Singapore-Based TranSwap Launches E-Remittance Services for Foreign Domestic Workers

SINGAPORE 6 May 2020 -TranSwap, a home-grown cross-border payments platform for businesses, today announced that it has launched an e-remittance service, for employers of foreign domestic workers to digitally send money back to their families during Circuit Breaker. The launch comes at a time when it has been challenging for these workers to access remittance services to send money home and support their families. The home-grown FinTech start-up provides services mainly for SMEs and businesses, but they are now stepping up to help those workers who are affected by the circuit breaker measures with their remittance woes.

Employers will be able to transfer money on behalf of their workers in their local currency (mainly Rupiah, Pesos, Kyat, Rupee) seamlessly and conveniently while staying safe at home. It takes less than 5 minutes to send the money, and remittance can be tracked in real-time with end-to-end status updates. This will allow the employers to send the money on behalf of foreign workers upon the worker’s request

The cross-border payments company has also set out to provide Non-Face-To-Face (NFF) Transactions which includes having e-KYC to onboard customers. Unlike traditional remittance agents which rely on face-to-face KYC and compliance, TranSwap boasts an electronic know-your-customer (e-KYC).

By tapping on TranSwap’s remittance service, employers will have the flexibility of choosing between paying to a bank account or to a digital wallet, where the latter option is more commonly used by FDW’s families as some of them may not have bank accounts. The mobile wallet option brings further benefits to FDWs as their families can withdraw cash through ATMs without having a bank account.

Mr Benjamin Wong, CEO and co-founder of TranSwap said, “With the circuit breaker measures in place, we want to contribute to the society by providing our payment solution to affected foreign domestic workers. During these trying times, we are glad to step up to offer a safer, cheaper and more convenient online remittance service. In this way, Foreign Domestic Workers can continue to remit money to their families who may rely on their money.”

Source: Media OutReach

Covid 19 Crisis – Like it or not, Cryptocurrency is Here to Stay

Like our old saying, “When there is recession, there is an opportunity”. In 2008, we faced the world’s worst financial crisis. Lehman brothers’ collapse has shown the world the inherent vulnerabilities of our monetary system. Central banks across the globe were caught off guard. European Central Bank (ECB) hastily made deep cut in the interest rate in the hope to restore investor’s faith. However, market did not recover at the rate as expected since then. Ironically, another historical event happened in the same year – bitcoin.org domain was registered.

Fast forward to today. ECB’s idea of negative interest rate fails miserably, and US Fed follows Japan’s zero interest rate policy will lead to monetary failure in the long term. Investors, flooded with these “free” money, are facing a challenge of finding returns in their investment. As such, they are more willing to take up more risks in exchange for higher returns. Cryptocurrencies, once known to be highly speculatively, starts to re-ignite the interests of investor amid Covid-19 crisis.   

Quick Recap of Bitcoin’s History

Hailed as the “King of Cryptocurrency”, Bitcoin first appeared in investors’ radar in 2013. During that time, almost all markets were trying to recover from the Global Financial Crisis. Investors were extremely cautious not to put money in conventional financial instruments; stocks, bonds and even commodities were not spared as well as they were all interlinked with financial instruments one way or another. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is the only “tradeable asset” that was unlinked to other financial products while at the same, it offers certain degree of liquidity to investors.

That year, Bitcoin was priced at around USD 13. In less than a year, the price had skyrocketed to slightly less than USD1,300 (That’s approx. 100x returns in a year!) That price spike was not sustainable which inevitably, Bitcoin crashed; pricing it at about USD 600 in the same year.

It was a choppy ride for Bitcoin between 2013 to 2017 but it was also a “Golden Era” for Bitcoin. Thousands of new cryptocurrency exchanges were formed. Regulators from all around the world refused to acknowledge Bitcoin as an asset class. However, market will not succumb to regulations; it will just find their ways for survival. Start-ups which struggled to raise fund via conventional means starts to offer their own coins in what they called “Initial Coin Offerings”. At the end of 2017, Bitcoin was priced as high as USD 19,783!

