A brand-new fintech business which I was introduced to previously this year. Wilko Currensea Card…
It has actually won a few awards over recent months for what it does (providing you a low-priced method to spend abroad) but what I like about is that it is simple as hell. This is a good thing.
is, effectively, a direct debit travel card. It is a Mastercard which sits in between you and your existing current account. There is absolutely nothing to top-up or prepay. You merely spend as you would on a typical debit card and the money is drawn from your bank account– just without the typical 3% charge.
Oh, and is free to look for, which also helps.
There are also some interesting travel advantages if you choose a paid plan, however the totally free strategy works fine. You can apply here.
There is a business model in fintech which Curve, Revolut, Monzo etc have all followed:
launch by doing one thing well, and for free or cheaper than the competitors
add a growing number of features which your existing customers do not truly require or want
include restrictions, charges or charges to the feature that made individuals get your product in the first place, removing any competitive advantage
is currently still in Stage 1 of this process and will hopefully stay there. Curve, Revolut and Monzo are currently in Stage 3 …
is simple enough that it passes my ‘Can you describe it to your mate in the club in 30 seconds?’ test:
What countries can I use Currensea? Wilko Currensea Card
It is a complimentary direct debit card to use abroad and which immediately charges all purchases to your existing current account in Sterling, less a little 0.5% cost.
You don’t (yet …) earn any airline miles or points for utilizing it.
Why would I want to get a card?
If you have a credit card offering 0% forex fees, then you don’t require a card, unless you want free ATM withdrawals. You can stop checking out now.
However, credit cards which use rewards and charge 0% FX costs are scarce. The only ‘miles and points’ choices which provide a partial option are the Virgin Atlantic credit cards which have 0% FX charges in the Euro zone.
IS perhaps for you if:
you don’t have a charge card offering 0% FX charges and do not want to affect your credit report by getting another credit card specifically to utilize abroad
you want a product which allows you to make , 500 of foreign currency ATM withdrawals monthly with no fees and only a minimal FX mark-up (there is a small charge beyond , 500).
you want a product 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 cash when travelling.
How does operate in practice?
It is, as I stated earlier, a really basic process. You use your Currensea card in the same way as your existing debit card.
You make your purchase in regional currency (any currency, worldwide).
Your current account bank instantly confirms that you have enough money in your account and authorises the deal.
The transaction goes through at either the interbank rate or the Mastercard rate, depending on the currency. If you have the totally free card, adds a 0.5% fee. If you have one of their paid cards, there are no charges.
You get an automatic spend notification through the app, if you pick to install it.
The cash is taken from your bank account a couple of 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 reveals , 4.33 scheduled to leave my HSBC account a couple of days later:.
However converting pounds was expensive.
A pet peeve of mine is when ATMs forewarn you about the daylight break-in that is practically to occur (typically in a different language) while not telling you about the expensive currency conversion fees occurring in the background. Don’t get me started. Anyway back to the positives for a bit anyhow.
In current years a handful of excellent travel debit cards have popped onto the scene … and like other great cards Currensea assures big savings (85%) and a great app.
However I believe the very best bit might be what no other card does: connects to your existing high street checking account.
What this suggests is you can spend money you have in your existing bank account with less fret about running out of cash and the additional step. But that does not suggest it is ideal.
In this Currensea evaluation is the good, the bad, the ugly and the alternatives, so that you can choose.
While our premium plans have no FX markup, we charge a small FX markup on our Important Plan of 0.5% per transaction, allowing us to make revenue from our Important Plan whilst staying much cheaper than other pre-paid cards and high-street debit cards. We also charge an FX markup on ATM use over the complimentary amount on all our strategies, full details can be found on our pricing plans.
We charge an annual subscription charge of , 25 for our Premium Strategy, and , 120 for our Elite Strategy. The membership charge also gets rid of all FX markup on deals.
Each time you invest with your card we get a little % of the deal, known as interchange, this comes straight from the merchant and will not be credited you. Wilko Currensea Card