We’ve all been there — out and about exploring the local wonders of your holiday destination when you spot something that piques your interest.
After several minutes of haggling and negotiating, you decide to buy said item as a memento of your trip. You then proceed to the cash counter to pay for your brand new souvenir. But since you’re not familiar with the local currency, you fumble with the foreign paper notes and coins. In the worst case, you scatter some of it all over the place. And as the line behind you gets longer and longer, the inevitable panic and social anxiety sets in.
Sounds familiar? We’ve all had moments like this one way or another when we’re travelling internationally.
And in other cases, we’re sometimes left with unused foreign currency after returning from our travels. More often than not, exchanging these leftover foreign currencies is not worth it as you’ll lose some money due to the exchange rates.
This is also part of why going cashless is becoming a new way to travel efficiently.
Travelling Without Physical Cash
With modern advancements, travellers are beginning to accept “digital cash” as an alternative payment option. These days, you won’t always need to have stacks of paper notes in your pockets to be able to travel.
Credit and debit cards, e-wallets, and other forms of digital payment methods have all but replaced physical cash in metropolitan cities like New York, Dubai, and Singapore — where cashless travellers are well-accommodated, from airport transfers to hotel check-ins, and even dining options.
In the same vein, payments for in-flight purchases on many airlines have also gone cashless for the past several years. And to further prove this point, Visa sent a lucky traveller on a once-in-a-lifetime trip using nothing but credit cards to fund the journey. But Visa isn’t the only company jumping on the cashless travel bandwagon. There’re several companies offering ways to enjoy your holiday without worrying about carrying a stack of cash on your person.
On the local (Malaysian) front, Merchantrade Money offers jet-setters the option to buy and sell up to 20 foreign currencies with its multi-currency wallet function on the Android and iOS apps. Thus eliminating the need to look high-and-low for money changers with favourable exchange rates.
Then there’s AirAsia’s BigPay, a fully-licensed e-money issuer from the homegrown airline brand. The credit service affords users plenty of opportunities to save money when they spend using foreign currencies via their BigPay cards.
The company does this by removing banks (and to an extent, frequent and exorbitant banking fees) from the equation.
This goes to show that travelling cashless is indeed a feasible endeavour.