SINGAPORE-BASED mobile wallet YouTrip inked a deal with Visa, Inc. to boost its expansion into the rest of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines and Malaysia.

“YouTrip looks to Malaysia and the Philippines as the next potential markets in the next six to 12 months,” the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“The two markets present massive untapped potential with outbound travel expenditure expected to reach $12.4 billion and $12 billion from Malaysia and Philippines respectively in 2021,” it added.

The tie-up is banking on the recovery of international travel, saying regional travel is likely to be the first to bounce back.

“Unlike regional travel in other parts of the world such as Europe or the United States of America, traveling within Southeast Asia requires multi-currency spending,” it said.

Visa head of digital partnerships in Asia Pacific Matt Woods said the payment solution will be “ideal for international e-commerce and cross-border travel.”

Based on a 2019 study by Visa, Southeast Asian consumers have been demonstrating strong preference for digital payments.

YouTrip is a multi-currency wallet that allows the conversion of e-wallet money from one currency to another, with wholesale exchange rates and no foreign currency transaction fees for over 150 currencies. Top-up can be done by users through their bank accounts or credit cards.

Given restriction measures in place, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is hopeful that more Filipinos will opt for digital transactions. It wants e-payments to make up 50% of total transactions in the country in terms of both volume and value by 2023.

In 2018, the volume of e-payments in the country made up 10% of the total, up from the 1% in 2013, according to a Better than Cash Alliance report. In terms of value, digital transactions made up 20% of the total in 2018 from just 8% in 2013. — LWTN