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When travel rebounds, we’ll be even stronger: Q&A with YouTrip’s Caecilia Chu

The multi-currency mobile wallet startup YouTrip has pivoted to overseas e-commerce payments during the pandemic.

Youtrip CEO and co-founder Caecilia Chu

As COVID-19 is making physical travel almost impossible, multi-currency mobile wallet startup YouTrip has pivoted towards e-commerce. YouTrip is providing 2% in cash rebates for “overseas” purchases, and has seen a 300% rise in transactions compared to the same period last year.

To continue engaging with its customer base during the pandemic, the company has also partnered with Dutch experiential travel startup Withlocals, bringing virtual tours to Singaporeans.

Established in Singapore in 2018, YouTrip aims to deliver mobile financial services to travelers in Southeast Asia. The startup provides a multi-currency travel wallet, linked with a prepaid Mastercard, that charges no transaction fees. The firm expanded into Thailand in 2019.

KrASIA contacted with co-founder and CEO Caecilia Chu to hear about its future plans.

KrASIA (Kr): With the pandemic still ongoing, it is uncertain when travel will resume. Will YouTrip be more active in e-commerce, or will the mobile wallet remain the core product?

Caecilia Chu (CC): We’re confident for travel to return and are optimistic about being the first to respond when it happens. Shifting our focus to overseas e-commerce leverages on the core value proposition that we have been championing for the past two years: Seamless payment experience and superior exchange rates in foreign currency transactions.

We’re glad to have found success in highlighting this narrative to our users during the pandemic, and we believe that many will continue using YouTrip when travel reopens. We will continue our work in solving overseas payment pain points through both travel and overseas e-commerce payments.

Kr: What are YouTrip’s expansion plans for the future? Have you considered other markets?

CC: A 100% yes! We remain focused on our mission to leverage technology to help people across Southeast Asia better manage their money. The overseas payment problem is not just limited to Singapore and Thailand, where we are currently operating in. We are continuing with our plan with regional expansion in Southeast Asia.

While the regulatory setup process is taking longer given the pandemic, we continue to expand our infrastructure and develop more features to prepare our upcoming market launches. For example, some upcoming features like allowing peer-to-peer transfers between YouTrip users is something that will make managing finances, when travelling in a group, a lot easier.

Photo courtesy of YouTrip.

We’ve also worked with Mastercard to offer a flight delay pass to YouTrip users. This will offer our users complimentary lounge access in the event of delays. We felt this will likely be more important when travel resumes, with heightened COVID-19 testing measures potentially causing more flight delays.

Once the market rebounds, we’ll be an even stronger player, bringing our ‘Truly No Fees’ proposition to the greater Southeast Asia region.

Kr: What makes YouTrip different from other multi-currency wallets?

CC: YouTrip is the only ‘Truly No Fees’ product that offers the best exchange rates, with no mark-ups any day of the week. By leveraging technology, we guarantee our users the best exchange rates previously only available to banks and large financial institutions, all easily accessed via our mobile app.

Our user-first approach in everything we do is another way we set ourselves apart from our competitors. Our services remain completely free with no signup fee or annual card fees, and we help our users save at least 3–5% every time they pay with YouTrip. Even though physical events are not possible during this time, nothing stops us from finding new ways to engage with our users online, be it through taking them on virtual tours, or hosting a game of Trivia via Zoom. It’s these initiatives that help us build a relationship with our users and be constantly kept on top of their minds.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.