London fintech startup Currensea has announced the launch of an open banking debit card for small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as a fresh £5 million ($6.5 million) fundraise.
Currensea allows users to pay interbank foreign exchange fees for their transactions from their main bank account using an open banking API.
The startup, founded by former chief technology officer at JPMorgan's investment division Craig Goulding and Barclays FX banker James Lynn, launched its consumer travel debit card product in January and, despite COVID-19 limiting travel, onboarded 5,000 cardholders in the first quarter alone, the company claimed.
Currensea says it now has over 10,000 users and has seen volumes remain strong as some customers use the product to take advantage of overseas e-commerce, not just travelling abroad.
"After a holiday in 2017 we were hit by annoying bank fees and we said, 'We want to be able to pay from our bank account without getting slammed from charges,'" Goulding said. "Our product is more convenient than opening up a new bank account with a challenger bank or setting up a pre-paid currency card."
The pair spent nine months developing the startup as part of a regulatory sandbox with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Mastercard to create something that works for all parties.
Currensea has raised £5 million to-date from a mixture of crowdfunding, private corporate rounds (which it cannot disclose due to an NDA) and angel investing, including from the former managing director of Amazon UK, Robin Terrell, and former Visa UK CEO Marc O'Brien.
The startup offers 70 currencies and has had transactions in 120 countries since it launched in September 2019. Currensea also allows users to see the savings they make over using a high street bank and instead use that money to plant trees instead, as a partial carbon offset.
Moving to support smaller businesses is a way of "diversifying the revenue stream," according to Lynn. It's estimated that UK small and medium-sized businesses made £700 billion in international payments in 2014, the current figure is likely higher, but some £4 billion was spent on transaction and FX fees, according to MoneyMover.
Check out Currensea's funding pitch deck below: