Launches pioneering Study Buddy Card in partnership with Mastercard and Visa

New Delhi, 27 June, 2023: Thomas Cook (India) Limited, India’s leading omnichannel forex services company has earmarked the overseas education segment as a significant and growing opportunity. Foreign Exchange is a noteworthy driver of Company’s business and the overseas education segment having witnessed a strong YoY increase of over 162% for FY23, is displaying accelerated growth. This is reiterated in data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which reveals that the education segment with spends of USD 3.43Bn in FY23, represents approximately 13% of total overseas spends from India. With a strategic intent to expand its market share and address the needs of this high potential segment, Thomas Cook has launched a pioneering Study Buddy Card in association with Mastercard and Visa.

To reassure the parents, the unique Study Buddy Card empowers students with its range of significant features:

Key Benefits:

· Free International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

· Free global SIM Card

· Free ATM withdrawal once a month and surcharge free withdrawals at All Point ATMs in USA, Canada, Mexico, UK and Australia

· Zero Mark up on transactions in base currency

Safety/Security Benefits:

· Comprehensive Fraud Protection Insurance

· Free Card Replacement on loss of card

· Free Emergency Cash Assistance on loss of card

· 24×7 Call Support

Special Benefits:

·Free Lounge Access* at International Airports in India

·KrisFlyer miles on every forex purchase

Trends: Thomas Cook’s data reveals distinctive demand trends for the overseas education segment:

·Key source markets driving growth for the Company include Punjab, Delhi NCR, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh

·India’s metros and mini metros are displaying continued momentum of approx. 26% vs. pre-pandemic

·Strong uptick emerging from tier 2 – 4 markets: approx. 35% growth vs. pre-pandemic

·Top student destinations for the Company in 2023 include UK (contribution of 32%), Canada (26%), USA (9%), followed by Australia, Germany, France and Singapore

Thomas Cook’s Forex business today serves over 1 million retail customers annually, via its website, FXNOW (m-app and corporate booking tool), call centre, and 100+ Forex stores located across 65 metros, tier 2-4 cities/towns pan India. The business also serves 1000+ corporate clients, 1 million+ active Forex prepaid card users and over 1 Lakh students studying overseas using fees and other remittance services of the Company. Thomas Cook operates 29 counters at leading airports in India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

The Company’s Forex business has expanded its digital penetration with a unique B2B online platform – on boarding over 2300 Fx MATE partners since its
inception during the pandemic.

Mr. Deepesh Varma, Executive Vice President, Foreign Exchange, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said, “Our overseas education segment is power driving our growth story and we have witnessed a strong 162% YoY growth for FY23. We are bullish about this segment and the launch of our Study Buddy Card in collaboration with MasterCard and Visa, signals our strategic intent to expand this business.

The Study Buddy Card forms a valuable addition to our unique Study Buddy program – conceptualised to address the needs of the student segment and their parents. The Study Buddy Card has been inbuilt with a range of invaluable advantages including free International Student Identity Card (ISIC), free global sim card, zero mark up on transactions in base currency, comprehensive fraud protection insurance, free card replacement on loss of card, 24×7-call support, to empower students and offer parents that much needed reassurance. Our Study Buddy Card also offers additional benefits like airport lounge access in India*, free ATM withdrawal.”

Our unique phygital network empowers students with choice and convenience: they get to choose their preferred mode of interaction, be it our online forex store, app, call centre or extensive physical presence – over 100+ stores in 65 cities across the Country.”

Thomas Cook India has positioned itself as India ka Forex Specialist with continued focus on the foreign exchange segment and sustained leadership in the space. The Company is the largest non-bank foreign exchange services provider in India and serves over a million customers every year.

The Company’s Ghar pe Forex commitment of doorstep delivery in 2 hours, serves as a strong reassurance with a smooth, swift and effortless closure.

Mr. Sujai Raina, Head – Business Development, India at Visa, said, “Building on our deep partnership, we at Visa are excited to power the Thomas Cook Study Buddy card, a card that simplifies payments for students stepping out into the world. With the Indian overseas education market estimated to hit $100 billion by 2025, the launch couldn’t be better timed. Especially curated for Indian students studying abroad, the Thomas Cook Study Buddy card offers an array of value-added benefits to support students’ needs in education and access to funds in their destination, backed by the security, convenience and trust of  the Visa network.”

Mr. Mukul Sukhani, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Mastercard said, “We are delighted to partner with Thomas Cook to bring a specially curated solution for students bound for overseas. Travelling abroad with the destination country’s currency has continued to challenge students with high rates on foreign exchange. With this solution, we aim to simplify the process to ensure cashless travel without the hassle of worrying about currency exchange commissions. With the rising number of students moving abroad for higher education, we believe that this partnership with Thomas Cook will bring seamlessness and help them focus on more important things while they settle in a new country.

Additionally, we have also onboarded Thomas Cook on the Mastercard Travel Rewards (MTR) program making them the only partner to offer a fully funded cashback program exclusive to Mastercard cardholders. MTR will allow Thomas Cook Mastercard cardholders to maximize their international savings by providing merchant funded cashback at 400+ brands across 25 countries including marquee names such as Macy’s, Coach, Ralph Lauren, to name a few.”