Whether you’re planning a 2-week break abroad or you live overseas, withdrawing cash can be a costly endeavour. Not only do most high street banks charge you a flat fee to use your card in another country, but you’ll likely get a highly adverse exchange rate.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for banks to add 2-3% on top of the inter-bank rate – sometimes more. As such, it’s well worth considering the merits of Currensea. The platform offers a fully-fledged travel card with one key difference – the card is linked to your everyday current account.
This is highly beneficial, as not only will you benefit from super-low foreign exchange fees, but there is no requirement to top-up your card manually. Instead, you can use it as if it was your standard debit card – as all transactions will be automatically debited from your bank account.
Fancy finding out more about what Currensea is and how it works? If so, be sure to read our in-depth Currensea Review.
What is Currensea?
- 1 What is Currensea?
- 2 How Much Does Currensea Cost?
- 3 What Banks Does Currensea Support?
- 4 How Does Currensea Compare?
- 5 Is Currensea Safe? What if I Lose my Card?
- 6 How do I get Started With Currensea?
- 7 Currensea Review: The Verdict?
- 8 Currensea
- 9 Pros
- 10 Cons
In a nutshell, Currensea is a travel debit card provider that claims to offer super-low foreign exchange fees. The card allows you to reduce your ATM withdrawals and in-person transactions by 85% – as per Currensea itself. The overarching selling point of the platform is that you can link your Currensea debit card to your standard bank account.
This is a major plus-point, as most travel cards require you top it up manually. Moreover, you typically need to wait a number of hours (or even days) for the funds to arrive on your card, which is super-inconvenient.
This is in stark contrast to how Currensea works, as you are merely linking the card with your current account. Crucially, the card comes with much more favourable rates in comparison to using your standard debit card – such as those offered by the likes of HSBC, Natwest, or RBS.
How Much Does Currensea Cost?
First and foremost, it is important to note that Currensea is a recently launched venture. As such, it is still adding a number of features and benefits to its platform – including that of a premium account. As such, at the time of writing, you will only be able to obtain the free plan.
You will not pay any fees to apply for a card, nor is there a monthly or annual charges of any sort. When it comes to the exchange rates on offer, you will get 0.5% above the wholesale rate.
This is very competitive, as high street banks will typically add 2-3%. Furthermore, Currensea will not charge you any ATM withdrawal fees when using the card abroad.
This is great, as high street banks will usually charge you a flat fee per withdrawal. For example, you might get charged a 2.5% foreign transaction fee, plus £1. In the case of using your Currensea card for the same transaction, these fees would not be charged.
Some travel cards will only give you the best exchange rate during standard market hours, which are between Monday and Friday. As such, you are sometimes forced to pay a higher price if the transaction is made during the weekend. Once again, this isn’t the case with Currensea, so you’ll always get the wholesale rate +0.5%.
No Cap on Low Fees
An additional benefit of using Curresea over other travel card suppliers in the market is that you will not have your low-fees capped. For example, you’ll often find that you get fee-free ATM withdrawals with other providers, but only up to the first £200 per month. Fortunately, all transactions facilitated with your Currensea card will benefit from the above rates.
However, you do need to make considerations regarding ATM withdrawal limits. This is set at a very measly £500 per month. This means that you will be unable to use Currensea as your propitiatory long-term travel card. For example, if you’re a digital nomad that spends a considerable amount of time outside of the UK, this likely won’t be suitable. You can, however, make as many in-person or online transactions as you like.
With that being said, although Currensea is yet to release information on what the premium account will come with, it is hoped that it will increase the £500 monthly ATM limit.
What Banks Does Currensea Support?
Currensea is a newly launched service, so only a limited number of UK banks are currently supported. Check out the list below to see if your bank can link-up with the Currensea card.
- Bank of Scotland
- First Direct
- Lloyds Bank
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- Ulster Bank
If your bank is not listed above, you won’t be able to use Currensea until the platform supports it. However, you can add yourself to the waiting list via the Currensea homepage.
Simply enter your email address and the name of the financial institution you bank with – and you’ll be notified when the integration has been completed.
How Does Currensea Compare?
We really like the comparison chart that Currensea lists on its site. As the specific cost savings will depend on where you use your card, the platform bases its calculations on spending $2,000 in the United States over the weekend. This consists of a $1,600 in-person transaction, and $400 withdrawn from an ATM.
Based on an exchange rate of 0.5% above the mid-market rate, the transactions would cost you just £7.70 with Currensea. The same transactions would cost you £49.71 with both RBS and Barclays, and £56.51 with HSBC.
Is Currensea Safe? What if I Lose my Card?
Currensea is authorized and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that the platform must comply with a range of consumer protections that are in place to keep your money safe.
If you misplace your Currensea card, you can log in to your account portal and freeze it. On the off chance that the card turns up, you can then unfreeze it and continue to use the card as normal. If not, you can simply order a new one.
Moreover, even though you will be required to link your bank account via Currensea, the platform will never have access to your account, or any transactions that you make without the Currensea card.
How do I get Started With Currensea?
Like the sound of what Currensea offers? As long as you are based in the UK, and your bank account is listed in the section above, you should be good to go. Simply follow the step-by-step guidelines we have listed below to get your Currensea account opened today!
Step 1: Apply Online
You will first need to head over to the Currensea website and click on ‘GET MY CARD’.
Step 2: Enter Your Personal Details
You will then need to provide Currensea with some personal information. Make sure you enter the information correctly, as you might need to verify this at a later stage
This will include your:
- First and Last Name
- Home Address
- Date of Birth
- Current UK Bank Provider
- Mobile Number
- Email Address
Currensea notes that in the vast majority of cases, it will be able to verify your identity electronically – meaning that you won’t need to upload any ID documents. However, if it is unable to do this – maybe because you are not on the electoral roll or you are new to the UK, you might need to supply a copy of your passport or driver’s license.
Step 3: Link Your UK Bank Account
You will be asked to link your UK current account with Currensea. The specific linking process will vary depending on the financial institution that you bank with. However, you normally get the option of doing the link-up via online banking or through your mobile banking app.
Nevertheless, when you click on the ‘GO TO MY BANK’ button, you will be redirected to your banking login page. Upon entering your credentials, you will be automatically directed back to the Currensea website.
Step 4: Wait for Your Card and then Activate it
Once you have linked your bank account, Currensea will then post your debit card to your home address. The card should arrive within 1-3 working days. Once it does, you will then need to activate it.
All you need to do is log in to your Currensea dashboard, and follow the steps outlined.
Currensea Review: The Verdict?
In summary, you should never attempt to use an everyday debit card issued by your high street bank when traveling abroad. Not only will you pay an exchange rate that is often 2-3% above the wholesale rate, but you will likely pay a flat fee every time you use the card.
Although there are heaps of specialist travel prepaid cards in the UK market, most are somewhat cumbersome to use. This is because you need to keep topping up the card, and deposits often take hours – if not days, before they are credited. Moreover, it’s a nightmare trying to get your cash back off of the card if you underspend.
As such, Currensea solves these issues by allowing you to link your card with your current account. Once you do, it’s like you are using your everyday bank account on holiday, albeit, you’ll benefit from super-low fees.
This includes an exchange rate that is just 0.5% above the wholesale rate, and ATM withdrawals that are fee-free.