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This Melbourne fintech startup is looking to disrupt the way young Australians travel


Melbourne fintech startup Pelikin is on the cusp of disrupting the Australian travel money market with its mobile-only multi-currency account and prepaid Visa card. The young team is on a mission to make “travel brighter” for young Australians by providing them with valuable travel and money services that have been built with their best interests first.

At its core, the Pelikin app and card will allow users to hold up to five different currencies at once and spend in over 200 countries across the world in an easy, affordable way.

Last month, Pelikin released its prepaid card and with a unique vertical and neon yellow design, it’s a far cry from the current status quo in the market and a concept warmly welcomed by Visa, the global payment technology company supporting the fintech.

Matthew Wood, Head of Digital Products and Partnerships at Visa for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific said it’s fantastic to see a young Australian fintech delivering such an exciting solution.

“With Australians’ love of international travel, there is an opportunity to enhance the cross-border payments experience, making it even more convenient for Australians abroad. As the world leader in digital payments, Visa is thrilled to enable Pelikin’s solution,” he said.

What is Pelikin doing differently?

Pelikin’s 29-year-old founder, Sam Brown said the fintech startup has tried to avoid getting caught up in the trending “challenger bank” conversation and instead focus its attention on improving the financial lives and behaviours of young Australian travellers.

“We don’t want to create just another deposit account; we want to fix a real problem that the growing population of young Australians are facing when they use their money abroad.

“We created Pelikin because we were once frustrated consumers who experienced the pain of using clunky and expensive travel money products abroad and we are hell-bent on fixing this. You never know what the future holds for us, but for now, we’ll let the ex-bankers build the banks.”

When using the Pelikin app overseas, or locally, users can send multiple currencies instantly to other users at zero cost and split bills with other users on the spot with just a few taps.

Pelikin will also be rolling out a group savings feature in the app, which is designed to help travellers save money collectively while helping each other reach their travel goals.

“Pelikin has been built to reduce cash dependency overseas, reduce costs and stress, and reduce the burden of ‘travel tension’ between groups of travellers.

“Managing money when travelling is hard, particularly in groups as friends start to owe friends money and it can get awkward, so we’re combatting this issue within the app.”

According to the 2017 EY FinTech Adoption Index, Australia has leapfrogged Hong Kong, Singapore and even the US to have among the best Fintech market penetration in the world. A total of 37 per cent of Australia’s digitally active population were classed as Fintech users by the study, compared to just 13 per cent in 2015.

Discussing Pelikin’s upcoming launch, Sam said the timing could not be more perfect, with evidence suggesting that young Australians are prioritising travelling the world over the traditional spending paths, such as home ownership.

“We’ve had to work incredibly hard to get to where we are today and earn the trust of global industry players like Visa and Tuxedo Money to bring Pelikin to life. The fact that we’re about to open up our doors is really exciting and we can’t wait to take flight very soon to help millions of individuals travel better.”

To assist with the market launch next month, Pelikin has opened an equity crowdfunding raise on Birchal, providing users with the opportunity to invest in something they’re passionate about.

“Investors will be vital to our success as they will help shape not only our current products but will be instrumental in shaping our future offerings too.”

Pelikin’s crowdfunding raise is now open to the public here. To date, the fintech has successfully raised over $150,000 from over 100 investors.