New research(1) from financial services research company, reveals the average foreign exchange spread on debit, credit and prepaid currency cards when buying Euros is 2.44%, 2.21% and 2.82% respectively.  The corresponding figures in January 2015 were 2.42%, 2.4% and 2.59%.

Centtrip is a Global Currency Account with an online payment platform and multi-currency prepaid MasterCard® card created to serve the needs of companies and affluent individuals with a commitment to international bank payments and travel. Customers can purchase currency spread free and send payments worldwide in all major and most exotic currencies direct from their account. They can also deposit funds to hold on account or transfer to associated cards in up to 14 currencies at a guaranteed fixed fee of no more than 0.5%.

With instant access to the live market, Centtrip customers are able to take advantage of market highs and avoid the lows when purchasing currency, which they can then hold on their account before transferring to their currency card at a later date. Centtrip enables customers to have total control over the way they manage their currency when travelling abroad.

In addition to spread free exchange rates, there is no charge for point-of-sale transactions with the currency card at over 35 million locations and a fixed international fee of £1.60 at 2.1 million cash point machines worldwide displaying the MasterCard Acceptance Mark.

Looking at four different scenarios(2) for buying Euros and taking into account exchange rates and charges, MoneyComms found a huge difference in the total ‘cost’ in buying foreign currency.  Centtrip’s analysis(3) revealed that on buying £5,000 worth of Euros, for example, choosing the wrong pre-paid currency card would mean that you could receive over €240 less.

MoneyComms found that for someone buying £1,500 of Euros, customers using a Centtrip card would save £26.71 and £22.65 when compared to the average credit and debit card respectively. It also found it offers savings of around 48.5% when compared to other prepaid currency cards.

Savings increase when purchasing larger sums of foreign currency, and Centtrip’s card comes with significantly higher balances and spend limits compared to £5,000 or £6,000 for most other prepaid currency cards(4).  For example, buying £20,000 of Euros to transfer to a Centtrip card would save you around £406 against an average credit card spend of the same amount, £424 against a typical prepaid currency card and £429 when compared to a debit card.

The research revealed that the savings offered by Centtrip were even more favourable when compared against the US Dollar.

Breakdown of cost saving by using the Centtrip pre-paid card against the average cost of using a credit card, debit or prepaid currency card

Card type Total cost  on buying £1,500 in Euros
Centtrip* Average Saving
Credit card £22.30 £49.01 £26.71
Debit card £22.30 £44.95 £22.65
Prepaid currency card £22.30 £43.29 £20.99
Card type Total cost Fees on annual spend of £20,000
Centtrip* Average Saving
Credit card £142.00 £548.17 £406.17
Debit card £142.00 £571.29 £429.29
Prepaid currency card £142.00 £566.02 £424.02

Brian Jamieson, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Centtrip said: “Our research shows the huge impact spreads and charges can have when you buy foreign currency and, how these are not always made clear to customers.

“When we launched last year, our aim was to bring complete transparency and fairness to the currency market. We believe that our global account combined with the online payment platform and currency card achieve this with direct access to buy currency from the live market with spread free exchange rates.  We also give customers online access to manage their account and view all transactions in real time.”

Andrew Hagger of MoneyComms said: “Using a prepaid currency card such as Centtrip when abroad will keep your charges to a minimum even if you only venture outside the UK a couple of times each year. It makes perfect sense to keep it in the drawer with you passport as part of your essential travel kit.”

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