In case you missed it, WeSwap was featured in a great write-up on page 3 of the Times this week on some of our plans to use smart tech to make holidaying even easier for us all. Have a read, the future looks bright!
The transcript is below and the article can be found here. Many thanks to the Times for allowing us to reproduce as a courtesy.
By Mark Bridge, Technology Correspondent at the Times.
“Robots will soon be issuing personalised holiday spending advice to Britons. Artificial intelligence will be used to tell travellers how much to budget for daily expenses and to help them to buy currency when rates are favourable.
WeSwap, a travel money service, is developing software that will break down likely costs based on the spending of other travellers to the same destination. So a customer travelling to Japan for a fortnight could find typical spending on food and drink, entrance fees and local transport put into the app by other people of their age group and spending profile.
Also, customers of the service, which lets travellers change money with each other and cut out currency exchanges, will be able to place advance orders for currency at a specific rate. Someone could ask to buy €1,000 if the euro falls to 80p in the following month, for example. They can also receive alerts if the rate comes close to their target.
Such technology is routinely used by forex traders but is not offered by travel money companies. The services will be introduced this year.
Artificial intelligence drives financial assistant apps, such as Cleo, which links to a user’s bank accounts and answers questions about balances or how much someone has spent on lunch or rail fares that week, using a conversational “chatbot” via Facebook Messenger. The app can send a warning if funds are running low.
AI is also used for investment advice in “robo-advisers” such as Nutmeg.
WeSwap remains the only peer-topeer (P2P) travel money service, although companies such as TransferWise offer currency transfers on the same principle and prepaid cards such as Revolut undercut currency shop charges. P2P is more often used to arrange personal loans through companies such as Zopa.
WeSwap charges 1 per cent above the interbank exchange rate, compared with 5 per cent on the high street and up to 15 per cent at airports. Users buy currency online or through the app to load up a Mastercard-backed prepaid card that can be used for overseas spending without incurring the usual exchange fees. There’s a £1.50 fee for cash machine withdrawals under £200/€200 but larger withdrawals are free.
Jared Jesner, 37, WeSwap’s cofounder, got the idea for the service when he was travelling for his previous job in London. He realised that he and his colleagues would do better to simply swap currency and avoid the “poor value of traditional services”.”