Many crypto investors became millionaires during the Golden Era of Bitcoin. However, the peak was short-lived. By the end of 2018, many cryptocurrency exchanges collapsed, and Bitcoin had crashed to USD 3,300.

Resurgence of Cryptocurrencies during Covid-19 crisis

Over the years, we have heard many criticisms debating the intrinsic value of Bitcoin. I believe most of them are valid but not all of them. At the very least, Bitcoin laid an important pillar for further technology advancement in the area of finance and business – Blockchain technology. A classic example is Ripple (XRP) which made used of this technology to create an architecture that could facilitate faster payment settlement for financial institutions. In Japan, banks are using Ripple protocol to facilitate payment via mobile app.    

Blockchain has created an entirely new market of its own – cryptocurrency and that has completely changed the way how investors look at the economy and after more than 10 years, investors began to accept the fact that Bitcoin is here to stay. For the past 5 years, Bitcoin’s transactions has grown more than double to about 300,000 daily (source: ycharts.com last checked on 26 Apr 2020, link here)

Zhao Changpeng (CZ), CEO of Binance. Source: Binance

However, we do not see sharp price spike of Bitcoin as what it had experienced before in the last decades. One logical explanation is the fact that investors have more options these days.  Over time, the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem has expanded and become more diverse. There are many more cryptocurrencies now. Each is developed to solve a specific problem faced by business. Bitcoin, though it is the largest by market cap, is not longer the only cryptocurrency that investors have eyes on. For instance, Binance, one of the earliest cryptocurrency exchanges, offers its own Binance coin (BNB) that is used as a base currency to buy/sell other cryptocurrencies.  

The development of cryptocurrency exchange played an integral part of the ecosystem. In recent years, the cryptocurrency market has grown tremendously. In 2017, market capitalization was approx. USD 23 Billion which Bitcoin contributed approx. 86% of the market share. As of Apr 2020, the total market capitalization is approx. USD 218 Billion but Bitcoin’s contribution falls to approx. 63%. (Source:  https://coincodex.com/)

Hunger for “Safe Haven” and Returns

Low interest rate environment is pushing investors to the edge. “Risk-free” returns from government bonds are not longer attractive and that have domino’s effects to money market. On the other hand, term deposits in bank is eroding the value of money.  

Investors are forced to take on higher risk. Ironically, investors deemed the more speculative Bitcoin as a “safe haven”  because it is the only “asset” that is unlinked from other markets such as stocks and bonds which are expected to hit badly in the worsening Covid-19 situations.    

Such behaviour exhibited by investors prompted cryptocurrency e-wallet players to provide more “banking” services. The idea of staking requires cryptocurrency holder to deposit their cryptocurrency to their e-wallet accounts. In exchange, holder will receive an interest, generally higher than what conventional banks are offering, which are paid in cryptocurrency into the e-wallet. For instance, Crypto.com is giving up to 18% interest (per annum) if you are staking their CRO coins.

To attract more investors jumping into the cryptocurrency world, cryptocurrency players are releasing “Stablecoins” which are pegged to the fiat currency. The idea is well received by the investors. At the point of writing, the total market capitalization of the Stablecoin has already surpassed USD 7 Billion. (source: https://cryptonews.com/news/billions-in-crypto-dry-powder-on-exchanges-ahead-of-bitcoin-6326.htm)

With no where to put their dollar, investors are using these “crypto-banking services” to battle this low interest rate environment. All investment carry risk and it is all about managing it. The Stablecoin, in one way or another, eliminates volatility and that has been perceived by investors as a “safe haven”.

Central Banks – The Only Reason Why Cryptocurrency Survives

Central bankers are lacking the understanding of the hyper-globalized markets. Lowering interest rate to prevent the economy from falling apart is like giving a cold medicine to a flu patient. It manages some symptoms, but it does not prepare the markets for recovery.

