The Straits Times – Money
14 February 2013
GET4X rates with new smartphone app
By Grace Chng
A SINGAPORE-BASED Frenchman who couldn’t tell if he was getting the best rate when he changed euros to Singapore dollars solved the problem in a very modern way – by developing a smartphone app.
His Get4X app compares currency exchange rate of different money changers around town.
Users key in the amount they want to change and the app will give the best rate of money changers or those closest to the user’s location.
Get4X chief executive Julian Labruyere said: “For many people, they don’t know whether they’re getting the best rate from the money changer.
“For example, if they are changing Singapore dollar for US dollar, the bank may take a 1.5 per cent commission with the airport counters getting a 2 to 3 per cent commission. People don’t know this.
“With Get4X , I’m trying to make it transparent for people. Every time they use the app, they will get a list of exchange rates offered by the money changers. Then they can decide where they want to change the money.”
Once a user has decided which money changer to use, he will confirm his order. The money changer is obliged to hold the foreign currency at that exchange rate for only that day.
The money changers benefit as well because the app allows them to reach a wider group of potential customers without adding to their cost.
Previously, most of their customers lived or worked in the neighbourhood.
If they offer the best rates, then they may get new customers who are prepared to travel a little farther to do the transaction, said Mr Labruyere, who has been in Singapore for about five years. He was a software engineer in product marketing with an international firm before he started his company.
The app has about 3,000 registered users while about 20 of the more than 350 money changers here are using it. A further 10 will be joining soon.
They include money changers who run small booths in Lucky Plaza and neighbourhood shops as well as some of the bigger ones operating out of The Arcade in the central business district.
“There are a handful of large money changers but most are small ones. They have very tiny profit margins and so have to optimise their stock of different currencies,” Mr Labruyere said.
“So they don’t buy a lot of different currencies, just enough to provide what customers need.”