Shon Alam, Founder at bidwedge: Community-Based Foreign Exchange

It’s a very simple concept, that is clear and transparent: bidwedge, buys unused currency and then sells it back onto the market. That’s it, nothing more nothing less. We buy from people and sell to people. We don’t use banks or wholesalers. We are not currency traders. All that we are doing is ensuring that people get value for money when selling back unused cash currency, then we repurpose and resell.

We have tried to make the whole process easy to do. We don’t play the currency spread game; we offer the rates that the banks trade between each other than that is the price paid. When we have received the currency and the fee has been agreed, it is paid directly. Delivery to us is free and fully insured. We charge a small fee, keeping the whole thing transparent, so the customer fully understands the costs with no hidden changes. We maintain that level of transparency when we come to sell. As part of the process, by adopting the methodology that we have we have found that by default, we have become a natural disrupter.
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How did you come up with the idea for the company?

As with all good ideas, it came about by accident. A trip to Florida to meet Mickey Mouse was the start! The whole family was going; so when it came to exchanging money, I chose to do the traditional high street route for the cash, but my son chose a slightly different method. He put out an email to his work colleagues asking if any had any US Dollars that he could buy.

He got a couple of responses and bought $600, but the difference was that I bought my dollars for $1.27 to the £1, whereas he got $1.33 to the £1! The people he bought from where more than happy because the sell-back rate they were being offered was horrendous. bidwedge was born.


How has the need for bidwedge evolved during the pandemic?

We launched right in the heart of the pandemic. I took the view that if we could survive the pandemic, progress and start to build the message that unused currency can make you profitable as opposed to sitting around going unspent, then we would survive as a business.

Part of that message that remains integral, is that every penny counts and during these unprecedented times we have to look towards every penny that we can get. Do not let 10 or 20 euros go to waste; if it’s worth something, use it! We have survived so far and are moving and pushing forward after a successful completion of our proof of concept; hopefully we have helped out a few people along the way.

What can we hope to see from bidwedge in the future?

I actually think that we are creating something special. If there is one thing this pandemic has shown, it is that people will always support people. You have to rely on your community and bidwedge is based on community. We will stick to our ethos and develop a trust and understanding that shows business and community can co-exist and that we can build a fairer society. In business terms we are continuing to develop the methodology that we have adopted and continue to visit further revenue streams that will benefit the consumer as well as the business.