The modern economies are more complex but central bankers are not equipped with the skills and tools to tackle the economic problems. Flooding the market with “free” money is detrimental to entire financial system and investors are losing their faith. Banks are not able to earn enough profit (interests) from their loan business. Consumers are pushed to put money in all type of financial products fearing that their savings might be eroded in future value terms if they just put it with the bank as deposit.

In short, money is devaluing persistently forcing investors to put their dollars on high-risk technology sector to seek for better returns. In fact, it is already happening before cryptocurrency even exists. Tech stocks, which have all-along been speculative in nature, advanced in the last recession. From an investor’s perspective, it was counter-intuitive decision, but the bet was rewarding. In the short 10 years, technology has advanced, and it is the only resource that we could rely on to keep our economy engine moving despite the lockdowns in major cities.

That is the way the global economy is heading – Technology. Like it or not, our financial system will be getting more complex in future (in fact, it is complex enough now) that human central bankers may not be able to tackle multiple economic problems at the same time. To put it objectively, we will not know how financial technology will play out in the future but now, those with money are betting on cryptocurrency.

This article has been reposted @medium https://link.medium.com/QpcvKrMc15

Binance Announcement – Up to 10% Cashback on Crypto Purchases via the “Pay with Bank Card” Service

Source: Binance

Binance will launch a cashback promotion for users to buy cryptocurrency using their Visa debit or credit cards via the “Pay with Bank Card” service on Binance. The promotion will run for 4 days and the rewards will be given out on a first come first served basis. The rewards will reset each day. 

Activity Period: 2020/04/25 8:00 AM to 2020/04/29 8:00 AM (UTC)

Each daily activity period runs for 24 hours from 8:00 AM (UTC) to 8:00 AM (UTC) the next day. Daily reward resets will occur at 7:59:59 AM (UTC) each day.

Activity Rules:

Number of RewardsFirst Daily Purchase Amount (USD Equivalent)Bonus Amount 
30$5,000+500 BUSD
100$1,000 – $4,999100 BUSD
200$500 – $99940 BUSD
1,000$300 – $49920 BUSD

Users are entitled to one bonus amount per day based on their first purchase amount for each daily period.

  • The first 30 users to buy 5,000+ USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 500 BUSD each.
  • The first 100 users to buy between 1,000 USD and 4,999 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 100 BUSD each.
  • The first 200 users to buy between 500 USD and $999 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 40 BUSD each.
  • The first 1,000 users to buy between 300 USD and $499 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 20 BUSD each.

Terms & conditions:

  • Crypto purchases must be made using Visa cards via the “Pay with Bank Card” service, where users need to add their bank card details on Binance. 
  • Accepted fiat currencies include: USD, EUR, GBP, PLN, NOK, DKK, RUB, UAH.
  • Rewards will be determined by each user’s first daily purchase amount and will run on a first come first served basis each day.
  • Rewards will be distributed within a week after the competition ends. You will be able to login and see your rewards via the Distribution History page in the Account Center.
  • Binance reserves the right to cancel or amend any Activity or Activity Rules at our sole discretion.

See Original Post here

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency is highly speculative and it is not suitable for investors who are not ready to lose their investment. Investors who don’t have prior knowledge in cryptocurrency investment should speak to their financial advisors before making an investment commitment.

Important Note: Existing cryptocurrency investors who wishes to jump onto Binance platform may wish to consider using my referal https://www.binance.com/en/register?ref=URB5YCE6. I will receive a commission for every trade that my invitee made. However, I have set aside additional 5% commission fee which will be “kicked back” to my invitees (those who have used my referral codes to sign up an account with Binance) to reduce their trading fees. Once you are a Binance user, you could customize referral code to invite your friends like what I am doing now! Happy Trading!

Crypto.com Launches MCO VISA Card for US Citizens

Crypto.com, Hong Kong-based Blockchain startup, has announced new MCO VISA pre-paid card for the US Citizens. The U.S. card launch in partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank has been set to July 14, 2019. The new US card also comes with new design. Crypto.com has also added in Frost Rose Gold card in their portfolio of pre-paid cards.

