Every sector has been digitising to keep up with the evolving financial trends in the world, and many will be happy to hear that charities are no different. One way they are able to benefit from digitisation is when companies like Currensea, the open banking-powered, money-saving debit card linked to existing bank accounts, launch roundup functions as part of its ‘powered by’ service, allowing customers to make charitable donations when spending in the UK and abroad.
‘Powered-by’ is a first-of-its-kind concept, launched in 2021, which allows charities to issue branded cards to their supporters so they can round up UK spending or convert savings made on overseas spending into charity donations.
The Currensea card uses open banking to connect directly to someone’s bank account with their approval, allowing travellers to make overseas transactions directly from funds in their current account, whilst saving at least 85 per cent on foreign exchange fees – customers can then opt to donate all or part of these savings to charity.
For the first time, Currensea is also now allowing its cards to be used for spending in the UK, offering users to use the roundup function to donate to charity.
Currensea’s customers can opt to round up UK spending, when using the card in-store or online, to the nearest 5p and automatically donate this to the St Martin’s Trust. Open banking allows roundups to be completed in real-time, offering customers increased control over their finances as they can see how much has left their account immediately.
As the average person makes 380 debit card transactions per year in the UK, this new partnership offers the St Martin’s Trust a potential donation of almost £24 per person, including Gift Aid, from roundup spending in the UK alone.
When spending abroad, Currensea allows its users to access the best foreign exchange (FX) rates at only 0 per cent to 0.5 per cent above the FX base rate. With high street banks charging 3-5 per cent per transaction abroad, Currensea saves at least 85 per cent on every overseas transaction by cutting out the normal fees and these savings can also be donated. For example, a user spending $1500 while visiting the USA can choose to contribute 50 per cent of their savings – over £20 – while still saving money on foreign exchange.
James Lynn, Co-Founder of Currensea, comments: “This is another major announcement after the recent launch of ‘powered-by’. We’re delighted to be partnering with one of London’s most iconic institutions and offering another great option for customers looking for more control over how they spend their money. “This partnership is a great example of the opportunity embedded finance can offer – charities can embrace a fintech approach without the high costs of developing the tech infrastructure and reap the benefits of streamlining the donation process.
“Not only can Currensea customers avoid the high foreign exchange they typically face when spending abroad, but they can also now support charitable causes such as St. Martin’s instantly and automatically by donating part of or all these savings directly.
“Rounding up spending is a simple way of giving back to our community, with a small contribution making all the difference. Unlike some roundup schemes which deduct a total amount at the end of the month, open banking ensures that roundups on the Currensea card are made in real time so customers can clearly see their donation and the total amount deducted from their account immediately – this makes managing their money easier than ever before.”
Through its partnership with Global Processing Services (GPS), Currensea established several firsts in the payments industry including becoming the UK’s first Open Banking-enabled direct debit travel card, to now bringing that same technology to the charity sector.
Joanne Dewar, Chief Executive Officer at GPS, said: “In the four years since its launch, we are only just scratching the surface of Open Banking’s potential to help drive the global progress toward financial empowerment through next-generation payments. That’s why we’re delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with Currensea by supporting its second phase of the ‘powered by’ initiative with St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Together we have created a truly ground-breaking programme whereby our API-first cloud-based platform powers Currensea to bridge the gap between fintech and all major high-street banks, allowing its customers to donate to charity however and wherever they want.”
St Martin-in-the-Fields Trust works with many of London’s most vulnerable communities and donations from using the Currensea card will be used to support projects including the upkeep of the historic building, community projects such as St Martin’s Voices choir and projects including 18 Keys which aims to improve the lives of women moving away from homelessness.
Typically, homelessness services are more geared to men than women, the 18 Keys project supports homeless women and includes transforming accommodation space and creating safe spaces to house women and support and encourage future independence. More information can be found in notes to editors below.
Katy Shaw, Director of St Martin-in-the-Fields, comments: “This is a great option for our supporters looking for a simple way to donate to the vital causes that St. Martins continues to champion. A 5p donation may not seem like much to many people, but for charities, it’s part of an integral contribution that can change lives. Also, rather than wasting money on overseas foreign exchange fees, Currensea’s card is a fantastic option to save money and donate to charity at the same time. It’s a unique way for donors to continue their support whilst saving costs on their travel fees when spending abroad.”
This is the latest partnership in Currensea’s unique ‘powered by’ programme, other partnerships include the Cameron Bespolka Trust, a charity that encourages young people to connect with nature and animals.