If you’ve got some loose change leftover from an overseas trip (remember those?) and you’re not sure when you’ll be able to use it again, this might be the best way to clear those coins out of your bottom drawer. Japanese company Pocket Change can turn your unwanted cash into electronic money and vouchers. Since launching at Haneda Airport in 2015, the company’s green machines have spread to Narita, Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kansai, Kyushu and Chubu airports, as well as shops in Japan's major city centres.
Simply select which region in Japan you’d like to use your new digital currency or gift cards in, and insert your leftover cash into the machine. No need to sort your coins out – you can dump different currencies in together and the machine will sort it all out for you. Once it calculates the total amount, choose what you’d like to do with the money. You can top up travel cards like Suica and Pasmo, add to prepaid cards like Nanco and Rakuten Eddy, get gift cards for Amazon and the Apple App Store, or even donate to charities like Unicef.
Currently, Pocket Change accepts Japanese yen, euro, South Korean won, Hong Kong dollars, Taiwanese dollars and Vietnamese dong. Other currencies can be donated to charities via the kiosks, but they can’t be turned into e-money or gift cards. If you’re not planning to stay in Japan, no problem, Pocket Change can also convert cash into electronic currencies in the USA, China and South Korea, as well as gift cards denominated in British pounds, Australian dollars, Danish krone and more.