“We Saw that people were tired of confusing charges and of being taken advantage at every turn,” says Graham Smith, Managing Director of Volopa. “Both in their international travel expenses and buying and selling foreign exchange. It’s why Volopa was born.”

The company takes a new approach to luxury and corporate travel: it removes all the hidden charges from making payments abroad, opting instead for complete transparency on all charges and giving its customers choice as well as great savings.

Authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority, Volopa issues clients with a Mastercard™ pre-paid debit card, the Volopa Lifestyle Card, onto which they can load and hold up to 14 currencies at any one time, via a smartphone app. This enables them to withdraw money from ATMs and pay all hotel bills and expenses as if they were using local currency. There is no fee for loading the card and, once loaded, funds can be moved into any of the 14 currencies that the card supports for just a 1 per cent charge (bank-issued credit or debit cards traditionally operate with hidden charges of up to 8 per cent). The card also works in 122 other currencies.

The Volopa user sees the exchange rates at which they can buy the different currencies on their phone and can compare them instantly against all competitors. “Volopa has its own foreign-exchange engine, which means that transactions are processed at lightning speed,” says Graham. “The card is a Mastercard, so it travels well and is accepted at more than 35 million outlets around the world.”

A Volopa card does away with the need to carry large quantities of foreign currency or coming home with bank notes you are unlikely to be able to use again, so it is a very smooth and efficient way to travel through multiple currency zones, either on business or for pleasure. It also streamlines the process for financial controllers: executive travellers no longer have to file expenses as everything is accounted for in real time on the card. It reduces both the cost and time in accounting for international expenses and forms a financial link between the company and its executive, so additional funds can be credited to the card in seconds to settle those unexpected expenses or an extended stay.

The security on the Volopa card is also greatly increased as the card is designed to travel. It won’t be blocked just because it is used in different countries in quick succession, which avoids the reputational damage of a card being declined in error. It’s one reason why it is becoming the card of choice for many private banks and high-net-worth users. Volopa can brand its card for corporate clients, for use by executives and (in some cases) by their clients as they travel.

The card also incorporates discounts at thousands of hotels, restaurants and health spas around the world under its Lifestyle Programme where discounts are applied automatically, so the user does not need to carry multiple loyalty cards.

After each discount transaction users get a message on their phone telling them how much is being paid back onto their card. “The transparency of charges and the pursuit of excellence in all areas of our operations provides reassurance to Volopa’s highly valued customers,” says Graham. “We deliver the most cost-effective, secure and professional services they could wish for. It does exactly what it says on the tin, a novelty in this day and age!”