By Richard Giedroyc
First it was Coindrum, a self-service machine through which foreign coins are accepted, counted, and redeemed for a travel voucher. Now it is Fourex, a foreign coin and bank note acceptance machine which will convert currencies to either British pounds, US dollars, or European Union euros. Each of these has become operational during 2015.
In the past it has usually been possible to exchange current foreign bank notes for a different currency at international airport kiosks, foreign exchange service centers, and at commercial banks. Coins have been another story. None of the above has with few exceptions been willing to exchange coins.
The major reason is that bank notes can be “read” by scanners, then counted by yet another machine. Coins weigh more, typically have a lower value, and are challenging to sort and count.
Coindrum is a self-service machine through which foreign coins are accepted, counted, and redeemed for a travel voucher. Coindrum does not charge for the service or discount from the value placed in the machine. The company adds a 10 percent credit to the amount deposited, then gives the client a voucher that can be used in airport retail stores or the value from the voucher can be donated to charity.
Airport retailers get extra business through the vouchers, while travelers can get rid of unwanted coins before going through metal detectors at security points in the airports. Coindrum makes its money through collecting a commission from airport retailers who accept the vouchers.
Fourex has developed machines that can recognize and accept 200 currencies that includes about 4,000 coin types and about 1,100 bank notes through its high-resolution digital fingerprint technology.
According to an Oct. 22 Reuters news report, “Its database covers major currency types from the world’s top 50 economies and selected currencies from another 100 countries.”
Forex is taking a different approach from Coindrum to market its technology. According to the same Reuters report, “Fourex, has plans to introduce its machines at busy shopping centers and transport hubs across London, including Canary Wharf tube station next month [November 2015]. It is looking to expand to up to 300 or 400 high-traffic locations across [Great] Britain over the next year or two.”
A key to the Forex operation that will be of interest not only to coin collectors, but to coin dealers who offer ‘junk box’ mixes of foreign coins is that “It also accepts out-of-circulation bills from the past 30 years, including old European currencies,” according to Reuters. This includes the now obsolete German mark, according to several sources.
This may change the dynamics regarding how relatively recent coins of little value are treated by collectors and dealers. It could also impact the future of dealer world coin ‘junk boxes.’
This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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