Fintech meets travel! Experts have been talking about this for quite a while now. But is it really happening? In short, it already has!
In many ways these two industries are made for each other, it really is a marriage made in heaven; whether your idea of heaven is St. Tropez, Madeira, the Bahamas or Southeast Asia. There are huge advantages to be had in using Fintech Technology whilst enjoying your summer holidays.
What is Fintech?
In short, Financial Technology. A decade ago the smart money, literally, realised that the world of conventional banking transfers was going to have to adapt to survive. With the advent of smartphones and tablets coupled with the greater mobility of the general public, the need for a more flexible system was becoming apparent.
Conventionally, tourists have either bought traveller’s cheques (remember them?) or exchanged their currency at a bureau de change; either ahead of the trip or when they arrived at their destination.
Now however, if you either don’t have time to do that, or simply prefer a more simple and flexible option, there are new fintech companies offering smart apps and services providing not just simple solutions but favourable rates. The current state of Sterling makes these apps even more worth investigating.
Fintech Meets Travel? It was bound to happen.
According to the 2016 Annual report by the World Travel & tourism Council, worldwide travel & tourism contributed an massive $7.2 Trillion to the global GDP, an incredible 9.8%. An enormous 284 million people are employed in the industry. Furthermore it is expected to see an annual growth of some 4% for the next decade. With the vast majority of these travellers, being the “children of the computer age” it is not difficult to see how “fintech meets travel”, is going to become more and more pertinent.
Prepaid currency cards look and act like a normal credit or debit card. Issued by specialist money changing companies, they allow the traveller to charge the card with money from their bank account.
The exchange rate is fixed on the day that they load the card. Then as they travel, they simply use the card in the normal way. No ridiculously high bank charges, no commission and no getting ripped with dodgy rates. Some of the companies providing this kind of service are getting so popular that waiting lists are building up, for customers keen to get their hands on the cards.
Phone apps are another area where fintech services are proving their worth in the travel sector. Companies like Payoo are providing an excellent service that suits holidaymakers and expats alike.
These companies link to banks and service providers whose numbers are growing by the day. You simply download the app, link it to your home bank account, then use your phone to pay household service bills abroad, make or receive online payments and even order goods online, making payments at a store that is linked in to the system.
Carrying multiple cards when you are travelling abroad can be a worry, losing them all at the same time causes a logistical nightmare. Enter Curve; link all your credit and debit cards in one go to one card. Then leave all your cards at home and just carry one. The card is linked to a phone app, so you decide which card you are using at any given time.
An other service you definitely have to check out as a traveler is Revolut.
As you can see, where fintech meets travel it completely revolutionises the way we spend money abroad. The systems are simple, very user friendly and will be a boon for travellers and tour companies alike.
To stress the point, Easyjet, the budget carrier, have just announced a “multimillion pound” investment in Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox’s start-up accelerator and incubator business. These were the guys behind lastminute.com, they know a bit about travel.
It is quite feasible now to imagine the day when money is all but obsolete. If you can book a flight, pay your hotel bill, dine out and go shopping all on your phone, why carry cash?
First appeared at Fintechnews Singapore