Centtrip with its multi-currency accounts is one innovative startup from London’s fintech scene that has been generating lots of interest and positive feedback from business travelers and travel managers alike. Sam Johnston tells us why:
Sam – you offer business travelers prepaid multi-currency cards, among other things. Why is your solution so much better and more affordable than conventional cards?
You can use our Pre-Paid Global MasterCards simultaneously with the 14 most commonly traded currencies. This makes them very attractive as it removes the need to have multiple cards across multiple providers and is the reason why our footprint with companies and their business travelers is growing incredibly quickly.
Customers pay only a small set fee for the initial transfer to the Centtrip System. And then you have direct access to the live market, meaning no foreign exchange fees are incurred.
You can exchange currencies for free! Travelers or someone from their finance department can manage their cards and transactions via a web portal and app.
This saves companies that often use foreign currencies a significant amount of money and allows them to become efficient managing their exposures and requirements. Then, there is, of course, real-time reporting of expenses that is configured by travel managers or controllers in such a way that they always have everything under control.
So that means internationally-oriented companies are your main customers?
Yes, from three-member international advisory teams to global groups, our customers are companies of all sizes. They are really to understand in detail what their foreign exchange is costing them and have a system to help them manage their treasury in its entirety.
Companies simply open a business account with Centtrip and give their business travelers branded cards to feature their company logo. They also benefit from the uncomplicated transparent fee structure and the technology that encompass a wide degree of foreign exchange products and services.
You have mentioned that Robbie Williams uses Centtrip too?
Since inception we have grown a vast and loyal client base. Industries that have truly benefitted from us are the Music and Entertainment industries. In this case it’s ie: Music, the company that organizes Robbie Williams’ world tours.
They once figured out the incredible amount of money they were paying to banks for simple currency conversions. The savings with Centtrip are enormous.
Robbie Williams becomes essentially a business of his own when embarking on a world tour and needs to manage expenses and travel costs of his team. With Centtrip he is able to manage global payments, cards and deposits in one single place. The multi-currency cards allow him to swap between currencies as he enters a new country to entertain.
Who are your main contacts at the companies?
Both people from finance and travel managers. People from treasury departments, of course, love this extremely cheap and simple way of working with multiple currencies.
Tell us a little about Centtrip as a company.
Our founders come from classical foreign exchange trade. They were very successful there but noticed that high fees and lack of transparency had no future. In 2013 they decided to implement a completely new disruptive business model with Centtrip.
The Centtrip investor pool is a diverse collection of sophisticated, respected and influential entrepreneurs and business leaders. Investors include the founder of the UK’s most successful online hotel reservations company, former CEOs and Chairmen of EMI and United Biscuits, a former Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, Executive Directors of international commodities traders Trafigura and Vitol, a current senior executive of Credit Suisse and successful innovators and owners from the international music, leisure, property and marketing sectors.
The company is still owned by private investors.
Sam Johnston in private: Where were you born and where do you live now?
I am originally from Salisbury, a small medieval city about 150 km southwest of London. It is famous for having England’s largest cathedral and Stonehenge just 9 km away.
Now I live in Central London and have been here a while. The variety and the speed of this wonderful city fascinates me each and every day.
As an Englander, you must be a football fan. Which team do you follow?
I follow Fulham – which means I unfortunately suffer more the agony of defeat than celebrate the thrill of victory. But I really like watching the games at small old Craven Cottage right on the River Thames. It has much more character than any of those mega-stadiums nearby.
Thank you for the interview!