Currensea offers customers a money-saving travel card linked directly to their current account. Customers can enjoy the lowest overseas fees on the market and avoid high foreign exchange (FX) rates, without the hassle of opening new accounts or topping up prepaid cards.
The Currensea card allows users to spend as seamlessly abroad as they do at home with the money being taken only after they spend, while benefiting from savings of at least 85% vs bank fees on every transaction. In a UK first, customers can get a 0% FX rate on all overseas transactions and fee-free ATM cash withdrawals up to £500 per month. We provide our users with access to the best FX rates at only 0% to 0.5% above the FX base rate, compared to banks charging 3-5% per transaction abroad.
We also allow users to support sustainable causes by opting to donate some of the savings they make on initiatives to remove plastic bottles from the ocean and tree planting – since launch, users have removed 3 million bottles from the ocean and planted over 100,000 trees.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
The inspiration behind Currensea came in 2017 when Craig and I both returned from family holidays swapping stories of the extortionate exchange fees we’d been hit with whilst paying with our debit cards. We tried existing solutions such as pre-pay cards and secondary bank accounts, but the faff of endless topping up, remembering separate balances, and the inevitable card declines meant these options ended up gathering dust in a draw. It became clear that there was a gap in the market for a simple approach to international payments that avoided the high fees charged by banks when abroad. We believed holidaymakers would be crying out for a solution that reduced costs of card spending and withdrawing their cash whilst abroad.
Just as important as reducing costs, was ensuring that our solution was simple and hassle-free. This is why we wanted to create a card that acted as the layer in front of your existing bank account. We understood that to encourage widespread adoption and truly ensure that all holidaymakers had access to our lower fees, it was vital to bypass the need to open and manage a new account or worry about topping up when on holiday.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
We launched in 2019 just ahead of the global pandemic that rocked the travel industry. However, the impact of the pandemic only confirmed our belief that a solution such as Currensea is vital. Many households face financial struggles and any opportunity to get more for their money and avoid unnecessary fees will be welcomed with open arms.
With inflation hitting a 40 year high during 2022, daily living costs have spiked and are unlikely to fall anytime soon. However, appetite for travel remains strong as does the need to secure great value on holidays and make savings count.
We also launched our ‘Powered By’ programme – a unique initiative enabling charities to offer branded debit cards to supporters so they can donate a portion of the savings they make on FX fees each time they spend. Our current partners include Dogs Trust, Royal Society of Medicine and Knight Frank – which offers a card to employees as part of their benefit packages so they can save on overseas spending as well as donate to environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.
What can we hope to see from Currensea in the future?
A major focus for 2023 will be continuing to expand our partnership programme and bringing more fantastic charities on board. We’ve got a very exciting pipeline of partners who will be launching their own branded cards in the near future.
After being selected for Mastercard’s Start Path Open Banking programme, we’re also developing our B2B activity and are currently in pilot mode on a partnership with one of the UK’s leading credit score businesses. This credit builder product will provide a boost to user’s credit scores as they spend via their branded Currensea card.
Of course, we’ll also continue to provide travellers with a solution that removes the extortionate bank fees they face each time they spend overseas to make their holiday savings stretch further!