YouTrip Review – Are the savings worth the extra hassle?

When I first heard of YouTrip, I couldn’t exactly relate it to payments as it sounds more like a Travel Startup but after deep-diving into its offerings, it definitely has some utility in the travel aspect which brings me to writing this review on my.. travel blog.

This card is pretty much a good representative of my blog – about travel and.. saving money!

I was aware of this app/card during their launch exactly one month ago on 8th August, where they did a massive press release across a lot of mainstream channels. Well, with too-good-to-be-true benefits, I’m pretty sure it will be attention catching so here I am wanting to analyze the fine details of whether this card is worth the extra hassle.

1. THE SIGNUP PROCESS

9 Aug – I attempted to signup via the website which pushed an SMS to my mobile number (that’s how they verify your mobile) which brings you to download the app. As this was a debit card application, a lot of personal data was required – including your NRIC (will this be a PDPA issue when the new law kicks in?).

10 Aug – Asked the staff if the $20 bonus (for the first 1,000 successful top-ups) was still available. They said yes.

14 Aug – Received an SMS saying that there was high demand and that my application was still processing.

17 Aug to 20 Aug – Application got rejected as my verification of photo ID documents was not approved. Well, I didn’t have access to my NRIC during the upload process so I thought that it would be fine to take a photo of the photocopy of my NRIC. I was pretty annoyed that they did not explicitly state the reason for rejection. I was running against time in order to receive my card before my overseas trip.

21 Aug – the $20 welcome bonus was fully redeemed and my card was nowhere in sight.. There’s a $10+$10 referral bonus on-going..
If only I signed on 2 weeks later, I probably could have received the free $10 from someone else’s referral. You only get one chance for that first sign-up bonus and I missed it =(

Anyway, if you’re looking for a referral link, do leave a comment below with your contact details.
There’s a capped of 10 referral signups (similar to DBS PayLah) and I will not be sharing my referral link openly.

27 Aug – Received SMS that application had been approved and that I can expect my Card soon in my physical mailbox.

30 Aug – Flew to Korea at 4am in the morning and the card was delivered that very afternoon to my house. Seems like I am not fated to use the card overseas for my trip.

Well, I attempted to add the card details into ApplePay and the card got declined and I later on verified with the staff via facebook and found out that ApplePay was not available.. (Hmm.. card not present transaction has higher risk and liabilities..)

2. TOPPING UP THE PREPAID DEBIT CARD

Upon receiving your card, you need to activate it using the mobile app (yes; yet another mobile app in your phone).

Upon activation, you are able to do a top up to your prepaid account using a credit card. The top up is pretty seamless. You just key in your credit card details and within seconds, the money will be in your account. The weird thing is that my bank card OTP was not even triggered even though I didn’t top up a small amount.

At this stage, I’m still wondering if the top up amount will be considered part of my min. spend requirement for my credit card benefits. Will update when I find out..

3. USING THE CARD – ONLINE TRANSACTIONS (OVERSEAS CURRENCY)

Now that I’m back from my trip, I can finally use my card because I have things to buy from the country that I just visited.

Why? Cause the online shops on GMarket is having awesome promotions and the price cheaper than the physical outlets at Myeongdong (which has 0 promotion and barely giving any samples) for the brand Laneige. Why? I have no idea… Even if I factor in the overseas shipping, it is still cheaper. To be honest, I feel damn dumb that going all the way to Korea doesn’t make my cosmetic purchases cheaper and that I have to resort to purchasing online.

Okay, so YouTrip claims to give the best exchange rate as compared to credit cards.

Note: It will not be a fair comparison cause the purchase/posting dates are different but let’s just use it as a close estimate.

Date Transaction Type Amount in KRW Charged in SGD Exchange rate Card
19 Aug 2018 Online 142,000 179.23 792.27 OCBC 365
29 Aug 2018 Online 63,400 80.62 786.4 DBS Visa Live Fresh
3 Sep 2018 Offline 157300 200.68 783.8 DBS Altitude Visa Card
7 Sep 2018 Online 276,080 339.89 812.2627909 YouTrip

Okay, so based on the above table, the exchange rate of YouTrip is about 3% better than the average of my non-YouTrip transactions.

I’ve gathered a couple of same-day screenshots to compare if the rates are indeed competitive.

  1. Money Changer Rate (from CashChanger) – 818
  2. Xe.com – 816.316
  3. YouTrip Rate – 812.26
  4. MasterCard Rate – 810.49
  5. GMarket Rate – 794.90

The rate of YouTrip comes in pretty competitive, just slightly behind the physical money changer and xe.com.

I guess they are pretty fair to ask us to use mastercard as a benchmark for the wholesale exchange rates which are not real time.

Info from Cash Changer


Info from XE.com

Screenshot from YouTrip

Screenshot from Mastercard

Screenshot from GMarket

So.. if things are so awesome, what’s the catch and how are they going to break even in the long run and not collapse?

3. The sacrifices that are not that obvious

  • You give up your credit card benefits
    • I might have saved ~3% by using this prepaid debit card but on hindsight, I’ve lost my could have been credit card benefits.
      • My DBS Fresh Live Card gives 5% cashback (up to $20) for online transactions
      • My OCBC 365 Card gives 3% cashback for online transactions, 6% for overseas dining (after 1st Oct 2018)
      • Citibank/DBS Altitude has 2mpd for overseas spend
      • Standard Chartered has 3% cashback in foreign currency
  • Your money in your prepaid account has no interest
    • Well, interest ranges from 0.3% to 1.8% (for my OCBC 360 account)
  • Cashing out your money to the exact cent may be difficult via ATM withdrawals/mico spending
    • This is the only potential profitability of their program. They can potentially hold a huge pool of money and some financing business..

4. Parting Statements – Is it worth the hassle?

If you are ultra calculative (like half of me), my credit card benefits should come in priority vs the usage of YouTrip card, should I be able to hit the ridiculous min. spend of the various card (OCBC raised their min. spend to $800 from 1 Oct 2018). Since the credit card benefits in recent months are going through reviews and become lousier as time goes by, the likelihood of YouTrip staying relevant is higher. Then again, like all start-ups, they are probably going through a massive acquisition campaign where they roll out highly tactical promotions in order to hook people in.

To be honest, depending on the country of travel, a mastercard may not always be the best alternative.

In my recent trip to Korea, I only started signing card on my second last day when I was making all the purchases at proper shops. For the traditional restaurants and smaller shops, credit card payment is not widely accepted. This is extra significant in Japan. You kind of use cash to make more than 70% of transactions.

I feel like YouTrip will be more like a ‘backup plan’ (you can even withdraw from overseas ATM @ $5 service fee) more than letting it become your main source of cash/money when you are overseas.

Nevertheless, they are giving free $10 right now so.. go ahead and grab the free money. Comment for referral link =D


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