Hello readers, and welcome to the Currensea blog!
In this very first blog post, we would like to talk about why we started Currensea and how it will help travellers.
Transaction fees and far-from-the-best exchange rates are an inevitable part of going abroad. It’s a kind of collateral damage we accept when we travel. The solutions to this historically came with some extra hassles. You could get a prepaid travel card and top it up from your current account. Or, you could stray from your trusted high street bank and open a brand-new bank account. But what if all this necessary hassle could be avoided? That’s the very question we asked ourselves back in 2017.
We wanted to create a better solution: simple, fair and secure. A solution that never existed before.
We thought of a card that connects to your existing bank account but comes with better rates and without bank fees. Would it be something others would want to use?
Talking to the public helped us to discover whether there was, in fact, demand for this simple alternative. The result was clear. People wanted better rates but preferred to stick with the bank they know and trust.
Our surveys of over 11,000 UK adults revealed that 46% didn’t want to endure the hassle of opening a new bank account and didn’t necessarily trust new challenger banks. 54% of our respondents valued the convenience of using their existing bank account. That’s why the vast majority, particularly those living outside of London, haven’t embraced any existing solutions to reducing currency charges. We’ve summarised these results in the infographic below.
We knew UK travellers were keen on a solution to the problem, so a blueprint for Currensea was taking shape. It was also the time when the UK government had introduced Open Banking to enable 3rd parties to securely work with customers’ existing bank accounts. It meant that we could see a way to bring the Currensea vision to life.
Gaining momentum with each step, we partnered with Mastercard, and in July 2019 the Financial Conduct Authority authorised Currensea. It was our green light to launch the closed beta test to family and friends, which has so far been very successful. We’ve now tested Currensea in US, Italy, France, Russia, Switzerland and other countries. It worked seamlessly!
What’s next? In August 2019 we opened the waiting list and were excited to have had 1,000 travellers sign up in less than a month. Using Open Banking we’ve now integrated with all the major high street banks and will be adding more in the near future.
Our journey grew from the belief that everyone has the right to spend their money abroad at a fair rate and without bank fees. So far it has been immensely rewarding. Yet, it’s just the beginning – the most important thing is for us to make it work for you. We’re striving to make the next generation of spending abroad as simple as possible, and we can’t wait to share the benefits of Currensea with everyone when we start launching the card to our waiting list in October.
Currensea. It’s that simple.
James & Craig,