I don’t like it when I have spare change before I leave a country because I almost always end up losing the coins even when they amount to much. Changing a small amount of money back to my home currency is troublesome and unwise, so I often resort to buying overpriced stuff at the airport, which makes me feel bad. But luckily, there’s now an innovation that deals with this predicament of spare currency—TravelersBox.
What TravelersBox does is pretty straightforward—it converts spare currency to PayPal money, gift cards or credits (Starbucks, iTunes, and Google Play, among others), virtual prepaid cards (Visa or MasterCard), or donations to charities. Recently, TravelersBox allowed the conversion to Viber Out credits.
On my last trip, I tried out TravelersBox in Manila. I saw the kiosk at the international departures concourse of NAIA Terminal 3.
Its interface is nice and functional, and the instructions are clear. With a few clicks, I was able to convert money to Viber Out credits, and I was surprised that the fee they charge is a very reasonable 3-7%. In all honesty, I’ve always passed by TravelersBox, thinking it was yet another airport racket to siphon money off travelers’ pockets—clearly, I was wrong.
Anyway, I chose to convert money to Viber Out credits. To those who are unfamiliar, Viber Out, which as the name suggests is a feature of popular messaging app Viber, allows calls to any mobile or landline phone in the world. An alternative to conventional international calls, it uses mobile data or a wi-fi connection.
The credits do come in handy, as I make several calls to the countries I go to—like when I confirm my flights and hotel reservations or talk to my business contacts.
Calls made through Viber Out are connected quickly, have clear quality, and most of all, are cheaper than dialing from my mobile phone. For instance, calling to Singapore and the United States costs only 0.019 USD (~0.89 PHP). A complete list of rates by country is found here.
TravelersBox currently has more than 75 kiosks in eight countries around the world, two of which are in Manila, Philippines (NAIA Terminals 1 and 3). For a list of locations and more information, check out www.travelersbox.com.
Viber can be used on iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Windows Phone, Windows, Windows 8, Mac, Linux, and Symbian devices over mobile or wi-fi connections. For more information, check out www.viber.com.