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If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know how frustrating it can be to not be able to exchange any coins for your home currency. Repeatedly, you’re told “we only accept bills, not coins!” As a result, you’re left with a purse full of miscellaneous currency. I’ll be showing you what to do with foreign currency after traveling!
The last time I was in Europe my ex-pat best friend, living in Hong Kong, told me that she wishes she would have known ahead of time that I was there so she could send me her bag of Euros. I chuckled, because the struggle is real! Visions of my bestie toting around a bag of money absolutely tickled me!
While it’s nice to have a couple just as a souvenir from each location, I find that I come home with way more than that. I’m not the only one with a jar of random coins in various currencies: Cuban Peso, Mexican Peso, Euro, Turkish Lira, United Arab Emirates Dirham, Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc, Icelandic Króna, Norwegian Krone, Canadian Dollar, and more.
I’ve partnered with CashSwap, whose app solves this exact dilemma. Not only does it connect you with travelers who need your currency, but it helps you avoid long lines and expensive fees at currency exchange booths. In the app, you just enter the currency you have and the currency you need, and they handle the rest! They’ve got geo fencing technology that matches you with fellow travelers who match your need.
See it in action here:
Right now, it’s available on the Google Play store.
Meet the Co-Founders:
Mamadou (Ben) Diallo, Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Nigel Riggins, Co-Founder, Chief Operations Officer
Kameelah Shaheed-Diallo, Co-Founder, General Counsel
I had a chat with CEO Ben Diallo:
Q: Launching a start-up is no easy feat — what kind of obstacles did you face?
A: Launching a start-up is like putting together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle upside down; it takes vision, patience and determination. The idea of CashSwap occurred to me during 2016 while standing in line to exchange currency at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, but it has taken time to transform this amazing idea it into something that is tangible and accessible for all travelers.
Overall, the challenges we face mirror those categorically experienced by Uber and Airbnb. We’re attempting to do something that has not been done before and we’re up against an entrenched status quo to make it happen. If that’s not enough, we’re working like mad to get the word out that this amazing transformation of an industry is happening and is long overdue.
Q: What are your biggest wins?
A: We’ve had a few, but a big, notable win came back in February. We decided to participate in a “pitch competition” to hone both our skills and our message. While we didn’t actually win the competition (a disappointing second place) – the lessons we learned were so helpful early in the process helped us refine our approach.
Moreover, the relationships we built have positively influenced the development of our app and changed our trajectory as a company. We walked away with tremendous motivation and momentum to make CashSwap successful.
Q: How does CashSwap keep its users safe?
A: Since inception, the CashSwap team has been rooted in creating an experience where travelers can obtain the currency they need while feeling secure and confident in the transaction. It all starts with environmental safety.
We intentionally selected airports as the place swaps would occur, not just because of their convenience, but also because of the numerous layers of security that they offer. The next component of safety comes with the app itself. We’ve built the CashSwap experience around the following PRIME safety features:
Photos: Every CashSwap member must register and use a real photo in the app in order to participate.
Ratings: Every CashSwap member has a satisfaction rating based on his/her past swaps. Members can be selective and only swap with high rated peers.
Interaction: Before any physical swap occurs, both members must communicate via text chat, video chat, or a voice call facilitated within the CashSwap app.
Maximum Swap Amounts: Members may only swap an equivalent value of up to $2,000 USD per day.
Empowerment: Our members have complete control of the experience. They decide who to swap with, what amount to swap, when to swap, where to swap and how they felt about the swap experience. Most important, if either member is uncomfortable with moving forward at any point during the transaction, THE SWAP DOES NOT HAPPEN.
Q: Are all currencies supported? All airports?
A: CashSwap is able to support as many currencies as the members of the community are willing to swap with others, in as many airports that members are willing to swap. Being powered by our members in this way makes CashSwap unique and it’s the reason that CashSwap is so revolutionary for currency exchange.
For too long, monopolies have controlled the process and this has hurt travelers for as long as anyone can remember. Our goal is to work with travelers to fundamentally change currency exchange by introducing convenience and fairness into the process.
Q: What’s next for CashSwap?
A: We just completed a very successful Travel Disruption Summit, hosted by VoyagerHQ, where we were a sponsor. We are following up on opportunities and partnerships identified during the summit and hope to have some very exciting announcements soon.
That being said, our current mission is to build an amazing community and increase our membership. CashSwap is available for download on all Android devices and can be found in the Google Play store. We hope to be available in the App Store shortly for iOS users and are also working to add all swap capabilities directly to our website by the end of the year.
You can learn more about CashSwap here.
Want more traveling hacks? Check those out here!
Sponsored by CashSwap