15 Sep - 7 min read
One of the most memorable moments for parents would probably be the day their children leave home to pursue higher education abroad. For some, this might even be the first time they are living apart from their children. Understandably, it is a transition period that is full of mixed feelings; excitement for their children’s new journey but also worry for their well-being in a new environment. Not to mention, there are also financial aspects to consider. For parents whose children are leaving for higher education abroad, these feelings are amplified since long distance makes it difficult for them to offer help during emergencies.
In the financial aspect of things, about 60 per cent* of parents who sent their children to study abroad admitted that the exchange rate plays an important role in deciding how to make payments for their children’s education fees. Other factor includes concerns that the large international transfer amounts will be rejected.
That said, one of the benefits of living in today’s world is the convenience that comes with modern technology. It not only elevates our quality of life but also provides us solutions that surpass traditional methods. For example, instead of making a wire transfer, parents today have the option to provide their children with a Visa multi-currency prepaid or debit card and enjoy a myriad of financial benefits.
(*WPM International Student Payment Experiences White Paper, 2018)
Visa partners with banks and other companies to launch multi-currency debit and prepaid cards that can hold and pay in multiple currencies. It functions just like your everyday debit card that can be used for daily transactions. You can use it for contactless payments by tapping it against a point of sale (POS) terminal, or as an ATM card to withdraw your money.
The main difference between a multi-currency card and your everyday debit card lies in its name – multi-currency, as it allows cardholders to hold and pay in multiple currencies.
The multi-currency card is not exclusively issued by Visa, but by Visa’s partner issuers, typically banks such as HSBC and RHB that issue multi-currency debit cards. It can also be issued by foreign exchange companies such as Merchantrade Money that provides its own multi-currency prepaid card.
Now that you know what a Visa multi-currency card is, how exactly can parents with children studying abroad benefit from it? Let’s find out.
As explained previously, the biggest perk of owning a multi-currency card is the ability to hold multiple currencies with just one account. Typically, when you want to go travelling, you need to find a money changer that offers the best exchange rates to get the most out of your money. With a multi-currency card, there is no need to visit a money changer as it allows you to automatically switch currencies wherever you go. You can buy, save, transfer, and spend the money in your account in the currency of the country you are currently in.
Opening a multi-currency account is as simple as opening your everyday savings account. For a multi-currency debit card, you can visit any banks of your choice that offer a multi-currency account and have the multi-currency card issued to you at no cost. On the other hand, for a multi-currency prepaid card, you can simply choose to visit the foreign exchange company’s website or any branches nearby. Some charges may apply to get your multi-currency prepaid card issued to you.
With a multi-currency account and the Visa multi-currency card that comes with it, you get to enjoy competitive real-time currency exchange rates at minimal or even zero exchange fees, depending on the banks or card’s issuers. That is why a multi-currency card is suitable for frequent travellers and also for someone who is staying overseas temporarily for a long period, such as an international student.
However, do keep in mind that the extent of benefits that you can enjoy also depends on the issuers. Besides that, some banks do offer attractive interest rates on your account balance of selected foreign currencies for selected Visa multi-currency cards. Hence, besides providing your children with financial security, you will also get to save and grow the money at the same time.
With the Visa multi-currency card, your child can conveniently pay for his or her tuition fees online or offline without any worry that the payment may get rejected due to large international transfer amounts, while parents can enjoy competitive currency exchange rates, as determined by the respective card’s issuer and zero exchange fees. What’s more, Visa is accepted by many merchants worldwide, including most schools across the world.
Besides paying for his or her tuition fees, the Visa multi-currency card will come in handy for your child’s day-to-day life abroad. Living in a foreign country does not mean that they should revert to the “cash-only” life or one without the convenience of contactless payments or tap to pay.
Students will get to enjoy using local currencies without conversion fees with their Visa multi-currency card when they shop online or in-store, no matter where they are in the world. Using a multi-currency card allows direct transactions between the cardholder and the merchant, which makes the transaction process simpler and at a lower cost since there are no intermediaries involved. Since the card carries multiple currencies, money is exchanged automatically at no extra charges.
The Visa multi-currency card can also be used for ATM withdrawals at no extra charges. When in need of cash, Visa multi-currency cards would have got you covered too.
Most banks today allow applicants to open an account online, without the need to physically visit the bank’s branches. It is easier for existing customers of a bank to open a multi-currency account. However, for new customers, you may need to open a savings account first with the bank of your choice. So, make sure to check with the bank you plan to open an account with as the requirements may differ. Foreign exchange companies today also provide an all-digital account opening option.
As mobile banking becomes the norm in today’s new normal – multi-currency account holders can expect such services as well. This applies to non-bank Visa multi-currency card issuers such as Merchantrade Money who have their dedicated mobile app for managing the account.
Through the convenience of mobile banking and cash management mobile app, cardholders can easily manage expenses and track balance via the mobile app. Say goodbye to second-guessing if you have a sufficient account balance.
Visa protects your multi-currency card the same way it does for all of its other cards and promises robust security solutions to help consumers achieve ultimate peace of mind.
For example, the Verified by Visa programme provides multiple layers of protection for online transactions as well. Visa employs a password-protected authentication system to confirm the identity of the cardholder when a Visa card is used online. A password will be sent to the cardholder via SMS, so only the cardholder can authorise any kind of payment made online. Meanwhile, for multi-currency debit cards issued by banks, you can also rest assured that your deposit in the bank is protected by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM).
This way, you can be sure that your money is always protected; both offline and online, and even abroad.
All parents have their children’s best interests at heart, even more so when they’re physically apart. Visa multi-currency debit or prepaid cards can offer parents financial benefits and peace of mind knowing that their children will have access to financial security.
If you are interested to find out more about Visa multi-currency debit or prepaid cards, you may check with your respective banks or preferred foreign exchange companies for more information. To find out more about Visa, you can visit their website here.
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