So you've got your well-deserved holiday sorted and the only thing left is getting your money. You then find yourself on the high-street looking for the closest bureau de change, or you decide to rely on your own bank card.
The problem is, £5.6 billion in travel money was lost by the British public in 2015 to hidden rates and commissions. On top of that, the pound recently plummeted to a 30-year low post-Brexit.
So why is that banks and bureaux are so expensive and more importantly, is there a cheaper way to get your foreign currency?
You know that currency exchange booth at the airport? The one that sells you less than a Euro for a pound? These are the most expensive places you can go.
Jared Jesner, CEO at WeSwap explains: "They’re expensive things to run. Aside from the huge lease-hold, the cost of insurance, and the wages of the people working there, they also deal in complicated and expensive supply chains".
Other high-street bureaux are the same. For somewhere like the post office, margins on currency exchange are incremental to their profits. They cannot afford to trade currency much cheaper.
Without all of the services and costs that Jared highlighted, we can afford to do one thing - travel money - cheaply and well. Running WeSwap - a digital only platform - is simply cheaper.
Complicated supply chains
So we’ve established that bureaux are expensive businesses to run, but we haven’t even discussed the most important thing here – the money. The currency. The dosh.
Banks and bureaux have to buy their currency from someone too i.e a wholesaler or a broker. These guys have margins to keep and targets to hit. So they charge for the pleasure.
As Jared points out: "The providers, they have to pass on those costs to the customers, and they want to make a profit so all of those fees, plus the commissions are given to the customers too".
So even if the bank wanted to sell you and I currency cheaply, they still have to cover all of their own costs. They're not going to take the hit for you.
WeSwap came about because our founder and CEO Jared Jesner recognised that the traditional way of doing travel money was broken.
Banks, bureaux and other traditional currency providers were charging people a fortune to exchange their hard earned money and there was nothing travellers could do about it. But there had to be a cheaper way…
Inspired by a recurring scenario at the airport in which Jared would pass colleagues heading to the country he’d just come in from – the WeSwap idea was born.
If travellers heading in the opposite direction could just swap their travel money directly there would be no need to pay for it. They could simply swap it.
We’d ensure everything was done fairly and correctly, handling the money and initiating the swap. We got supported by Mastercard® and started building solid partnerships to make it work. And that's how a community of like-minded travellers began to grow.
One of the most frustrating things about traditional providers is their lack of clarity when it comes to pricing and fees.
We were sick and tired of seeing providers boasting about 0% commission but then hiding their fees elsewhere.
For example, bureaux may claim to charge 0% commission but they are usually just hiding a fee somewhere else - like in a poor exchange rate.
They’ll offer you €1.10 for £1 but really the interbank exchange rate is £1 = £1.30. €0.20 commission is neatly hidden in the rate. Sneaky isn’t it?
WeSwap always exchanges money at the inter-bank rate and we are always open about the fees we add on top. We charge 2%, 1.3% and 1% - all depending on how quickly you need your money.
We only charge these fees because we want to continue to do what we’re doing. We want WeSwappers to benefit from us for life, not just a few years. We're building something that lasts.
Swapping travel money through our digital platform removes many of the costs that other providers have to incur. So it’s actually worth flipping that question on its head and asking…
With all of these elements considered, WeSwap is actually much more than just a smart way, we think it's the smartest way. We're reshaping the way that travel money is done and now we're inviting you to own a part of the revolution.