Editorial Note: The Cashswap team are both members of Voyager HQ’s travel startup community and sponsors of the Travel Disruption Summit, the annual symposium bringing together thought leaders and innovators in the travel industry in New York City on May 22nd, 2019. During the event, participants will discuss the opportunities for innovation at each phase of a traveler’s experience, including discovery, in-transit and port environments, along with in-destination.
Most travelers ask themselves a fundamental question before an international trip: “What is the best way to get foreign currency?” As long as modern international travel has existed, this has been a necessary headache within the traveler’s journey - the process of exchanging foreign currency doesn’t ever come with fair fees or transparency of options. Instead, a monopoly of institutions act as middle men to meet the currency supply for the demand created by international travelers. Traditional currency exchange institutions are able to charge a variety of fees, all higher than the consumer would get directly from the currency exchange market. The result is a one-sided system that exploits travelers, compelling them to pay a high price of both time and money. With CashSwap, we’re finally shifting this paradigm.
THERE’S A BETTER WAY
Like many great ideas, CashSwap was born out of experience. In 2016, Founder Ben Diallo was standing in line to exchange currency in Japan’s Narita International Airport. Diallo watched as the exchange clerk accepted Yen from the customer in front of him and subsequently handed it to Diallo without even having to put it away. In that moment of surprising simplicity, Diallo realized that there was a better way to exchange currency. Diallo began researching and identified that the currency exchange issues affects 164 million people traveling to and from the United States each year. Even then, the United States comprises only 5% of the global travel market, and the problem is strikingly similar all over the world. International travelers all have similar needs to exchange currency, and the current system fails to create efficiency or serve travelers. CashSwap provides an alternative that is squarely positioned to alter how travelers obtain foreign currency - not just in the United States, but the world over.
REVOLUTION STARTS HERE
CashSwap has a simple mission: Safely connect international travelers to allow them to exchange currency directly, saving both time and money. To accomplish this goal, the CashSwap app works exclusively in airports to link international travelers based on the currency they have and the currency they are seeking. CashSwap puts control back into the hands of the traveler by displaying the existing market rate for exchanges, as well as a pool of travelers with whom they can connect. Travelers choose a “swap connection” based on their preference of airport terminal, user ratings, and/or the amount of money to be swapped. For safety, the app allows users to connect via in-app text, video chat, or call prior to meeting to exchange currency. CashSwap recommends that all swaps be done in a public place where both parties feel safe and comfortable meeting their swap connection. After the transaction has been completed, all users’ connection information is removed from each user’s mobile device. Finally, the app allows users to rate the exchange and share comments about their swap experience. All ratings can be viewed by future users as part of a composite rating.
In today’s travel market, where travelers seek to control every aspect of their experience, how and when to exchange currency shouldn’t be an exception. CashSwap’s innovative approach democratizes the world of currency exchange, allowing a community of travelers to connect and exchange currency, avoiding the middle man and the expensive fees that come with it. As a result, travelers have more money to spend, and the freedom to spend their time and money how they see fit while abroad. Ultimately, Cashswapp is helping to fuel the travel business by creating more buying power in the market, and making travel more accessible by eliminating unnecessary fees.
We’re building a community of globetrotters seeking a new way to exchange money - ready to join the currency revolution?