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ECARD is one of the first UnionPay network prepaid cards on the market right now—the largest card network in the world. The company noted that it is very inconvenient to travel because of payment related constraints, especially for travelers to/from the U.S and Asia. Travelers need to have something in the palm of their hand that can make these payment processes easier. Owing to these disparate digital payment methods, travelers are forced to trade in cash, which means dealing with a lot of currency exchange and hidden fees. To put things in perspective, China currently has 24 percent Visa coverage, and 15 percent MasterCard. Subsequently, for anyone entering this market from the U.S, there would be considerable friction opposing their payment.Travelers are thus being forced to carry cash to exchange at the airport, at an exchange fee as high as 10 percent.
Secondly, it is very inconvenient because of the physical volume of the currency to be carried around.
Our goal is to eventually tie in with multiple merchants and become a global e-banking system, that doesn’t care where you are, where you go, all you need is to have the ECARD to live like a local
Your Money in Your Pockets, Wherever You Go
Potential users can go onto ECARD’s website and click ‘Buy.’ All that is required is proper documentation such as SSN, Name, Address, Birth Date, to be filled out, i.e. the basic KYC process. For someone without a social security number, they can also submit a government-issued ID and a proof of address and upon approval; potential users can enjoy the card and avail its many advantages. ECARD is also in the process of connecting with different networks like Western Union so that people can load their cash onto these networks, at retail outlets like Walmart.
In the case of one professor from the U.S, the person found herself at a station in China with a problem. The professor had exhausted all the physical cash she had exchanged at the airport and didn’t have any more RMB(Renminbi) with her. So she took her Visa card out hoping to pay for the ticket with it. Unfortunately, the station did not accept Visa, MC, or Amex. They only accept UnionPay cards and so she had to find herself a five-star hotel to convert the money on her Visa to cash at exorbitant rates.
In yet another scenario, a Chinese couple working in the U.S wanted to send money back to their parents in China each month. Buried by work, the family needed a way to send their income home with minimal hassle to their elderly parents and perhaps establish a way that was least expensive while being safe. They switched over to ECARD, affording the parents back home the luxury of convenience while giving the couple overseas, both the time and peace of mind to work—not having to worry about moving the money anymore. The card was in itself easy to use, and the people back home were able to use it directly at POS devices. ECARD wants to provide a boundary-less payment solution, which everyone can have through the use of a simple app.
"Thus when you travel around the world, you can just use your card. We will adjust the exchange rate via UnionPay, and we only charge a fee of 1.49 percent"
The Vision for a Simpler Paradigm
The founder of ECARD was overseas facing a payment predicament, unable to use any other payment models. He used local friends’ credit cards, which needless to say was not sustainable or private. Subsequently, he sought to handle these processes in another way, for people from other western countries to Asia, or vice versa. He set out to create one solution, for everyone, and especially for people who travel a lot that could help them enjoy a way of payment while making it convenient for them. ECARD’svision then is to break the barriers of payment and redefine the way of thinking. Because every time people travel to another country, they need to get used to a new financial system, which is inconvenient and hard to understand. “Our goal is to eventually tie in with multiple merchants and become a global e-banking system, that doesn’t care where you are, where you go, all you need is to have the ECARD to live like a local,” adds Tsao. ECARD will also look for more payment solutions, international ones that they can add to their current solutions to provide all customers, a frictionless transaction experience across all borders. The company is working currently with Western Union and MoneyGram who only have limited agents that they can send their money to. The people who make the money transfer, have to choose one of the branches that are close to their parents or home. With ECARD, they are accepted in all the banks in China, and users can visit any ATM/branch in China and withdraw cash, or use any POS system. ECARD has a very strict compliance policy as well to help monitor all these processes, to make sure that the cards are working correctly while delivering convenience and compliance, and at the same time, putting the power of people’s money back into their own hands.