Superrich faces stalled growth as tourists prefer travel cards

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Renowned local money changer Superrich Currency Exchange (1995) Co, known by its SuperRich Orange brand, has faced a challenging start to the year with its transaction growth stalling at zero during the initial four months, despite an increase in foreign travellers. The stagnation in Superrich’s growth is largely due to the rising popularity of travel card services, which are increasingly preferred by tourists for their convenience.

The company, which maintained its transaction volume at 32 billion baht (US$875 million), matching the previous year’s figures, sees this as a reflection of its expectations for 2024. Piya Tantivachyanon, the company’s president and CEO, acknowledged the impact of digital payment methods.

“Although tourism improved in terms of both outbound and inbound travellers, many people have shifted to using travel cards.

“Consequently, as Superrich’s business largely relies on cash-based transactions, the company anticipates a lower net profit of around 100 million baht (US$2.7 million) for 2024, down from more than 200 million baht (US$5.5 million) annually in recent years.”

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Despite negotiations with the Bank of Thailand to expand into travel card services, Superrich was unable to gain approval due to regulatory constraints. This limitation has kept travel cards out of the grasp of money changers like Superrich, as they are currently only serviced by banks and are considered a debit card service.

To keep up with the digital shift, Superrich has acquired an e-wallet licence from the central bank, taking steps to diversify its offerings. Piya revealed that the company is in the process of testing its digital system and is targeting the launch of its e-wallet service by the end of 2024, which will allow transactions via QR codes and cash cards at their outlets.

“The market is shifting towards digital services and a cashless society. The company needs to adjust its business operations to align with the digital era.”

This shift has seen Superrich invest approximately 100 million baht in digital technology in recent years and plans to slow down its physical expansion, which currently stands at 34 outlets, reported Bangkok Post.

Regional competitor YouTrip, Southeast Asia’s leading multi-currency digital payments platform, has demonstrated potential within the digital payments sector. Since launching in Singapore in 2018, YouTrip has processed US$10 billion in payments through its travel card and reported a significant 180% growth in payments and profitability in 2023 compared to the previous year.

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