Monday 5 October 2020 12:01 am

London fintech Currensea launches product for small businesses

London-based fintech Currensea has today launched a debit card for SMEs, built on open banking, to help with overseas transactions. 

The first-of-its-kind debit card enables small businesses to make international transactions through their existing bank account without any bank charges and with low fees competitive with leading challenger banks. 

The new Mastercard, which costs just £5 a month, offers 16 interbank currencies, including the South African Rand and Thai Baht, which no other UK provider currently offers fee-free. 

Founded in 2018 by former JP Morgan and Barclays employees, Currensea’s consumer card has been used in over 120 countries since its launch in January. It offers the same benefits as the frictionless, cheap transactions as the SME service launching today. 

Co-founder James Lynn recognises the competition from the likes of Monzo and Starling Bank among millennials, but the over-34s, who make 73 per cent of trips abroad, are the least served in the space.

Speaking to City A.M. Lynn said older customers are the “the least likely to take a secondary product, whether that be a prepaid card or another bank, just because of inconvenience”.

And the popularity of the product was abundantly clear on launch, when it attracted 5,000 cardholders in the first quarter alone.

It has amassed £5m in funding and attracted the likes of the former boss of Amazon UK and chief investment officer of Worldpay to its board. 

The initial popularity among consumers, particularly freelancers, prompted Currensea to look at a business product, Lynn told City A.M.

Currensea’s offering will help struggling SMEs

“Following the success of our consumer launch, it was a no-brainer to offer the same service to SMEs. SMEs share many of the same consumer pain points, but in a way they’re even harder hit by the pain points associated with international spending because the process of setting up a bank account is even more complex and costly, especially as they grow and scale”, he said.

“As an SME ourselves we recognise how difficult it is to open up a bank account and switching bank accounts. It’s hard to build relationships with the bankers”, Lynn told City A.M. 

Currensea’s SME service is primarily targeting goods and services, which could be paying for online services or software, with travelling as a secondary market. 

And Lynn thinks this is integral to small businesses who are already struggling due to a combination of the pandemic and Brexit. “If we can save them over three per cent on every single foreign exchange transaction using their card, then hopefully we can really help.”

Commenting on today’s launch, Edoardo Volta, head of fintechs at Mastercard said: “We’ve been working closely with Currensea over recent years, and are committed to supporting them as they promote their consumer and business offerings to travellers and SMEs alike.”