The MCO Visa Card is a prepaid card that features high-end metal cards with no annual or monthly fees, up to 5% back on all spending, unlimited airport lounge access and subscription rebates for popular streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify based on the number of MCO staked. The new design prominently features the Crypto.com brand icon, the Ethereum Lion.

2019 is the year for cryptocurrency. Facebook announced their own currency – Libra. Shortly after Facebook’s announcement, Bitcoin has rallied and crossed the USD 10,000 mark. Ever since Crypto.com’s announcement on their entry to US market, their MCO coin has jumped more than 20% within a day.

Reservations for the MCO Visa Card are made using the Crypto.com App which includes a three-minute customer onboarding process including ID verification. Using the App, customers are able to manage their card usage, move funds between crypto and fiat, and freeze or unfreeze their card with a single tap. The App also allows users to securely buy, sell, store, send, and track cryptocurrencies.

All MCO Visa Card transactions are denominated in fiat currency. All cryptocurrency exchanges to fiat currency take place before users may load their MCO Visa Card for use on the Visa network.

Bonus – If any of you guys want to earn some additional income other than the return from your cryptocurrency investment, you could use my referral code [8iym0srez5] upon sign-up ( alternatively, you could just click on this link https://platinum.crypto.com/r/8iym0srez5 ). Upon successful sign-up, you could also start earning commission from the users that you have successfully referred. For details, please read https://help.crypto.com/articles/2472277-platinum-referral-rewards-program

Why YouTrip Mastercard is a hype?

In the hope of maintaining Singapore as the regional financial hub, the government has been encouraging Singapore banks to adopt technology in improving business operations. Ever since Singapore Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong highlighted that banks should adopt blockchain technology in bank settlements in 2015, fintech  start-ups from all around the world flew into Singapore. In 2018, YouTrip, an e-wallet start-up, left its home ground – Hong Kong – one of the world’s largest financial hubs to launch their venture in Singapore.

YouTrip positioned itself as a multicurrency e-wallet for travellers. It has developed technical infrastructure for multicurrency exchanges with a network of FX providers. The uniqueness of its technology is to offer FX exchanges to individual at a competitive rate that banks cannot provide. However, that itself is not going to give YouTrip an edge against the traditional money changers as their rates are almost the same. Furthermore, storing money digitally in the e-wallet is useless if travellers can’t use that to make payment in stores.

As such, YouTrip partners Mastercard (stock quote:MA) . Intuitively, this makes the YouTrip card more “useable” as users could make their payment if the respective merchants accept Mastercard. The strategy works. Months after their launch, number of users has surpassed 50,000. That caught investors’ attention. In May 2019, YouTrip raised USD 25.5M in Pre-Series A funding which is quite impressive for a Singapore-based company that is barely a year old.

YouTrip is a Bank Disruptor?  

The recent capital injection is useful in helping YouTrip to improve their technology infrastructure which is the backbone for all financial institutions. In fact, this is the challenge that YouTrip must overcome. Normal people deposit money digitally in their saving accounts with the belief that the bank’s technology could safeguard their savings. Let’s extend the idea further. When we top up money in YouTrip e-wallet, can we expect from them the same security level that bank is offering? If you have read my earlier blog post, YouTrip is trying to assure the public that they have the same level of technology that bank has in terms of risk management and anti-money laundering capability. However, building up the infrastructure equates to building faith among users which takes time. By and large, YouTrip, as a company, is still too young for the public to put their trust (saving) with them.

To succeed in the fintech space, a fintech start-up has to offer the same level of services (or even better) that the bank is offering. As a matter of fact, that’s the value that fintech start-up is offering to the market. YouTrip has identified that digitalizing the existing business model of money changer is the way to enter the market which undeniably, they have succeeded and even convince major payment solution company like Mastercard and locally, Ezlink to participate in their growth stories.

They have great partners and now, it is for them to shape the market behaviour.  

