Voyager MONEY Q&A with Steve Fox

July 10, 2019

Since 2017, GNS has worked with Caxton FX, a leading payment card and foreign exchange specialist to help shipping companies manage cash onboard ship more easily and cost-effectively.

The GNS Voyager MONEY service enables shipping companies to optimise cash flow and increase financial controls while reducing the cost of getting cash to the ship’s master. The Voyager MONEY payment card is the first of its kind to offer shipping companies very simple, fixed annual pricing fully inclusive of all ATM, replacement card and other fees.

Many commercial vessels still carry large amounts of cash to pay for provisions, sundries and crew advances. The custom of keeping thousands of US dollars of cash in an on-board safe is inefficient in terms of business cash flow, rarely delivers the best foreign exchange rates and can carry significant logistical costs. It also makes it hard to maintain effective financial controls and increases exposure to theft and fraud.

Steve Fox, GNS’s Group Financial Controller explains how partnering with Caxton FX provides our customers with an innovative way to reduce onboard cash holdings, improve operating costs, and increase security.

What would you say is the primary benefit of Voyager MONEY to shipping companies?

“The primary benefit is purely financial. Most of our customers have to move significant amounts of money around the world, changing currencies, paying currency exchange and bank fees every time they do so. Voyager MONEY dramatically reduces the cost of international money transactions Because the rates we have negotiated with Caxton FX are excellent and transaction fees are significantly less than many banks.”

How else does GNS Voyager MONEY help manage cash onboard?

“Voyager MONEY helps cash management in lots of ways. For example; the traditional practice of holding large amounts of cash in the ship’s safe meant that significant sums were tied up for long periods of time. Now with Voyager MONEY, funds can be transferred to the vessel as they are needed, which enables companies to put valuable cash to other uses or just keep it in the bank for longer.

With Voyager MONEY, finance teams have a clear audit trail of what was spent, on what, when and by whom. Details of transactions can be accessed via the Voyager MONEY portal to provide full transparency of spending. That transparency also gives financial teams greater security and control.

Previously, if cash was went missing or was misused there was very little visibility about when or how that occurred. With Voyager MONEY, transactions can be monitored in near real time and cards can be stopped very quickly – simply uses the online portal. Transactions are also protected by MasterCard security of course.

The service can also be extended to crew for paying crew advances and overtime. Crews prefer it to cash because it’s a much more secure way to take money ashore during shore leave. Funds can also be transferred off the card to any bank account and used for international money transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram.”

Why can’t my bank do all this for me?

“The fact is, your bank probably can offer you this service, but fees are usually high. GNS/Caxton FX will work with you to show how much you could save using Voyager MONEY including the savings available on bank fees and by accessing preferential foreign exchange rates.”

If I sign up today, is there a minimum deposit required?

“No. Another one of the major benefits of using Voyager MONEY is that funds can be provided on a ‘just in time’ basis. It’s that ability to transfer small amounts of money as and when the vessel needs it, that enables you to keep your cash in the bank for longer.”

In which countries can this Voyager MONEY card be issued?

“GNS/Caxton FX can supply Voyager MONEY to any Corporate entity within the European Economic Area (EEA) and the card can be issued to any country that is not restricted by OFAC** economic and trade sanctions.”

Can Voyager MONEY be used at all ATMs worldwide, including China and Africa?

“The Voyager MONEY MasterCard is accepted by 36 million merchants worldwide. There are a few instances where Voyager MONEY Mastercard will have restrictions such as ports without ATM facilities, retail outlets that do not accept MasterCard and places with no internet access. For this reason, most Voyager MONEY users do still keep a small amount of cash onboard the vessel but still achieve significant savings when making major outlays for the vessel.

In regard to China and Nigeria in particular, Mastercard has ATM usage agreements in place with both China Construction Bank and ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) within mainland China. ICBC is the largest domestic bank with over 170,000 branches (all with ATMs). Similarly, in Nigeria, Mastercard holds partnerships with all major banks including First Bank, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Ecobank which means virtually all ATM machines in the country will accept Mastercard.”

