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FamilyMart to install foreign currency exchange machines in some stores

9 Comments

Convenience store chain FamilyMart plans to install automatic foreign currency exchange machines in some of its stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area, starting Feb 1.

The company said it hopes the venture, a collaboration with Travelex Japan and Nippon Express, will help foreign tourists, Sankei Shimbun reported. The company said it plans to have the machines in 1,000 stores nationwide by the 2020 Olympics.

The machines will be able to exchange money in 13 currencies, including U.S. dollars and Chinese yuan to yen. The service will be available in four languages -- English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, and be available 24 hours a day.

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9 Comments
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Well good luck with this. As Travelex Japan are involved in this venture then the tourists will be raped on exchange rates. I once foolishly got a Travelex Japan Mastercard to use on my overseas trips, the rates were appalling and you have to pay a percentage of the amount you charge your card with, Dreadful customer service too.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hear, hear on exchange rates, Mary. Value for money and any sense of "reasonable" margins/commissions are too often alien concepts here, so expect a seller's market.

However, where FamilyMart may have failed to do their homework is this assumption that visitors will carry wads of cash (another example of omotenashi failing to understand the recipient's preferences or reality?).

Versus the logistics costs alone of processing 13 currencies from 1,000 ATMs nationwide, other convenience sector players (or even the smarter banks?) can comfortably trounce FM/Travelex on rates for those millions of visitors whose default behaviour is to carry debit cards, not cash.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Mary Do you have any recommendations for a foreign exchange shop here in Japan? I think the main advantage with Travelex is that they do have many branches, including inside airports. Other than that, I'm apt to think that there are other forex companies that provide better rates.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Start exchanging weekly months before you come here and balance out on the fluctuations. Cost averaging.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I never exchange any money when traveling as I usually pay as much as possible by credit card and I use local ATMs with my credit card for small change withdrawals. Not sure it is really needed, but I guess they analyzed the behavior and requests of foreign tourists before launching this project...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@genjuro

Nine people in the United States have died in accidents tied to the airbag problem, and one outside the country.

I travel a fair bit and find the airport currency exchanges usually give me the best rate (even though they're run by banks) - provided you exchange your local currency into foreign currency (ie. Japanese yen into whatever at Narita, for example). I've used Travelex a number of times but despite it being 'no commission', it's always a shocking rate. And they have places everywhere. Funny that, isn't it?

Let's hope they're not using those god-awful E-net ATMs that are currently in Family Marts across Japan. Worst machines ever (extremely laggy interface).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@sighclops Thanks for the tip. Though, I don't get what airbag accidents have to do with foreign exchange. lol

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@genjuro

Sorry about that I accidentally hit paste when I was typing and missed it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just use my CC in a Seven & I store ATM if I need money. My card company give me good rates so I'm already pretty much catered for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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