Ever tried exchanging currency in mid-December? You’ll be there awhile.
Thankfully, the emergence of technology and the growth of the digital sector and e-payment apps have paved the way toward modern convenience.
For Merchantrade Asia, their digitisation has relieved many of us who regularly exchange foreign currency.
But there are actually a number of really useful features on their app known as Merchantrade Money, aside from currency exchange or remittance.
As an e-wallet that has a variety of features that would be useful to regular, intermittent, or even hopeful travellers, here’s a quick rundown:
1. It’s A Multi-Currency Wallet
Instead of just exchanging a single currency, Merchantrade Moneyallows for multiple currencies to be stored in their e-wallet—up to 10 currencies along with Ringgit Malaysia. (According to a representative from Merchantrade Asia, there are currently plans to double this number by the end of 2018).
Usually, travellers have two options when it comes to overseas purchases. You can either buy a bulk of foreign currency at a local money changer, or you can elect to use a standard payment card options overseas (something that’s usually quite costly due to mark ups on exchange rates and service fees).
A third option now exists, where you can opt to buy foreign currencies to store in an e-wallet like Merchantrade Money—with the rates locked in from the start and no transaction fees. (They currently have a 2% cashback promo on all foreign currency payments from 20 October 2018 to 20 January 2019).
2. You Can Use It Just Like A Regular Visa Card
The prepaid card is a regular Visa card.
Instead of having to worry about looking for that magical QR code on the counter to see if the shop you’re at accepts your form of e-wallet payment, just ask if they accept Visa.
The workaround which Merchantrade Money offers: since you’ve bought foreign currency (at a decent rate) on the app, there won’t be any transaction fees when using the Merchantrade Money Visa card overseas.
If you haven’t purchased any foreign currency prior to your trip (yes, we’ve all been there), you can still use the card. You’ll just have to pay a 1% transaction fee, subject to Visa’s exchange rates.
In the event that you’re in a place that only takes cash, pop the card into any Visa Plus ATM machine, and you’ll be able to pull cash out—subject to a RM10 international transaction fee.(Do note that the ATM operator in that country might charge an additional fee to complete the transaction).
3. You Can Track Your Expenses On The Go
Merchantrade Money actually functions as a prepaid card, with a mobile app attached to it.
The app has a handy expense tracker to make sure that you’re keeping within budget and not getting caught up in the confusion of all the different currencies (I can’t be the only one who stops bothering with calculations mid-trip and end up overspending during holidays).
So you could even go for a mega-tour around the world and be able to track and control your currencies via the app, as the limit of 10 currencies should be enough for most of us. Just in case you run out, you can also easily top up the e-wallet via online banking options.
4. Oh No, I’ve Lost My Card!
People tend to get nervous with carrying prepaid or even debit cards around, especially while travelling to areas that you aren’t familiar with.
In cases where you lose the card, usually you would call your bank and cancel it.
However, as the Merchantrade Money prepaid card is connected to the mobile app, the process is even simpler. In the unfortunate event you lose your card, you can whip out your phone and block it right away.
The e-wallet acts as a buffer because it isn’t actually linked to your bank account—further acting as a safeguard.
5. Shop Like A Local In International Markets
With the development of globally connected virtual marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, online shopping has never been easier.
But there’s a caveat to all this: you usually have to pay pretty high fees when buying stuff overseas due to conversion because it basically depends on the credit card rates.
Merchantrade Money works a little differently. In a nutshell, you’re not bound by the daily fluctuating rates. Instead, once you “lock in” your currency purchase, that’s the rate you get.
Protip: When you have a multi-currency e-wallet, always pay in foreign currency, never in Ringgit Malaysia. Eg., when shopping online on Amazon UK, and the options are to pay in MYR or GBP, always pick GBP. This will avoid currency conversion fees and the high exchange rates set by the other party.
I’ve always dreaded the inevitable mountain of preparation for long holidays, especially if the vacation spans across multiple countries. I’m the sort of person who lines up at the nearest money changer a day before my flight leaves and takes my chances with the rates. .
The world is getting smaller, and opportunities for us to broaden our horizons (figuratively and literally) are only getting more common. Idealistically, we’d be a world without borders sometime in the future.
And with the development and fine-tuning of more services, Merchantrade Asia is taking that futuristic step towards that ideal scenario.
You can download the Merchantrade Money app on the Google Play Store for Android devices and the App Store for iOS devices.Register on the app and have the card delivered to you in 5 to 7 days—remember to activate the multi-currency feature at one of Merchantrade’s branches.If you want to find out more about Merchantrade Money, view their site here.
This article is written in collaboration with Merchantrade Asia.