connects to your existing high street savings account.
What this suggests is you can spend cash you have in your existing current account with less fret about running out of money and the extra action. 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 strategies have no FX markup, we charge a nominal FX markup on our Essential Strategy of 0.5% per deal, permitting us to make income from our Necessary Strategy whilst remaining more affordable than other prepaid cards and high-street debit cards. We also charge an FX markup on ATM usage over the free amount on all our plans, complete information can be found on our rates strategies.
We charge an annual membership fee of , 25 for our Premium Plan, and , 120 for our Elite Plan. The subscription fee likewise eliminates all FX markup on transactions.
Whenever you invest with your card we get a small % of the deal, known as interchange, this comes directly from the merchant and won’t be credited you. Replacement Currensea Card