We let you spend abroad directly from your existing bank account at fair rates and without charges.” – Currensea

Currensea was founded in June 2018 by Craig Goulding and James Lynn. These two have an impressive history with Foreign Exchange (FX) and open banking. Currensea was made for those who spend a lot of time abroad and are looking for the easiest way to save on FX fees. Consequently, their debit card has now been used in over 120 countries.

This FinTech leverages open banking to connect your existing UK bank account to their Currensea card. They claim that linking to their Currensea card can save at least 85% on FX fees and there aren’t any additional fees for ATM cash withdrawals. However, there is a £500 limit on ATM withdrawals per month with no additional FX fee, over £500 there is either 1.5% or 1% FX mark up depending on the customer plan. All you have to do is order a card and then link it to your existing bank account. The next step is to not forget taking your Currensea Card abroad, then use it like normal and enjoy the reduced FX fees.

Currensea princing plans

The FinTech offer thee different plans:

  • Essential (£0/year) offers an FX exchange rate at only 05% above wholesale.
  • Premium (£25/year) has no mark up, so offers at wholesale.
  • Elite (£120/year) 0% mark up and 100% saving against the banks.

Open Banking & PSD2

We define ‘open banking’ as a model in which banking data is shared between two or more unaffiliated parties to deliver enhanced capabilities to the marketplace.” – Mckinsey Insights

Open banking is initiative which is in compliance with the PSD2 legislation (second Payment Services Directive). This was set by the EU to enhance the sharing of banking data with third parties. The aim is to enhance competition and allow for innovative new FinTechs to offer better services to customers, in collaboration with their banks. The UK government has been welcoming this change. However, other EU countries are late in implementing this regulation to their top banks, meaning they still hold a monopoly over customers’ data.

How Does Currensea use Open Banking?

Currensea does not hold your account balance, it is still held and protected by the existing bank. Due to the open banking initiative, banks are able to share your details (with your permission). With each transaction, the money is initially sent to the Currensea account, then instantly redirected to the recipient. This way Currensea acts as an intermediary and simply conducts the overseas transaction with their technology. Meaning the user can benefit from reduced FX fees. This is without needing to sign up to a new bank, prepaid card or exchange cash before a trip.

Environmental Commitment

The company is working to ensure, that their operation goes ethical, transparent and responsible with society and the environment. As a result, Currensea was certificate by Carbon Neutral Britain by offset their carbon footprint by planting trees, supporting local communities in reducing their reliance on fossil fuels, and creating more renewable energy sources.

In addition, there are focused on reducing the impact of their plastic card by committed to removing 2.5 times the plastic they produce every year. They do this by supporting Plastic Bank, who recover and recycle ocean plastic.