Pocket Change: A New Way To Save Money While Traveling

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“What I do with the cash, depends on how much it is. The one yen coins though, I’ve been using as weapons. Mainly against the French, because we don’t get to fight them during the World Cup,” said Chris, who came to Japan cheering for the English team. “When I leave, I don’t know what I’m going to do with them all, I’ll probably just leave them in the hotel.”

Research shows the vast majority of people hoard, leave, or even throw away their leftover foreign cash. What if you could add up the worth of all the foreign currency you have? Well it would accumulate much more than you’d expect. This is why Pocket Change has been working on a solution to allow globetrotters to get the most out of their foreign currency, no matter their destinations.

When it comes to managing your money, electronic currencies and online banking are the future and most countries have accepted and embraced them as the new norm. Japan, however, globally recognized for its Blade Runner-like technology, is still very much a cash society and this surprised many rugby fans during the World Cup. The problems for travelers usually lay within the country’s complex coin system. 1, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen coins make their way into your wallet quickly but are difficult to get rid of before your flight back home.

I’m just visiting for the Rugby World Cup. I have no idea what to do with all the coins, so when I go to a store, I just pull them out and hold them there in front of the cashier. They usually just count out the money that I owe,” said an anonymous woman from New Zealand.

In Japan, there’s a saying: “Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru” (塵も積もれば、山となる), which means “even specks of dust become mountains.” With Pocket Change, you can see just how much that mountain of change you’ve accumulated in your travels is worth. So what is it, exactly?

Pocket Change is a machine that converts your leftover coins into points or vouchers you can use back home at a better rate than banks and currency exchange kiosks. They are incredibly simple to use, one might say as easy as 1, 2, 3. Select your home country, deposit your foreign change and choose the type of digital cash you wish to receive. There is also an option to donate the money to one of many afflicted charities.

You can find machines located all throughout Japan, from train stations and airports to game centers and department stores. There is no longer a reason for you to have to abandon your collected change, walk around Tokyo with heavy pockets or endlessly search your purse for loose coins.

For a full list of Pocket Change kiosks click here.

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