View this post on Instagram

Friends have been asking me about @youtripsg MasterCard. My reply is always the same it is a good for travel. You get better exchange rate and for some major currencies, you could even buy and keep them in the E-wallet and that’s good for traveller who like to plan their trip ahead to capture the best possible rates. Travellers should give this a try. Now you could even get an additional $10 if you sign up and do your first top up via my referral link http://bit.do/youtrip-weewu P.s. it is also a #ezlink card if that matters to you. #instatravel #travelphotography #travelgram #instalifestyle #mastercard #youtrip #instafinance #discountcodes #discount #referralcode #reward #instareward #singapore #fintech #startup #ewallet

A post shared by Neo Wee Wu 梁威武 (@weewu) on

E-wallet business – More Than Just a Debit Card

E-wallet, as the name suggested, should work like a WALLET. It should be able to keep fiat currencies, credit cards and reward cards etc.  YouTrip positioned themselves as a wallet for travellers only provides the entry to the market but personally, I don’t think it is going to be sustainable. Singaporeans love travels but their time are mostly spent in Singapore. Although YouTrip card holders could use their cards to pay for public transports, there are other players rolling up similar services that gives better discounts. In short, the YouTrip card has not much use in Singapore given so many other options available.

There must be strong enough reasons for users to continue keeping YouTrip card in their wallet

Where are the merchants?

Banks refuses to lower rates as it hurts profitability. Offering low fees is a good penetration strategy but that is not going to be the barrier for new entrants. YouTrip needs to bring in more partners into their ecosystem. For a start, they should just be focusing on bringing more values to travellers. For instance, a reward system in the form of discount for travel insurance or hotel booking for heavy YouTrip users (frequent travellers) that will encourage card usage.

Basically, virtual money is only useful in 2 ways – One, I can use that to buy into services or products at greater discount. Two, I can grow it so that I could use that in the future. In principle, any fintech company that can achieve both can basically be called a bank. ANT Financial is one classic example. However, most fintech start-ups are only able to deliver services or products at greater discount than credit cards companies (which is exactly what YouTrip is trying to do!). However, keeping up with this in a longer term costs money and it may not be sustainable. YouTrip has to “engineer” a new form users’ reliance to your services to keep themselves afloat in the competitive fintech business. In my opinion, better forex rate?Nah!

Grab, a South-East Asian fintech and transport services company, has established a strong network of merchants in the region. Grab Pay, e-wallet services by Grab, can be used to pay for any goods in their marketplace and delivered to users’ doorsteps. Outside Singapore, you could even use Grab to pay off your transportation in other South East Asia countries. Grab is also following footsteps of ANT Financial. They are hiring consultant and it is rumoured that they are preparing to be a virtual bank in the event that Singapore is issuing virtual bank license like what Hong Kong did

Getting merchants into ecosystem is crucial in developing use cases and I am sure there are a lot more to be explored. Grab’s way of linking transportation and merchant seems to be working in South East Asia market. YouTrip is not Grab. They have to offer use cases that are different from what their counterparts are offering. They could study what their closest competitor, Singtel Dash is doing. For a start, why not just tap on existing e-commerce players? That might be faster for YouTrip.

In short, YouTrip has a good start but it is still a hype that I am doubtful it could sustain as a travel card. As of now, I am keeping my YouTrip card in my drawer.

Singapore-based Multi-Currency E-Wallet Platform Raised USD 25.5M In Pre-Series A

  • YouTrip is Singapore’s first multi-currency mobile wallet with a prepaid Mastercard® that offers zero transaction fees across 150+ currencies at wholesale exchange rates
  • US$25.5m raised from major Asian family offices and venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners, the largest pre-Series A fintech funding round in Southeast Asia
  • Over 200,000 downloads and 1 million transactions processed 10 months since launch
  • Funding will drive development of YouTrip’s technical payment infrastructure, launch of new product features and its regional expansion plans in Southeast Asia 

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 16 May 2019 – YouTrip, Singapore’s first multi-currency mobile wallet with a prepaid Mastercard ®, has successfully raised US$25.5m in a pre-Series A fundraised. Participating investors include major Asian family offices and venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners, founded by ex-Sequoia Partner Yinglan Tan. This marks the largest pre-Series A funding round for a fintech startup operating in Southeast Asia.

