24 February 2017

Convert leftover small change into digital money at airports

Source: TravelersBox. A kiosk at Singapore Changi Airport (airside).
Source: TravelersBox. A kiosk at Singapore Changi Airport (airside).
Passengers travelling through Singapore Changi Airport can now get more mileage from foreign change or their remaining Singapore dollars using the new TravelersBox kiosks located at the airport.

TravelersBox is a fintech company which helps travellers by converting their leftover foreign currency, including bills and coins, into digital money that can be redeemed online with popular brands. They may also choose to make a contribution to the Changi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Changi Airport Group (CAG) that supports youth community efforts, or charities such as the Red Cross*. 

“We are happy to welcome TravelersBox to Changi Airport and offer this useful service to the over 58 million passengers who pass through each year. We always strive to innovate in our product and service offerings to meet, and exceed our travellers’ needs. I believe this addition will make their Changi Experience a more delightful one,” said Albert Lim, Senior VP, Passenger Experience, Changi Airport Group.

TravelersBox kiosks were first installed in Changi Airport in mid-December and in that time, there have been four times more transactions in Singapore than in the next best-performing airport.  “Singapore Changi Airport is one of the largest transportation hubs in Asia and the world, and we are thrilled to be able to join an airport of this scale. We believe that this is a service that will be of great value to travellers here and we will continue to bring leading brands and companies onboard as partners,” said Tomer Zussman, CEO and founder of TravelersBox.

TravelersBox was conceptualised when Zussman found himself with his pockets full of change each time he returned from business trips. He would often forget to bring the coins with him on his next trip and realised that he would accumulate an average of US$10 to US$15 in coins per trip. His research found that on average, a tourist carries US$20 worth in loose change. With 1.5 billion travellers a year, the market could be worth much as US$30 billion a year.

After approaching banks and credit card companies which were uninterested in micropayments, Zussman decided to partner with e-wallets and e-gift card merchants. He then founded the firm together with Idan Deshe to capitalise on this market gap.

There are eight kiosks located at the transit area at Changi Terminal 1 and 3 in the initial period which will accept nine currencies: the Singapore dollar, Thai baht, Japanese yen, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah, Australian dollar, Hong Kong dollar, and Chinese renminbi. Visitors will initially be able to change these currencies into credits with companies such as Amazon.ch, Amazon.jp, Facebook, Grab, iTunes, Lazada, Qoo10, Starbucks, Skype, Tokopedia, Viber, and the Changi Foundation, with more to come. 

There are kiosks in airports in Turkey (Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir), the Philippines (Manila) and Japan (both Haneda and Narita in Tokyo).

*E-wallet, e-gift card and charity partners available may differ in different countries. TravelersBox kiosks in Changi Airport do not offer e-wallet deposits.