Latest Travelex News
Jan 21, 2022
COVID-19 has made traveling an even bigger challenge than before. ATMs are helping make travel a bit simpler with currency exchange tools. Photo provided Travel in the age of COVID-19 has become more difficult than ever. With COVID-19 tests, screenings, masking and travel restrictions, there are many things to deal with. With all these issues, customers don't need to deal with any more problems, like finding places to exchange their currency for foreign currency. Travelex, a foreign exchange company, is attempting to make travel easier for customers through their foreign exchange ATMs. With these devices, customers can withdraw multiple currencies using their bank card. The company also recently opened two locations in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which offer more self-service and contactless solutions that can allow customers to get the help they need without necessarily having to interact with an employee. To learn more about the ATM solution and these stores, ATM Marketplace spoke with Leonard Stolk, CEO of Travelex Europe. Q.What is the primary business model for Travelex? A. We have grown to become one of the market-leading specialist providers of foreign exchange products, solutions and services, operating across the entire value chain of the foreign exchange industry in more than 20 countries. We have developed a growing network of over 900 ATMs and more than 1,100 stores in some of the world's top international airports and in major transport hubs, premium shopping malls, high street locations, supermarkets and city centers. In addition, we source and distribute large quantities of foreign currency banknotes for customers on a wholesale basis including central banks and international financial institutions. We also offer a range of remittance and international money transfer products around the world. Q. What are the primary features of the Travelex ATM? A. The core primary feature of the Travelex ATM is the ability for consumers to withdraw multiple foreign exchange currencies using their bank card. The ATMs are easy to use, they don't require customers to fill out any forms or stand in queues and can provide currency in seconds and are operational 24/7. We have also developed technology launching next year that allows customers to reserve their foreign currency orders online, at the best rates and with no commission, and pick it up at their airport ATM of choice when they fly. This means no more queuing downtown at busy malls and no more wondering if the currency you need is available. On the horizon is self-service, touchless, app-linked digital kiosks which enable consumers to purchase currency via their phone and pick up touch-fee from the kiosk, saving them time and physical interaction. Q.What companies does Travelex work with to produce these ATMs? A. We work with the two leading international ATM manufacturers — Diebold Nixdor f and NCR. We deploy both types of ATM across our estate, and this includes both standalone ATMs and ATMs located within our high street and airport stores. Q. What currencies do the ATMs support? A. We dispense 16 different currencies via our ATMs. Each ATM can sell four currencies per ATM (12 currencies with three ATMs side by side), and the currencies available at each ATM depend on what country our customers are located in. In most UK and European airports, four or five currencies underpin 80 to 90% of the total volume of currency we sell at that location. However, we do still have plans in the pipeline to increase the number of currencies available via ATM to match the huge range of currencies we sell in our retail stores. Q. What makes these two stores different from your other locations? A. Consumer habits have shifted in recent years — thanks to both increased digitization and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers want a more digital, seamless, contact-free experience, and one that frees up their time to enjoy other aspects of the airport retail experience. Our new concept stores have been designed to address these changing habits and represent the next chapter in the consumer foreign exchange experience. At the heart of the concept bureaux is a completely redesigned 'open store' layout, which takes the best aspects of Travelex's self-service and manned stores and combines them, thereby introducing a new form of interaction between customer and bureau. This means the stores will have more ATMs than before, offering customers a wider range of currencies in less time. The new store layout also makes the store physically more accessible, while manned services, the glass between the customer and agent desk has been removed to afford a more engaging, warmer experience. Other services, such as tax refunds or ATM pre-book click and collect services, will also be rolled out in the future. Q. How do these stores deliver a self-service experience while still allowing personal attention from employees for customers that need it? A. We understand that consumers want flexibility, and that different consumers like to purchase their foreign exchange currencies in different ways. Some still prefer cash, others prefer digital products. Some consumers prefer a streamlined, automated purchase process, others prefer to purchase their currency with a human sales consultant. Our new stores have been designed to unlock the potential of self-service operations and technology but will always be manned with experienced, friendly staff who can provide the personal attention our customers can also want. Perhaps the best comparison to make is with the retail industry. Many shopping outlets today have automated and self-service check outs, but also have human staff to assist those customers who need a human touch.