Exclusive: Currensea hits crowdfunding target in just two hours, raising £2m



Digital Banking

The travel card connects directly to customers’ bank accounts, removing the faff and the FX fees.

Exclusive: Currensea hits crowdfunding target in just two hours, raising £2m

Image source: Currensea.

Direct debit travel card Currensea has smashed its crowdfunding goals, surpassing its target in just two hours.

The company closed the round after three weeks having raised more than £2m from 829 investors, £1.35m of which came in a matter of hours after the campaign went live on Seedrs.

The money-saving travel card links to existing current accounts and sits on top of a high street bank account.

The card removes the high FX fees associated with most high street banks as well as the friction of transferring money to a secondary account at a challenger bank when travelling abroad.

Currensea calculated that UK travellers currently spend £2.7bn in FX fees annually by using their bank cards abroad, but despite this only around eight million adults in the UK use a product to save money when travelling abroad.

“Prepays and challenger banks have been doing this for 20 years now, and that’s still not mass market penetration, that’s still quite niche,” Currensea co-founder James Lynn told AltFi.

“So there is a real problem here, which we’re solving, which is [that] people ultimately don’t want a secondary account, they really want to use one bank account […] and they want that bank to offer a great service, and no fees, but they can’t get that.”

The other option, he suggested, is to open a secondary account, which brings with it the challenge of remembering to top up your account, keep track of spending etc.

“I think [the experience] leaves a lot of people a little bit cold, because it’s just a hassle factor,” he added.

Currensea estimates that it saves customers at least 85 per cent on every transaction abroad by removing normal fees put in place by banks and card providers and acting in conjunction with high street banks to provide a reduced FX rate.

It also gives customers the option of putting the money they save towards good causes, whether that’s removing plastic from the oceans or planting trees.

It has also started partnering with charities and other organisations to automatically donate money or round up on every spend.

Timed well, the crowdfund opened as international holidays begin to pick up again and the travel industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Half of the investors that took part in the crowdfund were existing Currensea customers, and it reached a total of £2,091,618 when it closed.

“I think a lot of it really shows what people think of the product,” Lynn said.

“They love the product, they’ve used it and been on holiday and they’ve come around [and] actually want to get behind it and put money into it and invest.”

This round is the third for the company, and follows a crowdfund in 2019, where it raised just shy of £1m, hitting 114 per cent of its target and a smaller crowdfund in 2020.

The company plans to build on the rapid growth it has seen this year, with cardholder numbers doubling in 2022 and more than 45,000 signups, with the aim of hitting 300,000 customers by 2024.

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