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S’pore startup YouTrip finds new opportunities amid COVID-19, now enters B2B payments space

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Homegrown fintech startup YouTrip announced today (May 11) that it has launched its new business product called YouBiz.

This was first announced last November when it raised US$30 million funding in its Series A round. Majority of these funds have been channeled to bolster its suite of payment products, including the development of YouBiz.

Powered by Mastercard, YouBiz is a corporate card for enterprises to earn unlimited one per cent cashback and save with zero foreign exchange fees.

Beyond payments, YouBiz is also integrating the card with a single hub that brings together multi-currency accounts, local and domestic transfers, corporate expense management and credit features.

“All these are crucial in helping them save time and cost as they focus on scaling worldwide,” said Arthur Mak, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of YouTrip.

Entering the B2B payments market

Image Credit: YouTrip

According to YouTrip, the launch of YouBiz comes at a time when SMEs are revamping the way they operate. More than 70 per cent of businesses have adopted digital tools and are trading with global vendors and suppliers to stay competitive.

As the world opens up, one in three SMEs have also expressed confidence in accelerating their overseas expansion plans.

“The concept of borders have blurred during the pandemic as SMEs increasingly do business internationally. Their cross-border payment needs are definitely going to rise– yet, many of their financial needs remain unmet due to the lack of a tailored financial solution,” pointed out Mak.

He finds that the B2B payments space has a very deep market, but one that is still underserved. Given YouTrip’s track record in the region’s cross-border payments landscape, he felt that it was timely for them to venture into the B2B space and help develop an efficient and cost-effective financial solution for SMEs.

The idea to pivot into the B2B space came about during the pandemic when remote working was the norm, and companies were focusing on digitisation and automation in their operations. With that, they were expensing payroll in different currencies and working with suppliers and vendors around the world — undoubtedly, their foreign currency needs went up.

– Arthur Mak, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of YouTrip

However, one of the key challenges faced when developing YouBiz was building a multi-currency solution that’s seamless and able to serve businesses’ local and international needs.

“Thankfully, we have a robust end-to-end payment infrastructure built for YouTrip as a foundation. We’ve invested a great deal of energy to build on that and further develop the most advanced and customisable financial tool for SMEs,” he explained.

“Having this full control over our value chain also enables us to develop the best cost-structure and tailor different features to meet SMEs’ ever-changing needs.”

How the YouBiz card benefits SMEs

Business owners are busy people, and they want payment products that can streamline and save on everyday business operations. YouBiz delivers on these demands by offering SMEs unlimited cashback on all spends with no cap, eliminating the need to manage and optimise their spending types.

Coupled with savings from YouBiz’s zero foreign currency transaction fees, companies can rack up additional funds to spend on other aspects of business operations.

youtrip youbiz card
Image Credit: YouTrip

Spending and managing individual employee expenses is also convenient as YouBiz has the ability to generate physical and unlimited virtual cards for payments at more than 80 million Mastercard merchants worldwide in over 150 currencies, both online and in-store.

This reduces the risk of card-sharing, and custom spend limits on each card also prevents employees from overspending.

Beyond payments, YouBiz currently allows SMEs to receive, hold and spend in nine currencies and make immediate exchange at competitive rates and no fees.

Doing business is also easier than ever with free local transfers and low, transparent pricing for international remittance.

When it comes to scaling up, having quick access to working capital is crucial for companies. In line with that, YouBiz is also introducing a credit facility that offers flexible business financing to SMEs.

It allows businesses to obtain unsecured and collateral-free term loans with no hidden or early repayment fees, and loans are disbursed seamlessly into the YouBiz account within 48 hours.

To help SMEs unlock more opportunities in the global economy, YouBiz has also partnered firms such as Google to provide businesses with direct support for digital marketing services, as well as travel partners like Agoda, Booking.com and Qatar Airways on additional savings for travel expenditure, especially as business travel resumes.

To sweeten the deal, signing up for a YouBiz account and card is free and does not require any minimum account balance or card fees.

Growing and thriving despite COVID-19

As a company that deals with cross-border payments, the rippling effects of COVID-19 on the travel industry has also affected YouTrip.

Regardless, YouTrip finds that the pandemic has largely served as a business opportunity for the company instead.

caecilia chu youtrip ceo
Image Credit: YouTrip

“While the pandemic did bring about challenges at the start, our ability to stay nimble enabled us to build YouTrip into a pandemic-resilient company. This was achieved by identifying new opportunities beyond travel for us to stay relevant in this ever-changing landscape,” said Caecilia Chu, co-founder and CEO of YouTrip.

On the consumer front, YouTrip’s transaction volume has exceeded pre-pandemic levels as it expanded its strength in overseas e-commerce, especially at a time when they saw a huge uptick in online shopping.

According to Chu, overseas e-commerce transactions now take up around 70 per cent of their total transaction volume.

Furthermore, with travel restrictions easing up, the spike in travel spend among Singaporeans has led YouTrip’s overseas transaction volume in April to witness a 200 per cent increase, as compared to the same period last year.

As travel makes a steady comeback, Chu foresees more money to be moved across borders, which sets the stage for faster and more cost-effective financial products.

“With the continued strong traction in online spending and the accelerated return of travel, we’re expecting transaction volumes to grow exponentially,” she said, adding that their expansion into the B2B payments space is expected to further fuel their growth and better serve the region’s financial needs.

Ultimately, Chu feels that the cross-border payments landscape is ripe with opportunities, largely driven by the borderless and global nature of the digital economy.

We’ve seen the first wave of cross-border innovations centred around consumers, but we believe an even bigger wave is coming to revolutionise and reimagine the ways SMEs conduct and grow their business worldwide.

The breakthroughs in technology such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud, are making this a reality. I’m looking forward to further developments in this space and the limitless benefits that it will bring SMEs — such as eliminating fraud, lowering operational risks, and facilitating affordable, faster and safer payments.

– Caecilia Chu, co-founder and CEO of YouTrip

She also expressed her excitement about the future business plans of YouTrip as they prepare for their “aggressive overseas expansion” across Southeast Asia.

For YouBiz in particular, they are exploring how to have it benefit more SMEs, as they work closely with them to innovate and introduce more features tailored to their business needs.

Meanwhile, YouTrip users can expect exclusive deals with more local and international brands, as well as a new travel-related feature that will be rolled out at the end of this month.

In the later part of the year, Chu shared that YouTrip will also be revamping itself. Beyond debuting a new brand identity, its app will be redesigned with new features such as a virtual card, an interactive exchange rates dashboard, and the ability to hold more popular currencies in their wallet.

Featured Image Credit: YouTrip

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