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Currensea vs Caxton review - How they compare

Who is Caxton FX?

Caxton FX offers foreign exchange services in many forms including money transfer and their travel currency card. Since launching in 2002, the privately-owned business has offered foreign exchange services to both consumers and SMEs. 

For the sake of this comparison, we will be focusing solely on the Caxton FX multi-currency card business.

*Rates and charges shown are correct as of 21st October 2021

What card options and plans do Caxton offer?

Caxton currently offers two plans, Caxton Black which is their free subscription, and Caxton Red which costs users £5 per month. 

Both prepaid Mastercards offer no fees but Caxton Red offers better FX exchange rates when loading the card and perks such as rewards when spending in the UK for the £60 annual fee.


What are Caxton's fees when spending abroad?

When looking through their terms and conditions it is important to ensure that you have enough of the desired currency loaded onto your card otherwise they will settle funds in another currency, which will incur an additional FX fee (section 21 of their Terms and Conditions). 

Fees and limits are subject to variation in accordance with the Agreement.”

While there are no set out fees it is important to consider the foreign exchange margin added when you load the card.

Caxton FX fees and rates

Based on their website calculator vs the interbank rate on 24th August 2021

As you can see, FX fees are only applied to their free card and you get a better rate when exchanging over £1000 worth of currency. Due to Caxton not disclosing this FX fee, they can alter this at any time, so while you may think you are always getting a certain rate, it would be prudent to keep checking.

What are the different charges applied by Caxton over the FX fee?

There are a fair few different charges for Caxton black card and depending on how you end up using the card, these could mount up over a trip. These range from balance enquiry checks at ATMs to removing your money from the card at the end of a trip.

Caxton_vs_Currensea compare Caxton subscriptions Source: https://www.caxtonfx.com/cards/legal/terms-and-conditions/caxton-red-account-prepaid-card
(last reviewed 25/08/21)

What are the different limits applied by Caxton?

Caxton has set several limits including minimum and maximum load amounts, this is not uncommon and you will find most if not all prepaid travel cards have limits. It is important to check the limits to ensure that you choose a card that suits your needs.

Caxton card limitsSource: https://www.caxtonfx.com/cards/legal/terms-and-conditions/caxton-red-account-prepaid-card
(last reviewed 25/08/21)


Caxton is an E-money institution rather than a bank, the main difference between the two is the protection of your funds. This just means that is you have a large sun on your Caxton card, you may not be fully protected if something goes wrong. The FCA is working hard to ensure the proper safeguarding of consumer funds, but it is important to check before loading your cash that you'll be protected. You can find out more in our blog here.

As both Caxton cards are prepaid cards you will also not benefit from the same Mastercard Chargeback protection as you would when spending with a Mastercard Debit card. If you are making large purchases, it may be worth looking at what protection you receive from other cards.

Why would you use a Caxton prepaid travel card? 

Generally, if you are using the Caxton Card in one of the main currencies it offers or just loading GBP onto it, then its fees do work out cheaper than your high-street bank account. Caxton also allows you to preload at any time, so you may like the functionality of being able to separate your holiday spend from your main bank account - and being able to preload and exchange when the rate is good.

Who is Currensea?

Currensea was founded by James Lynn and Craig Goulding in 2018, then launched in 2019 aimed at reducing hidden FX fees for travellers when spending abroad and the hassle of topping up or prepaying. 

Currensea is the UK’s best rated travel debit card. The layer in front of your current bank account, saving you money, giving you extra security and making your bank work that bit harder for you.

What are Currensea offering?

Currensea's travel debit card partners with your current bank account to save you at least 85% on the high-street banks fees and charges on all overseas transactions. Unlike other travel money cards, there is no need to prepay, no need to top-up and no need for a new bank account. Spend as seamlessly abroad as you do at home, with the money only debited from your existing bank account after you’ve spent.

What are the different charges applied by Currensea?

Currensea offers 15 currencies at the real (interbank)  exchange rate and 165 currencies at the Mastercard exchange rate (which is the rate also used by Monzo, Starling and many other FinTechs). When signing up for the free plan, users will be charged at a flat FX mark-up rate of 0.5% over these two base rates - with no extra charges over a certain amount or at weekends, it's that simple.

What card options and plans does Currensea offer?

Currensea currently offers three pricing plans. The Essential plan is free to use, the Premium plan is £25 per year and the Elite plan is £120 per year. The Essential Plan charges 0.5% FX per transaction, whereas the Premium and Elite plan incur no fees. The Elite plan also includes a host of exclusive benefits and memberships, as well as the exclusive Currensea black card. 

Currensea has no additional weekend charges, or fair usage limits on any plan.

Pricing plans offered by Currensea

So how does Currensea compare to Caxton?

Currensea vs. Caxton (free plans compared) 

Caxton vs Currensea free plans compared

Currensea vs. Caxton (paid plans compared) 

Currensea vs. Caxton paid plans compared

In real terms what is cheaper (and when)?

Currensea is cheaper on all transactions on the free card. While Caxton says that it doesn’t charge you any fees, their fees happen at the point you exchange your currency (be it from pounds sterling or from a currency into another). So if you were going to Europe and budgeted around EUR500, on Caxton this would cost you around £439, whereas Currensea Essential would cost you £430 - saving you £10 over the course of this trip alone.

If you are looking to travel more regularly and have decided to upgrade to the premium plan on either Caxton or Currensea, their rates are exactly the same. However, it’s important to note that the annual subscript of Caxton is more expensive at £60 a year whereas Currensea works out at £25 - so an annual saving of £35.

View our comparison table to find out more including how we calculated the above charges.