YouTrip co-founders, Arthur Mak and Caecilia Chu

Launched in August 2018, YouTrip is a multi-currency mobile wallet s pecially designed with travellers in mind, allow ing users to pay in over 150 currencies with no hidden fees and at wholesale exchange rates . The mobile app also allows for the exchange and storage of 10 selected currencies in advance through the in-app exchange feature. The YouTrip mobile application works with a linked pre-paid Mastercard ® — issued by EZ-Link — and can be used to make payments at more than 30 million Mastercard accepting merchants worldwide.

Fuelled by growing purchasing power and more affordable travel options , Southeast Asia’s population of over 650 million people represents one of the largest and fastest growing outbound travellers market globally – it is expected to total US$80 billion in outbound travel expenditure by 2020, up from US$67 billion in 2018 or a 10% CAGR. Singapore is the biggest contributor to this region, with Singaporeans being one of the most frequent travellers and biggest travel spenders globally.

Caecilia Chu, co- f ounder and CEO of YouTrip said, “As a frequent traveller, I was surprised with how much banks mark up on overseas transactions – this was among the many reasons why I started YouTrip with Arthur Mak, who is also Chairman of YouTrip . As the regional travel industry continues to post robust growth, YouTrip recognises the pain points of travellers and equally, the immense opportunity to better serve their financial needs. We are dedicated to creating the best mobile financial services for travellers by simplifying overseas spending and creating a fuss-free travel experience.”

Pachara Lawjindakul, Principal at Insignia Ventures Partners added, “The fintech space in Southeast Asia is developing at a relentless pace to meet evolving consumer expectations and the travel industry represents an immense untapped market at the intersection of this growth. YouTrip is led by an experienced team of founders and executive team who are perfectly positioned to capitalise on this opportunity. The success of the initial launch in Singapore provides a great foundation to develop a strong roadmap for growing the multi-currency and cross-border payments ecosystem in Southeast Asia.”

Bank-issued credit and debit cards typically carry an overseas transaction fee that can be as high as 3.5%. O verseas purchases made with credit cards also usually entail a Dynamic Currency Conversion markup, sometimes going as high as 5% or more. YouTrip does not charge any overseas transaction fees nor markup on foreign exchange conversion .  

With the injection of funds, YouTrip is looking to invest heavily in technology innovation to further develop its technical payment infrastructure and roll out new product features. Having established a foothold in Singapore, it has also set its sights on further expansion in Southeast Asia and developing localised solutions for the region’s growing class of travellers.

Since its launch in August 2018, the YouTrip mobile application has achieved over 20 0,000 downloads, processed over 1 million transactions, and has grown its team to 70 people in Singapore and Hong Kong. Users may sign up for a YouTrip account by downloading its app from the App Store or Google Play. No minimum account balance is required and registration is free. Any credit or debit card c an be used to top up the e-wallet, which has a maximum stored value of S$3,000. All registered users receive a physical prepaid Mastercard, free of charge.

Almost 50% of Singaporean Prefer Contactless Payment

Singapore, 30 April 2019 – Close to 50 per cent of Singaporeans prefer paying with contactless payments (card and mobile) instead of cash, traditional card payments and QR payments according to the 500 Singaporeans aged 18-60 years old surveyed by Visa. Almost all Singaporeans are aware of contactless payments for cards (98%), with a large majority of them (83%) using contactless card payments more frequently than they did two years ago.

Convenience is the top benefit for the popular use of contactless payments in Singapore. Close to 90 per cent of Singaporeans (86%) feel that contactless payments are more convenient and close to 50 per cent prefer contactless payments because it is hassle-free.

“We have seen tremendous success in contactless payments usage in Singapore. Today, Singapore is one of the top countries in the world for contactless payments penetration. With more new acceptance channels opening up including transit and hawker centres, we believe that the growth of contactless payments usage will accelerate. Singaporeans are extremely familiar with this mode of payment based on our data and research and it is the top-of-mind payment choice for them given the convenience, speed and security benefits of this payment experience,” said Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei. 

