Currensea - Spend money abroad directly from your bank account without charges

Currensea

This is the latest sponsored post to appear on my Social media feeds. Seems like an interesting proposition?

Looks like a great team and interesting concept - but really no fees? Where the heck are they going to make all their money from? Something isn’t adding up.

And they’ve got so much cash backing them, they’re sponsoring posts to get people just to sign up for an invite code before they launch? Is this 1999?

Fascinating to see they seem to be doing live Faster payments to fund your card, perhaps taking some risk by just looking at your balance first before authorising your card payment. Could make them much more reliable than Curve.

Bit of a crap website - I got this link to give to people to register their interest, but the landing page has big ‘Sign up’ buttons that lead you to a dead end as a new customer unless you scroll down and find the ‘join our list’ box. Clearly aimed at advanced fintechers, rather than normal users - who would think you need to sign up and order a card, before joining a list to get your card delivered early.

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This is basically Curve but for FX.

They’ll make money through subscriptions and metal cards - the obvious fintech formula.

Except that it looks like they are going to use Open Banking to transfer the money from your current account.

Even cheaper than paying Visa or MC’s interchange.

Same model, different use case (FX).

From their terms and conditions:

The Exchange Rate will be 0.95% above the Interbank Rate for our Major Currencies and 0.95% above the Mastercard™ Rate for all other currencies. These rates can be found at Currensea.com and at Mastercard.co.uk

Great spot. But 0.95% is a joke in a world of Tandem and Starling.

So by “without charges” they mean a. 95% markup?
I don’t understand how they can get away with such misleading marketing.

Instantly sceptical

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Sadly, that seems to be an “accepted” distinction - bureaux de changes do the same, for example, claiming that they don’t charge commission but then have sky-high rates. I know it’s slightly different as they advertise their exact rate on a daily basis vs. setting it as variable against the Mastercard/Visa rate, but it’s always struck me as pretty outrageous that they can claim no fees/commission while offering appalling exchange rates.

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It still looks less-than-honest. Not particularly transparent at the very least.

Don’t get me wrong - they’re providing a service and deserve to be able to make a profit for that service.

But to put this on your home page:

(my bold) and then bury in your Ts&Cs:

…isn’t the way I’d want to conduct business.

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How are they going to get customers without saying “without charges” though…AND make a profit?

There’s really nothing unique about this product. Curve exists and you’ll get more from it.

That’s a crappy argument and you know it.

If you can’t make an honest claim, you’re not an honest business.

Businesses need to make money to turn a profit most people understand this as a concept and support it. You simply do not need to hide your charges in small print, opaque language and being economical with the truth.

Revolut are quite open about when they apply a markup, for example.

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Yep, that’s very dodgy and if they were covered by the ASA they wouldn’t be able to say that. You just can’t say that you have no charges, and that your FX rate comes from interbank / MC.

Wonder where they got the idea to cheat their customers? Oh:

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These are coming thick and fast.

Another day, another card with no fees that actually has quite a few

Favourites:
EUR 15 to initiate a chargeback
EUR 3 monthly service fee for your “giftcard” account

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“No service fees”

https://www.icard.com/en/legals/download-full-tariff

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry :astonished::scream::see_no_evil::joy::man_shrugging:t2::man_facepalming:t2:

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Reminds me of Viola Black!

City AM article. Not really any new info, but obviously written from a press release which focused on ‘challenger banks bad, or challenger linked to your legacy bank good’…

Are you tempted?

I’m not actually too bothered with transferring my money to an account for this tbh

Honestly, no.

My travel pair abroad is my Nationwide credit card and my Starling debit card. They work fine for me.