What to do with your leftover money after a trip?
Most travelers return home after a trip with leftover foreign currency. This leaves them with a similar dilemma as they had prior to embarking on their trip – how to effectively exchange their leftover currency. There are various outlets available that enable travelers to exchange their foreign currency back into their home currency after a trip, such as, the TravelersBox kiosk, airport money exchange shops, P2P companies like uChange and craigslist, and money exchange shops on the streets. Travelers can also utilize Cambiu’s service which essentially creates the first currency marketplace allowing travelers to find the best rate nearby. Travelers can also decide to not exchange their leftover currency at all. All of these outlets will be discussed in great depth below, outlining the positive and negative aspects of each.
Many travelers make the mistake of exchanging their leftover foreign currency at airport money exchange shops due to convenience. These shops at airports usually offer the most outrageous high rates, resulting in travelers not receiving their money’s worth. While this outlet may be one of the most convenient methods of exchanging currency, it is more worth it to not exchange your money at all or wait and be a bit more inconvenienced than be charged such unnecessarily high rates.
TravelersBox is a service that allows travelers to deposit any amount of leftover currency and redeem gift cards from brands like Skype, iTunes, Starbucks, and others. They can also deposit their foreign money directly into their PayPal account or donate it to a good cause. With TravelersBox travelers can quickly use their leftover foreign change wisely before they even leave the airport. TravelersBox charges 7% and offers attractive exchange rates, making it a cheaper alternative than the local money exchanges at the airport. While TravelersBox can provide great benefit to those who use Skype, iTunes, Starbucks, etc., and have a PayPal account, it does not help those who do not use any of those services and would like to receive cash. Further, TravelersBox’s 7% charge and exchange rates may be more attractive in comparison to airport money changers, but it is often more expensive when comparing it to other alternatives such as, P2P companies, money exchange shops on the streets, and Cambiu’s service. Another limitation of TravelersBox is that depending on what airport and country the kiosk is located travelers can only exchange certain currencies. For example, in Canada the kiosk only accepts Canadian, USD, Euros, and GBP.
P2P companies for currency exchange have recently become popular. An example of a P2P company that allows users to exchange currency with one another is uChange. uChange is a social application that connects users with each other to exchange the currency they each desire. Users just have to take initiative to organize with each other of where to meet to do the exchange. The best advantage of uChange is that it allows users to exchange money free of commission! Meeting another individual requires you to devote time to coordinate and meet the other individual, which can be complicated to organize and not very appealing to those who desire a convenient and easy alternative. Further, this method of currency exchange may not be the safest option. You do not know who you are meeting and could place yourself in an unsafe situation. Also, not all users may be fully honest and can rip off whoever they are exchanging their currency with.
While the alternatives mentioned above all enable travelers to exchange their leftover currency when they return home, they also all possess various negative aspects that either make them an inconvenient alternative or an expensive one. Cambiu on the other hand is both a convenient and cheap option. Cambiu’s service creates the first currency marketplace and provides users with access to the money changers and websites that provide the best rates and are most convenient to the user. Users do not have to worry about being limited to exchanging only certain currencies, being faced with high rates, meeting up with strangers, and only being able to exchange their currency to gift cards or to their PayPal account. They can simply just exchange their leftover currency into cash in an easy matter at the best offered rate.