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How to Exchange Currency for Free

On June 19, 2019, FlyerTalkers were introduced to a whole new way to exchange foreign currency. Unlike previous programs, this one does not require the high fees of an airport exchange or visiting your local bank in the hopes they have your currency on hand. Instead, the program works on a peer-to-peer system at major airports.

CashSwap is a new, app-based way for travelers to exchange one currency for another. Described as the “Uber for money exchanging,” the app connects travelers coming in or heading out who want to exchange their money. The creators say users can save money through peer-to-peer transfers – but does it work as intended?

A CashSwap for All American Flyers

To use CashSwap, flyers must first download the app from their app store. While it is currently only on the Google Play Store for Android phones, an app for Apple iPhones is coming soon.

After registering, travelers at the airport have the opportunity to select what currency they have and what they want to exchange for. After putting in the variables, flyers see how much they could get in exchange and if anyone around them is currently looking to exchange cash.

Once an offer is accepted, the two flyers are connected at the airport to coordinate where to exchange cash. While CashSwap is building up a street team at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to help facilitate transactions, travelers are recommended to find an exchange spot in a public place inside the airport’s secure zone.

But Is It Exchangeable?

In the short amount of time the app has been live, FlyerTalkers have been curious about the app’s future and success. FlyerTalker Toshbaf once tried something very similar when carrying a handful of British Pounds Sterling.

“I checked in early at JFK then went to near the British Airways check in counters at Terminal 7,” Toshbaf writes about their experience. “I was there about the time UK bound travelers were checking in. I had a printed sign and stood there for an hour, offering a better than bank exchange rate (and made no mention of coins because I would offer both paper banknotes and some coins). Nobody inquired.

“This company’s product is a little different because people think the app is reliable even though the people exchanging money are simply ordinary people,” Toshbaf concluded.

While the app offers a secure way for travelers to connect with one another for easy peer-to-peer money exchanges, the app leaves room for a lot of questions. First off: while the app can connect travelers to counterparts for easy cash exchanges, there’s no guarantee that each traveler has the right amount of money needed. And what happens if one of the parties is carrying counterfeit cash? CashSwap may not be liable, so who pays for the lost currency?

While CashSwap recommends travelers exchange cash in a public place, there’s always the possibility of getting mugged. It may be difficult to explain to an officer how you lost your cash in a simple peer-to-peer transaction. Finally, there may be the occasional language barrier that could complicate things. Even though technology can help, a simple mistranslation can make for a bad transaction experience quickly.

Bottom Line

Overall, I like the idea of CashSwap. As a traveler myself, I have many Euro coins that will probably not go to use anytime soon. However, I also feel like this technology has a long way to go before it reaches maturity. Without a designated place to exchange cash, or a liability guarantee to help travelers relax about their cash transaction, there are a lot of people who may shy away until there are more protections built into place.

If you have any experiences exchanging currencies with your peers (through CashSwap or otherwise), share your stories on the FlyerTalk Forums!


[Featured Image: Shutterstock]