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FINANCIAL SERVICES, MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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How YouTrip is taking away the pain of overseas payment

The fintech startup helps its users save up to 3.5% on transaction fees and can even go as high as 5% in some cases.

Getting hit by unreasonable currency transaction charges whilst travelling is a major problem for holiday makers, but startup YouTrip thinks they have found a solution that could save customers as much as 5% on credit card fees. YouTrip provides a multi-currency mobile wallet that comes with a prepaid Mastercard issued by contactless smart card brand EZ-Link. It allows for the exchange and storage of 10 selected currencies in advance through its in-app exchange feature and lets the user pay fees in more than 150 currencies at wholesale exchange rates with no additional fees.

Caecilia Chu, co-founder and CEO of YouTrip, said that their platform helps their customers save up to 3.5% on transaction fees and can even go as high as 5% in some cases. Rather than make a profit on the exchange rate, YouTrip only takes commissions of each purchase from the merchant.

“Both Arthur and I travel across Asia frequently and have experienced hefty card transaction fees firsthand— a result of restrictions imposed by traditional financial institutions,” Chu said, referring to her business partner Arthur Mak, the firm’s chairman.

She also added that because of this, they wanted to address how travellers in the ASEAN region experience more currency conversions as compared to travelling in North American and European markets, which both leverage on dominant currencies.

“Fundamentally we believe payment for travellers is a massively underserved segment by financial service providers, not only in the fee perspective but overall from a service and product offering aspect,” Chu continued.

Strong backing
In May 2019, YouTrip secured US$25.5m in a pre-series A funding led by Asian family office and venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners.

The startup plans to use the proceeds from the funding round to bolster its engineering hub in Hong Kong, where it will allow them to roll out new product features and functionalities. Chu mentioned that they are keen on involving insurance, remittance and other travel-related areas in the pipeline.

“We are unable to share the exact names of which countries we plan to expand to publicly for now. But, since our launch in Singapore, we have been constantly receiving requests from users in different countries for YouTrip to come to them. Currently, we are looking to expand into 1 to 2 countries within 6 to 12 months’ time,” Chu said.

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