If we issue crew cards, can the Crew member keep the card after departing the vessel and what happens when crew move between vessels?

“This is a Corporate card that can only be topped up by the Account owner (such as the Shipowner). Once there are insufficient funds left on the Mastercard, this card becomes inactive.”

“The Voyager MONEY online demo video demonstrates how shipowners can track and transfer funds between vessels in a fleet using the Voyager MONEY online portal, which is incredibly easy to use and provides a safer and more efficient means of cash handling.”

Is there a limit on the amount of Voyager MONEY cards a company can have?

“No, the GNS/Caxton FX online portal empowers the shipping company to manage their own account, giving the ability to control admin, transfer funds, distribute cards etc.”

When I use Voyager MONEY, where will my cash be held?

“Caxton FX holds all ’client money’ to the standard policy set out in the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Client Money rules. This means Caxton FX segregates  ‘Client Money’ from the company’s money and holds it separately in an EEA-regulated credit institution which has specifically acknowledged that the money in these accounts belong to Caxton FX clients and they have no right of set-off with any of the firm’s balances.

This arrangement is designed to ensure that ‘client money’” is not at risk in the unlikely event of Caxton FX getting into financial difficulties. These arrangements are checked and verified by Caxton FX’s independent auditors.”

You talk about reducing the risk with Voyager MONEY, what happens if Caxton FX or GNS go into liquidation?

“Customer funds are held by Caxton FX in an escrow account* is operated by the Royal Bank of Scotland from which deposited funds would be returned to the client. Caxton FX is fully regulated by the UK FCA and also under the FSMA 2000 and the Payment Services Regulations.

All client funds are held in designated accounts at UK institutions and are ring-fenced to safeguard them in case of a financial crisis. Caxton FX undertakes rigorous daily reconciliations of its client accounts to ensure funds are held safely and comply with its regulatory obligations.

In the unlikely event that GNS ceases trading, Caxton FX is classed as a separate entity from GNS and would solely manage the Voyager MONEY payment programme.”

What would you say to any customer thinking about using Voyager MONEY for the first time?

“I would recommend that they start with a card for use by members of their shore-based team and one or two vessels in the fleet as a pilot. This will enable the savings to be proved before rolling it out more widely to other vessels in the fleet.

The shore-based team is important because customers shouldn’t overlook the significant savings that are available from using Voyager MONEY for any cross currency purchases – either as part of shipping company operations or by employees when travelling overseas.

When shore-based personnel get used to having the card, the ease and simplicity of the service immediately become apparent and that helps build user confidence, which as we all know is important when switching to a new way of working.”

*Escrow account – a separate bank account for keeping money that is the property of others

**OFAC – https://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/offices/pages/office-of-foreign-assets-control.aspx

Get your 6 month free trial to Voyager MONEY and find out what it can do for you. Simply visit www.gnsworldwide.com and request your free trial.

About GNS
GNS, the maritime solutions company, supports more than 7000 commercial shipping vessels and super yachts around the world with a broad range of digital solutions for real-time navigation, navigation management, voyage optimisation, regulatory compliance, ship-to-shore communications and cyber security and uses data intelligence to help its customers enhance safety, improve efficiency and reduce costs.  GNS is present in major shipping hubs worldwide providing 24/7/365 support to the vessels and companies it serves. The Company is owned jointly by its staff and Phoenix Equity Partners. To learn more about GNS please visit www.gnsworldwide.com.

About Caxton FX
Caxton is an international payments company founded, run and regulated in the UK. Launched in 2002 by fintech investor Rupert Lee-Browne, the business now has an annual turnover of a £1 billion. Caxton’s model has been to undercut traditional providers while offering higher levels of customer service. Caxton pioneered the use of online platforms and pre-paid currency cards to offer customers simpler, quicker, safer and more cost-effective international payments. https://www.caxtonfx.com/