New tax-free app by UTU touts higher VAT refunds

Singapore-based digital rewards platform UTU is providing global tourists and shoppers with the means to receive 85 per cent of their VAT refund back – a significant increase from the 55-60 per cent refund that tourists currently receive.

Tourists can now bypass the long queues at multiple tax-free operator counters by utilising UTU Direct, a tax-free app, to consolidate all their purchases and track transactions throughout the refund process, until they receive the money and cash back to their preferred credit card.

UTU rolls out a tax-free app that gives users higher VAT refunds

International shoppers in Italy can also bring any tax refund form issued within Italy by any tax refund operator to the UTU Service Counter, and using UTU Direct, receive 85 per cent of the tax refund amount back.

Working with various card schemes and bank-issued cards, UTU Direct has been created to bring “increased fairness to the tax-free shopping sector”, which has long been operating through a paper-based system shrouded in opaque commissions, meaning shoppers do not receive as much VAT refund as they are entitled to.

Co-founded by Asad Jumabhoy, a VAT refund veteran with 25 years’ experience, UTU said that its focus is customer-centricity for VAT refunds – paired with a new business model designed to deliver additional value to shoppers and shops in this era of mobile connectivity.

“Most shoppers are not aware of their rights or that they even have a choice in how they claim their VAT refunds to get the best outcome for themselves. The goal of UTU has always been to innovate the tax refund process, which has remained mostly unchanged for decades as a complex, paper-based and commission-ridden system. Our solutions ensure tourists the choice in how they wish to receive their refunds, getting more for their VAT Refund every time,” said Sanjay Chinchwade, senior vice president of marketing at UTU.

In coming weeks, UTU also plans to launch UTU Plus, a VAT refund product available to all travellers and shoppers across 19 Eurozone countries, providing up to 5 per cent more on all qualifying VAT refunds.

UTU is also in the process of beta testing its 100 per cent VAT Refund product in Italy at selected stores, pending a general roll out.

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