Findings from the research also indicated that 60 per cent of Singapore consumers are interested in using self-check-out kiosks rather than engaging with a cashier. In addition, more than half (54 per cent) choose contactless cards as their preferred payment method at self-service payment kiosks.  Only nine per cent of Singaporeans choose to use cash.

In terms of futuristic payment methods, six in 10 Singaporeans are interested in performing transactions using AI chatbots (59%) and close to 90 per cent of them are comfortable with ordering and purchasing goods or services through chatbots. Singaporeans are most comfortable with making bookings (89%), purchasing goods or services (89 per cent) and making bill payments (80%) with this technology.


Above is part of the research finding of Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study – Singapore 2018.



A Singapore-based Insurtech Wants To Eliminate Phone Screen Protector

Soon, you do not need to have a screen protector for your phone. If you break your screen, just get it replaced for free. Axinan, a Singapore-based insurtech firm is partnering with FWD Singapore to sell insurance that protects smartphone users from damage of phone screen. Today Axinan announces the launch of igloo, catering on-demand digital insurance solutions to the everyday lifestyle needs of today’s millennials. As one of its first offerings, igloo will be introducing customisable Phone Screen Protection (PSP) plans where consumers will be able to buy policies and make claims digitally and seamlessly on the igloo mobile app.

With PSP, customers will be able to get their phone screens replaced upon physical damage to the screens. Axinan has partnered with several phone repair service companies to provide repair services islandwide. Consumers will be able to get their PSP plan on-demand and through subscription (ranging from daily, monthly and yearly) – prices are determined by the model of their devices.

Announcing the launch of igloo, Wei Zhu, Founder and CEO, Axinan said, “Axinan is an insurtech firm with a focus on developing insurance products for millennials and hence has built products catering to their lifestyle centred around gadgets, travel, e-commerce – domains not covered by traditional insurers. With igloo, we aim to provide a comprehensive suite of coverage that will be made readily available with the everyday needs of millennials in Southeast Asia in mind.”

Elaborating on this partnership with FWD Singapore, Wei Zhu added, “We are extremely excited to have FWD Singapore as our insurance partner. This streamlines a concerted passion for both parties in providing affordable lifestyle insurance to the ever-changing consumer market using technology as a key enabler.

Abhishek Bhatia, CEO, FWD Singapore, added, “As a brand that has continuously leveraged on technology to create real value and convenience in the insurance industry, FWD is delighted to work with Axinan on the Phone Screen Protection plans. We believe digital innovation will play a key role in fulfilling consumer demands today, and this partnership is a demonstration of how by focusing on what customers need, companies can provide real value-added digital services.

“FWD is happy to collaborate with like-minded partners like Axinan to contribute to a vibrant marketplace, which can only be beneficial for the entire digital insurance ecosystem,” he concluded.


According to a global study released by SquareTrade in November 2018, more than 50 million smartphones screens are broken every year. Smartphone owners accidentally broke more than 50 million phone screens last year (that’s nearly two every second), and replacing those screens cost them US$3.4 billion. The study found that 66% of smartphone owners damaged their phones in the past year, with cracked screens leading the way as the most common type of damage (29%). Scratched screens (27%) and non-working batteries (22%) took second and third place respectively, with touchscreen issues and chipped corners/sides tied at 16% each.

How YouTrip Helps Singapore Police Force to Uncover Credit Card Fraud?

Recent years, market has developed and people are keeping their money online with the help of e-wallet. E-wallet could link with our credit card and that makes online transaction cheaper and faster. The technology brings us convenient but it also opens door for fraud.

On 13 February 2019, the Singapore Police Force charged 4 individuals with syndicated credit card fraud. These individuals were charged for stealing bank credit or debit card information via external means, and using these stolen cards to top up their YouTrip accounts. Another 15 are currently also under investigation.

These suspects were initially flagged out by YouTrip’s Fraud Monitoring System, which continuously analyses transaction patterns and detects early signals of suspicious activities. We immediately handed over the case to the police to expedite investigations, which include a total of 18 suspects with more than 85 fraudulent credit card top up transactions.

