The surging number of overseas visitors to Ireland can now benefit from making contactless payments in their own currency, through a new service launched today by Kerry-based fintech company Fexco.
The service will mean that when electing to pay their bill by tapping their phone, tourists can be offered a foreign exchange rate on the spot and know exactly what the cost will be in their home currency.
Fexco is working alongside AIB Merchant Services (AIBMS) to roll out the service across Ireland, with Muckross Park Hotel in Co Kerry the first business to provide the service to its guests. With growth in the number of overseas visitors to Ireland increasing 7% in 2018, according to Tourism Ireland, it is clear that offering easy payment options is a way for retail and hospitality outlets to enhance their attractiveness to high-spending tourists.
Fexco has already seen a growing use of dynamic currency conversion (DCC) options by debit and credit card users in Ireland, allowing card users to have certainty of the foreign exchange rate on any transaction in a currency different to their home bank account.
Services like Apple Pay and Android Pay have meant smartphones are rapidly being adopted as an alternative to traditional cash or card options with over 20% of global smartphone users relying on their phone as a wallet. Apple Pay already has a user base of over 250 million and these early adopters of new technology make up 90% of those worldwide opting to make contactless payments with their phone.
Shane McElroy, Head of Head of Strategic Development Europe at Fexco said:
“The way we pay for goods and services is evolving, with our smartphones increasingly being used as a wallet, particularly in younger demographic groups. It makes sense to enhance our product offering to ensure the foreign exchange service we provide to users paying by card is also now available for Apple and Android Pay users. Working alongside AIBMS we hope that many other Irish businesses, particularly those serving tourists, will join Muckcross Park Hotel in offering a contactless foreign exchange option.”
Robbie Doherty, Head of Product, AIB Merchant Services:
“We are constantly innovating and evolving our payment services to ensure the merchants we work with are able to meet the needs of their customers. Given the rapid adoption of payment options using smartphones it was a natural step to ensure that contactless foreign exchange services were possible on these platforms. We’re now looking forward to rolling out this option across our network of 1,400 terminals in Ireland and the UK.”
Brian Miley, Director of Sales & Marketing, Muckross Park Hotel said:
“In what has been a strong period for Irish tourism we are dealing with an ever-greater number of visitors from countries all over the world. Our guests like the option to pay in their home currency, and a growing proportion of them are looking to make contactless payments with their smartphones. This new foreign exchange service from Fexco and AIBMS provides them with the certainty and security they are looking for, and shows Muckcross Park Hotel as an early adopter of guest-friendly technology solutions.”
AIBMS and Fexco will be targeting this new service at retail, hospitality and car rental businesses, and making it available to all AIB Merchant Services’ customers across the UK and Ireland.