Fed up with amassing foreign coins from trips abroad? It’s not always possible to spend the last of your holiday cash before boarding that plane - instead it goes unused, gathering dust in a jar. Britons have £2.3 billion of leftover currency sitting in their homes, according to YouGov, so it seems to be a bit of a common problem.
Fourex, a UK fintech company has an answer to this frustrating issue - it's produced the world’s first currency exchange kiosks. The idea may be simple, yet it’s set to revolutionise the way people exchange money. Customers just feed foreign money into the self-service kiosk, choose the currency they want to take away (pounds, dollars or euros), and the high-speed technology uses image recognition to process the each coin and note, delivering the money in seconds.
The kiosks accept more than 150 currencies – from the Botswana Pula to the Danish Krone. There are no hidden fees or commissions, the kiosks accept the smallest denominations, and exchange rates are updated daily and displayed clearly.
The first kiosk launched at London’s Kings Cross Tube Station on 29 October, and the second at Blackfriars Tube Station on 2 November. More are coming soon to other city locations and around the UK. Upcoming openings include:
- Canary Wharf Tube Station – 9 November 2015
- Westfield Stratford – 16 November 2015
Jeff Paterson, Co-Founder of Fourex, has felt humbled by the attention their kiosk has already attracted. He comments:
We are so excited to be launching across Central London, just in time to help people exchange their leftover summer holiday cash instead of wasting it at airports because they believe it cannot be exchanged. There is nothing on the market that even comes close to our machines!
Jeff Paterson, Fourex
Innovators and Fourex founders Jeff Paterson and Oliver Du Toit won Virgin Media Business' startup competition – Pitch to Rich – earlier this year, and raised more than £670,000 on Crowdcube. Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business praised Fourex's ingenious approach to solving a common problem, saying:
It’s this simple antidote to an everyday annoyance which saw them crowned winners of our Pitch to Rich competition.
Peter Kelly, Virgin Media Business
It's yet to be seen whether Fourex's kiosk will disrupt the currency exchange market to the point that people will be prefer the quick self-service to the lunchtime queues at banks and other bureaux de change. However, it's an exciting example of a small fintech business potentially making a big impact in a long-established industry.
Kiosk customers can choose to donate part or all of their exchange to one of Fourex’s charity partners: The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, The UK Stroke Association, The Railway Children, The London Transport Museum, Ellenor Lions Hospice or UNICEF.