Businesses scramble to join No1 Currency

In 2008, No1 Currency opened one new bureau de change outlet every week using this business model, growing its network by 25 per cent in just one year. The company now has 282 outlets across the UK.

Managing director Mark McElney explains: “They want to work with us because they can see it’s a good product with a low cost of entry and they can see a return very quickly. They also like the technology that we have behind it and they don’t have to do a lot: they get full training and all the systems delivered to them.

“It’s a good system for us because it’s low cost at our end. If I’m going to open up 280-odd shops, the cost for me is massive and I wouldn’t be able to offer the low-cost product that I do.”

No1 Currency offers 0 per cent commission on currency exchanges, serving individuals and corporate clients. It also offers services such as immediate spot price contracts to longer-term forward and time-option forward contacts. McElney started No1 Currency in 1996 after a career working on bank foreign exchange desks around the world. The company will process transactions worth £1.5bn this year with net profit standing at £2.3m.

McElney plans to increase the number of No1 Currency branches to 426 in 2009 with the intention to have 1,000 outlets in three years.

“Nothing will stop us,” he insists. “We will get there. I know my business and it’s a great product. Britain’s quite a large place and everyone travels. You’ve got these low-cost airlines that will fly people all over the world for nothing and people need cash when they arrive at their destination. Small towns need foreign currency places as well. Some of the biggest towns we have in terms of profitability are some of the smallest places in the country.”

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