In recent years currency travel cards have become more popular as travellers look to reduce the cost of making purchases and ATM withdrawals overseas.
There are a range of travel cards on the market, some are multicurrency, some require you to preload a specific currency before you travel to lock in a fixed exchange rate.
These travel cards have differing fee structures although most are still a cheaper option that using your bank debit and credit cards.
Why is Currensea different?
Currensea offers a physical MasterCard that you link to your existing current account, the beauty is that you don’t have to worry about preloading with Euros or Dollars before you set off and the FX fees are a fraction of those charged by most UK debit and credit cards.
Another plus point is that Currensea doesn’t charge a dormancy fee if you don’t use the card , unlike some cards where you’ll pay £2 or more per month from your balance if you haven’t used it in 12 or 18 months.
What’s the application process?
Applying for the card is a quick and painless process, you enter your details and link your bank account (via your existing online banking), download the app and then wait for your card to be delivered – mine took 2 working days, so no complaints there.
Once the card arrives you simply activate it online or via the app and you’re good to go.
The card is linked to your chosen bank account which means you can spend whatever funds you have available in your current account.
What does it cost?
The card comes with three price plans – Essential, Premium and Elite.
I opted for essential which comes with no annual fee and offers a competitive 0.5% FX loading on purchases.
For ATM withdrawals the same 0.5% FX charge applies and there are no additional charges for the first £500 taken out of the ATM each month – anything above this monthly limit attracts a 2% fee.
For frequent travellers the premium plan (£25 per annum) or elite (£120 per annum) may be more cost effective as they come with lower FX pricing and additional features – you can compare the three plans here.
It’s certainly a more cost-effective means of paying and withdrawing cash abroad for me – if I used my bank debit card instead the charges are 2.75% FX loading for all transactions (purchases and cash at ATM) plus a 2% fee (min £1.75 max £5) ATM withdrawal fee.
I’m looking forward to using this when I go on holiday later this year and I’ll update this article then – but for me it’s a case of so far so good and I’m looking forward to spending less of my holiday budget on fees and more on cold beer!