Southeast Asia turning into top place for fintech

MANILA, Philippines — Mobile wallet GCash said Southeast Asia is becoming a top place for financial technology (fintech), attracting numerous entrepreneurs seeking to fill in the gaps left behind by traditional financial institutions.

“There’s a thriving startup scene in Indonesia and Vietnam. And in a span of half a year, the Philippines gave birth to two unicorns, one of which is GCash,” said Winsley Bangit, chief customer officer of GCash operator Mynt.

“I think that the appeal of other Southeast Asian markets is already there. As fintech players, we will continue defining the industry and creating a lasting impact. I think that’s where the genius and magic of fintech will be, particularly in the region,” he said.

Bangit said fintech is now a tool for greater financial inclusion, with many seen providing access to the unbanked and underserved.

He said countries like the Philippines, which suffers from very low bank penetration, have the opportunity to leapfrog through democratized access.

GCash, for instance, was able to provide financial access and an inclusive digital lifestyle to more than 50 million Filipinos or 70 percent of the adult population, many of whom are unbanked.

“Again, that’s where access is going to be more important, both in providing democratized affordable solutions and delighting customers,” he said.

Bangit said pure-play fintech and regional app players have also evolved and expanded to become fintech-led super apps that can provide multiple services from e-commerce and financial transactions to online communications.

“What’s good about Southeast Asia is that there are a lot of categories ripe for digital disruption – transportation, logistics, e-commerce, retail, etc. And every day, consumers are looking for the right solutions,” the official said.

He said another trend in financial services seen leading growth in the region is consumer and business lending, especially as many people and micro businesses do not have proper documentation to get a credit score and uplift themselves.

With its vision of access and inclusive finance, GCash, for its part, has introduced various innovations in lending – from installments, Buy Now, Pay Later solution, personal loans, merchant loans, and short-term credit.

“I think that’s a very big space. We see it being adopted not just by local players but also by players moving into the region,” Bangit said.

GCash more than tripled its gross value transactions to P3.8 trillion last year as the platform sustained strong patronage among users.

Source: https://www.philstar.com/business/2022/05/05/2178750/southeast-asia-turning-top-place-fintech