Singapore RHB Bank and Wirecard Issue First Digital Multi-Currency Card

technology, currencies, Singapore

Wirecard issues Singapore’s first multi-currency card, launched by RHB Bank which is present in ten Asian countries. The payment solution provides an easy-to-use platform that offers customers competitive foreign exchange (FX) rates to eleven currencies in the RHB TravelFX app. If extended across ASEAN, it could revolutionise the way to pay for locals and travellers. 

Exchanging money in various countries generally costs a lot to travellers. Travellers end up paying fees and suffering of unfavourable exchange rates.

Wirecard, a global innovation leader for digital financial technology in association with RHB Singapore, partnered together and are introducing now the digital multi-currency card RHB TravelFX and its accompanying mobile app.

The RHB Group’s regional presence spans ten countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Hong Kong (with a representative office in China), Vietnam and Lao PDR. RHB TravelFX is the first prepaid multi-currency Visa card introduced by a bank in Singapore. The payment solution provides an easy-to-use platform that offers customers very competitive foreign exchange rates, real-time currency exchange and the freedom to use local currency overseas.

Using multi-currency cards is a safe and smart way to carry travel money. The product issued by Wirecard and provided by RHB Bank has an enormous potential to alter the way foreigners pay abroad in the long run. In 2016, global international tourism revenue reached approximately US$1.36 trillion, having almost doubled since 2005. Travellers from the Asia-Pacific region have the largest international tourism expenditure worldwide.

Singaporean customers of RHB will have access to payment in eleven different currencies via the RHB TravelFX app, thus being able to enjoy travelling without bringing cash or having to deal with leftover currencies. Wirecard issues the multi-currency Visa credit card that is distributed by RHB Singapore. The unique arrangement and partnership between Wirecard and RHB provides card users with security features to use the card wallet without accessing their bank accounts.

Apart from enabling customers to make purchases in national currencies when overseas, the RHB TravelFX allows them to withdraw local currency from the widespread Visa/Plus ATM network, to make online purchases in any of those currencies of choice and to exchange foreign currencies within the card wallet. Customers can fully manage the card wallet via the app and enjoy 24-hour access to competitive FX rates. There is also added security, allowing customers to lock the card when it is not in use or lost.

Ms Wong Chung Yee, Head of Personal Financial Services and Wealth Management, RHB Singapore, said: “The RHB TravelFX app gives customers total control over the FX rates that they want to buy at, by setting an alert on the app at their preferred rates, and exchange for foreign currencies anywhere, anytime – enhancing one’s travelling experience.”

“Travel is a popular activity amongst Singaporeans. Based on the Global Travel Intentions study commissioned by Visa, Singaporeans have taken approximately seven international trips in the last two years. Our data also shows that 20 per cent of total spend for Singapore Visa cardholders is on cross-border purchases. Even though Singaporeans are extremely familiar with digital payments, 95 per cent of them will still visit a money changer to exchange for foreign cash before they travel. With a travel product like RHB TravelFX offered to consumers today, we believe more Singaporeans would embrace the benefits and convenience of using electronic payments, especially when they travel,” added Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei.

The RHB TravelFX app can be downloaded via Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Thereafter, consumers can easily apply for the RHB multi-currency card through the app and charge their RHB TravelFX card wallet with Singapore Dollars from any bank account in Singapore. Customers do not need to maintain a bank account with RHB, there is no annual fee and no minimum balance fall-below fee.

If successful, the system could then be extended to other banks in other countries in Southeast Asia and eventually turn ASEAN into the largest region using a digital multi-currency card.