Local Currencies Abroad  – About More than the Exchange Rate

Imagine the Caribbean. Imagine stepping onto the sun-drenched streets of Curacao or the vibrant markets of St. Maarten. As you navigate the colorful stalls, your senses awake to rich aromas and lively chatter. Here, every transaction, every exchange is more than just a monetary act; it’s a personal experience. Using local currency makes it more so, taking it beyond mere numbers on a currency converter.

Payment – more than a transaction

The recent announcement of a new joint currency for the Dutch Caribbean constituents of Curacao and St. Maarten highlights a pivotal aspect of international travel – the use of local currencies. While many vacationers often rely on card payments, this method isn’t always the best option, and cash comes with some distinct advantages. The versatility of cash, particularly in local currency, is undeniable.

However, even in destinations where card payments are generally easy, using local currencies is still worthwhile. Importantly, it isn’t just about managing costs, although that remains important. It’s about immersing oneself in the culture and respecting the economic ecosystem of the host country. When travelers use cash for small purchases or tips, it not only facilitates smoother transactions but also fosters goodwill. It’s a gesture that shows sensitivity and respect towards local customs and practices.

Using local currency also provides a more tangible sense of value, particularly in economies different from one’s own. This tactile experience of handling different banknotes and coins adds depth to the travel experience, making it more engaging and memorable.

The Smart Travel Money Option

Recognizing these advantages, travelers often prefer to purchase their travel money before they set off. This is when they research the best deal. And although many people leave purchasing their vacation spending money until the last minute, most do know it’s cheaper and less hassle to buy it in advance.

This is where services like Money 4 Travel come into play, offering a convenient and efficient solution for obtaining foreign currency cash. It delivers an easy smartphone transaction for the consumer, and for credit unions it’s simple to implement, simplifies POS transactions and comes with impressive back-office efficiencies. For credit unions, the service is designed to be incorporated into their existing app, so partnering with Money 4 Travel opens a gateway to an established market. They can offer their customers a valuable service and strengthen their brand.

A Better Customer Experience

Incorporating Money 4 Travel into a portfolio of services is not just about tapping into a new revenue stream; it’s about enhancing the overall customer experience. It’s a strategic move that aligns with the evolving needs of today’s travelers, who seek cultural engagement as well as convenience. For credit unions, understanding these nuances is crucial, and might also create an edge over local banking rivals.

Getting The Best from a Vacation

And one more thing about Curacao and St. Maarten – don’t panic! The new joint currency (the Caribbean Guilder) will be introduced later this year and will circulate freely with and equivalence to the “old” Netherlands-Antillean Guilder*. And cards payment for bigger-ticket items will continue.

But before you go overseas to your chosen destination, give some thought to the total experience. It’s not just about the money, and having some cash in your pocket is good way to make sure it stays that way.

By Declan Morton, staff writer at Money 4 Travel and Essiell Ltd.


*Curacao and St. Maarten to welcome new currency more than a decade after becoming autonomous, The Associated Press (APNews.com), January 3, 2024

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