A new mobile wallet now promises to make it easier to shop in foreign currency by removing the fees usually incurred when people buy things online or shop overseas.
The YouTrip wallet, launched today by EZ-Link, You Technologies and Mastercard, enables users to pay in more than 150 currencies without currency conversion or transaction fees.
It is targeted at a growing group of savvy shoppers who want the flexibility of paying in different currencies but without the usual cost of doing so.
The wallet automatically converts the currency using wholesale rates by the minute, so there are no markups, according to the companies. At the same time, it lets users take advantage of favourable exchange rates as well.
If you are travelling to Japan for holidays later in the year and the yen is now low compared to the Singapore dollar, you can store Japanese yen in the wallet for use later.
You can store up to 10 selected currencies – Singapore dollar, Hong Kong dollar and Japanese yen, to name three – so it pays to monitor when the rates favour you. This is a cashless alternative to going to the money changer and keeping cash at home.
The wallet is linked to a Mastercard prepaid card issued by EZ-Link, so you can also use it at more than 30 million merchants worldwide. And yes, you can pay for your MRT train rides in Singapore if you top up the card.
Like many such smart offerings now, a YouTrip account is free to sign up from today. There are no card fees and there is no minimum account balance to keep.
An accompanying app on your phone also lets you monitor transactions on the go. Of course, try not to lose your phone as it is your mobile wallet as well.
The new service is a big deal for EZ-Link as it seeks out partners like the Hong Kong-based You Technologies and Mastercard to go beyond its stored-value card business.
Faced with nimbler rivals from overseas, such as China’s Alipay and Silicon Valley players like Apple and Google, EZ-Link has faced tough competition on a home turf it once took for granted.
The company had been slow when it came to adopting innovations in the market, chief executive officer Nicholas Lee told Channel NewsAsia in a report last week.