Investigating & tracing transaction patterns using Data Analytics

Throughout late December and January, YouTrip’s Fraud Monitoring System, which traces and detects early signals of suspicious transactions, flagged out two key signals:

  • Signal 1: High top up amount followed by immediate purchases or cash withdrawals to deplete the account balance
  • Signal 2: High frequency of failed top up with incorrect credit / debit card credentials

By combining these two key signals and using Data Analytics techniques, YouTrip traced these signals to a specific small group of users who exhibited both behaviors. A special task force made up of Fraud Monitoring specialists and engineers was immediately set up to carry out detailed investigations. Through these investigations, they found out more transaction and usage signals that have high correlation to potentially fraudulent activities, including concentration on common merchant names (e.g. overseas ATM locations), common transaction locations, chargebacks, and citizen’s reports received, etc.

They concluded that there is a high chance that a group of 18 users may have fraudulently obtained information or cards of more than 85 fraudulent credit or debit card top up transactions used to top up YouTrip accounts. The accounts were immediately suspended.

Enhancing security measures

While investigations were underway, YouTrip rolled out a security update last week that requires mandatory OTP verification via SMS (to be sent by your credit card issuing bank), whenever a new credit or debit card is added for the first time on the YouTrip app.

This helps to further eliminate cases of fraudulent use such as to perform top-ups on YouTrip accounts using stolen credit or debit cards, in addition to the existing fraud monitoring systems and customer due diligence processes.


Security Update: mandatory OTP verification via SMS when adding bank credit/debit card on YouTrip App

“Fraud prevention and security will continue to be YouTrip’s core mission to our users. We will continue to work closely with the authorities and community to ensure a secure and seamless payment experience for all YouTrip users,” said Mr Kelvin Lam, Country Manager (Singapore), You Technologies Group.

The case is currently under litigation and YouTrip is working closely with the authorities in the ongoing investigations. YouTrip will be working with the relevant institutions to ensure a proper arrangement for affected individuals in this case.

YouTrip users can rest assured to use YouTrip as per normal, as the suspicious activities have been contained to the current identified suspects. Users can reach out to YouTrip’s  customer support team at customer@you.co, if they detect any suspicious activities in their accounts.

NETS Services Will be Available Outside Singapore For the First Time

Singapore consumers can now use the NETSPay app to make e-payments when they travel overseas; this is made possible through the joint partnership between NETS and global payment network UnionPay.

The enhanced NETSPay app comes with a new wallet feature that enables consumers to top up and pay for purchases at over 7.5 million UnionPay QR code merchants globally via QR codes. They can also make contactless payments using their near-field communication (NFC) enabled smartphones at close to 12 million UnionPay QuickPass contactless acceptance points without the need to use fiat foreign currencies when travelling.

The enhanced NETSPay app also offers a number of new features. In addition to overseas payments, users can send money to or receive money from other NETSPay users via mobile numbers or QR code. In addition, those looking to send gifts to family or friends can send e-angbaos (or electronic red packets) to their loved ones using the app. This is in addition to QR code payments in Singapore, including SG QR.

“This partnership between UnionPay and NETS is significant on several levels. First – the launch of the enhanced NETSPay app affirms our commitment to providing innovative payment products and services that can enable greater convenience and ease of payment for local consumers and businesses. Second – the enabling of NETSPay acceptance at UnionPay QR code merchants and UnionPay QuickPass contactless acceptance points around the world will allow local NETS users to make QR code and contactless payments everywhere they go, including at key destinations such as Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand when they travel overseas,” said Wenhui Yang, General Manager for UnionPay International South East Asia.

Commending on the partnership, NETS Group CEO Jeffrey Goh shares, “Working with a leading global partner such as UnionPay is part of our efforts to make NETS services seamless for our Singapore consumers. Now whether you’re shopping in Shanghai or paying for your chicken rice at your favourite hawker stall in Singapore, all you need is NETSPay.”