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Showing up in a country without any cash in the past wasn’t the smartest idea and could create headaches as travelers tried hunting for the best exchange rate. These five companies offer the possibility that exchanging currency can now be down in destination without even using a bank in some cases as an intermediary, completely changing how we take money abroad. Though the use of mobile wallets continue growing and the use of cash keeps slowly declining, it never hurts to be prepared with those (sometimes) beautiful bills in hand for the time being.
>>TravelersBox allows travelers to convert leftover foreign currency into usable digital currency (such as PayPal, Bitcoin, Yandex, iTunes, gift cards, etc.) through kiosks in airports around the world. The company already has 45 airport kiosks and plans to grow to more than 200 by the end of this year.
>>SkiftTake: Remembering to exchange currency upon arrival to your home airport isn’t always top-of-mind and many travelers would rather walk away with cash rather than digital credit or a gift card, but for avid users of one of these services it’s a good option. The uses for TravelersBox extend beyond travel, if the company were to go in that direction, by letting people exchange money for account credit or gift cards more generally.
>>coChange allows travelers to locate the nearest currency exchange offices among 8,000 money changers around the world and to benefit from the partners’ exclusive offers. The mobile application is free and covers 100 countries.
>>SkiftTake: Any seasoned traveler is aware that changing money at a currency exchange office often doesn’t yield the best exchange rate and that ATMs may be a safer bet. The “exclusive offers” will have to really carry the incentive for coChange until it demonstrates these offices are the travelers’ best financial bet.
>>Fluint is a person-to-person foreign exchange mobile app that provides a two-sided market for buyers and sellers to trade foreign currency. Buyers will be able to buy foreign currency at a cheaper rate than banks and sellers will be able to get rid of currency they no longer need.
>>SkiftTake: The idea is simple enough but will of course depend on how well the buyers’ market is doing.
>>CurrencyFair is a person-to-person online marketplace enabling travelers and businesses to exchange currencies and send funds to bank accounts. Each currency exchange marketplace gives the customer a choice: exchange immediately at the best rate available or place an order at a better exchange rate and wait to be matched off by another customer exchanging on the opposite market.
>>SkiftTake: We see this working best for people spending extended periods of time abroad rather than a vacation or quick business trip.
>>WeSwap is is a person-to-person currency exchanger. It lets travelers swap currency with each other at the interbank exchange rate and pay a transparent fee. As well as an online account which can hold multiple currencies, users receive the WeSwap Prepaid MasterCard(R) which enables them to access the funds in their account anywhere that accepts MasterCard.
>>SkiftTake: The multiple currencies feature is convenient but will travelers’ mind paying a fee?
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