Entrepreneur

This Startup's ATMs At Changi Airport Lets You Trade In Annoying Foreign Change For Cash Credits

Travellers rejoice! TravelersBox has finally landed in Singapore.

TravelersBox is an ATM-like machine that lets you trade foreign currency for cash credits, so you don’t have to be that that gratuitous magnet or cup of coffee.

Currently, the machines at Changi Airport will exchange your yen and yuan for credit in Amazon.cn, Amazon.jp, Facebook, Grab, iTunes, Lazada, Qoo10, Starbucks, Skype, Tokopedia, Viber, with Changi Foundation soon to join the fray.

Image Credit: CNET

Installed in December, there are 8 machines spread out across the airport, and they accept Singapore dollars, Thai baht, Australian dollars, Chinese RMB, Indonesian rupiah, Hong Kong dollars, Japanese Yen, Philippine pesos, and Malaysian ringgit.

The process to deposit your funds is simple.

After depositing your change, the screen will confirm the amount and guide you to a list of options to redeem your credit (PayPal, gift cards etc). Keying in your handphone number or email will get you an email or text, instructing you on how to redeem the funds.

Image Credit: giffgaff

TravelersBox kiosks are already in countries from Turkey to Philippines, and more are slated to pop up in Australia and India.

On their arrival in Changi Airport, Mr. Albert Lim, Senior VP of Passenger Experience, Changi Airport Group expressed that “[they were] happy to welcome TravelersBox to Changi Airport and offer this useful service to the over 58 million passengers who pass through each year.”

Money Travelling The World

TravelersBox is an Israeli startup borne from the frustration of dealing with foreign change (especially coins) after holidays.

Founded by friends Dror Blumenthal, Idan Deshe, and Tomer Zussman, it became the nifty solution to the dilemma faced by Zussman, and thousands of other travellers.

Image Credit: israel21c

Zussman shared his realisation that he would usually accumulate “an average of US$10 to US$15 each time [he travelled].”

Studying the market also reflected that on average, a tourist carries almost US$20 worth in change. Compound that by 1.5 billion travelers a year, and there was an untapped market potential of US$30 billion a year.

Building the startup was not easy. The TravelersBox team had to decide how the money would be credited back to travellers. In every country it would be different, for example, directing the funds to PayPal for Turkish currency and Qiwi for Russian.

Despite the challenges, the potential of the startup has definitely bloomed, with the startup raising $4.5 million in 2015 to expand their services to more countries.

As Blumenthal reflected, “a few useless coins and bills that would otherwise be kept in a jar, are now valuable again thanks to this magic box.”

Get Your Coins Ready

The school March holidays are just around the corner, and then comes the Labour Day weekend that has already had me excited for an adventure getaway.

No time could be more apt for TravelersBox to disembark at Changi Airport, so keep your eyes peeled, and your coin bags ready!

Featured Image Credit: Tech in Asia

 

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