Currensea is one of those very clever ideas that you can’t believe anyone hasn’t thought of before. It was recommended to me by a colleague as an ideal way to make foreign currency purchases without incurring extortionate charges or punitive exchange rates. What’s not to like?
As with all things financial, trust is very important, and I certainly didn’t want to start giving anyone my bank details or authorisation to make charges until I was absolutely certain as to the legitimacy of what I was signing up to.
My research, along with conversations with the helpful people at Currensea allayed any concerns, as well as the recommendation from someone I trust. A further disclosure is that Currensea is a partner company with Silver Travel Advisor, and I had personally been involved in the checking process before they were promoted on the website. One of the reasons I am now writing this article is to pass on the reassurance to other Silver Travellers that this is a bona fide company with a great product. It really is so much simpler to have a card which works like a debit card, deducting purchases straight from your account and avoids any need to work from separate bank accounts or topping up credit cards.
Once I had completed the form-filling and synchronised Currensea with my bank account, my shiny new card arrived, and all I had to do was to plan for my next trip armed with my new plastic friend.
Unfortunately, its arrival coincided with the another new kid on the block, this one much less welcome, and as the Coronavirus pandemic hit, my best-laid plans disintegrated and all overseas trips were cancelled or postponed. My untouched Currensea card wasn’t going anywhere, and it lay abandoned on the mantelpiece, gathering dust.
Then a chance conversation made me realise that I didn’t need to use the card overseas, but that it would be the perfect choice for any foreign currency purchase online from my desk in rainy London. I might not be able to fly to the tropics, but why not bring the tropics to NW1? Searching online, I found an interesting American clothing website with a bronzed model wearing a range of colourful tops, perfect for the beach and summer fun.
I was tempted, and then seduced. I wanted to be that girl living the summer vibe in her flame coloured silk top. It might be cold and wet here, but my spirit was in the Mediterranean, and I ordered two tops – one a blaze of orange and red, and the other a natty polka dot blue. Feeling instantly charged with summertime joie de vivre, I gave my Currensea card its first outing. The confirmation came directly to my inbox with an instant conversion of $53 to £37. What a great rate!
So far, so good. The rain continued as the days went by, and I eagerly awaited the delivery of my purchases. With the lifting of some restrictions, and even the forecast of some good weather, there would surely be an occasion or two for an outing. A bottle of fake tan, a soft focus lens, and surely I could look like that girl. Or perhaps her mother.
A couple of weeks later, a small package arrived, and I inspected the contents. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Two shirts made from starchy man-made fabric (think nylon sheets) and lapel collars (a throwback to the 70s). My adult daughters roared with laughter when I tried the shirts on; they were totally shapeless and frankly quite bizarre. The flame coloured number looked like something Noddy Holder might have worn in 1975, and the polka dot blue bore a worrying resemblance to my mother’s housecoat from the same era. Even when my daughters wore them, there was not much resemblance to the photos on the website!
I doubt I’ll be parading my new shirts on the beach, but perhaps they’ll be a useful addition to the wardrobe for 70s night at the local disco. If not, then you can never have enough dusters.
A note of warning: apparently the clothing website had poor reviews (one star only), and I was given a stern talking to on how to check consumer feedback in advance of making a purchase in future.
Disappointed but not daunted, my verdict is that the Currensea card is brilliant, and does the job perfectly. However, I’ll be a lot more careful with purchases from non-UK sites. And I’m so looking forward to travelling overseas when I can actually see what I am buying with my card, as well as cultivating that natural beach-bronzed look for real.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Currensea