YouTrip increases e-wallet limits

Written by Kapronasia || January 09 2024

Singapore-based multicurrency wallet YouTrip announced on January 3 that its users can now hold up to S$20,000 (US$15,025) in their e-wallets and have an annual spending limit of S$100,000, up from S$5,000 and S$30,000, respectively. The new maximum limits are the same as those recently adjusted upward by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

We find it hard to get excited about e-wallets given how many there are and the relative lack of differentiation among them, but YouTrip believes its travel focus gives it a strong niche. That niche did not look so solid during the pandemic, but now that the world has moved on from that bleak era, the company is feeling confident about its prospects.

YouTrip says that its user base had trebled in the two years to September 2023 amid a cross-border travel recovery. alongside a recovery. It likely processed about US$10 billion in payments in 2023, three times the 2022 figure.  

YouTrip’s leadership notes that it charges no foreign exchange fees, unlike credit cards or money changers, which they believe makes the app appealing to cost-conscious Singaporean consumers. Users can also exchange 10 major currencies within the app for free, among them the U.S. dollar, euro and yen.

“Many savvy users in Southeast Asia convert money into currencies they expect to appreciate in the future, which they use on later trips,” YouTrip co-founder and CEO Caecilia Chu told Nikkei Asia in November.

At first blush, YouTrip’s business strategy looks fairly sound. Singapore is Southeast Asia’s key financial hub, and can serve as a jumping-off point for the rest of the region. Being based there allows YouTrip to access the city-state’s strong fintech ecosystem, in particular funding channels. At the same time, given its focus on travel as a multicurrency wallet, there are a lot of nearby destinations where YouTrip’s customers to use its products.

To that end, the company is actively expanding regionally. It has been present in Thailand since 2019, is expected to launch in Malaysia in March and also aims to eventually gain a foothold in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

At the same time, despite the efforts to enhance financial connectivity among the Asean countries, there is no regional currency like the euro in Europe. Each country has its own central bank, and the Singapore-Brunei arrangement which allows their respective currencies to be used in both countries is the exception rather than the rule.

This reality makes a multicurrency wallet targeting Southeast Asia a good idea – if it can be profitable. Without a larger suite of digital financial services, especially lending, it is unclear how soon YouTrip will reach that milestone.