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Moving money for the masses

Wave Money, Myanmar’s largest mobile financial services provider, celebrates its fourth anniversary this year.

The company, which envisions providing the Myanmar people with a simple, affordable and trustworthy service through which they can move and manage their money anywhere they want in the country, now has 24 million customers. That’s more than half the population, but the aim is to expand this even further across Myanmar over the next five years.

In celebration of Wave Money’s milestones over the past four years and in anticipation of more growth to come, CEO Brad Jones, discusses the company’s plans and prospects with the Myanmar Times:

Congratulations on Wave Money’s 4th year anniversary. How do you feel about this achievement?

Thank you, four years is indeed a milestone worth celebrating. I’m very happy and exceptionally proud of the Wave Money team for having established a trusted Myanmar fintech company. There are many inspiring stories, mostly of women in the countryside and hard-working entrepreneurs whose lives have improved because they now have access to financial services. These stories have made the past four years incredibly meaningful for us.

What is driving Wave Money’s success?

Since Day 1, we have been dedicated to our vision of creating a fairer future for the Myanmar people through greater financial inclusion. That clarity of purpose is
what drives us. Every day our team, our agents and our business partners all work towards contributing to that vision and I think it has made all the difference.

What are Wave Money’s key milestones over these past 4 years?

Wave Money’s key milestones are all linked to our vision to create a fairer future for Myanmar. These include our contribution to greater financial inclusion, social impact partnerships, growth as a Myanmar company and being on the forefront of a vibrant fintech industry in country.

In 2018, after breaking even, we launched the integrated mobile wallet application WavePay which ushered in the digital payment revolution in Myanmar. Ultimately, we measure success in terms of impact. We are delighted to see the benefits of financial services reaching millions of previously unbanked people and underserved communities and sectors.

Our agents, who are mostly women, are earning a decent livelihood and we are part of an ecosystem that is sparking an economic ripple effect. Within four years, Wave Money has become a trusted digital financial services provider and trusted partner of merchants, government agencies, non-government and humanitarian organisations.

We don’t just handle payments and cash transfers for our customers, we support aid agencies and dispense pensions and funds for numerous social development programmes.

“Beyond cash transfer, Myanmar has reached a certain level of maturity when it comes digital fintech with the interoperability of services like interbanking, e-commerce, and billing services.” “Within four years, Wave Money has become a trusted digital financial services provider and trusted partner of merchants, government agencies, nongovernment and humanitarian organisations. We don’t just handle payments and cash transfers for our customers, we support aid agencies, dispense pensions and funds for numerous social development programmes.”

How has the Myanmar fintech landscape changed over the past four years?

When we first launched Wave Money, our over-the-counter service in 2016, mobile money usage in the country was only at 0.8%. Now here we are: serving 24 million customers with the largest agent network in Myanmar. Myanmar has leapfrogged when it comes to telecommunications technology and is considered a ‘digital native’ country given the high penetration of mobile broadband.

As of January 2020, 68 million people (125% of total population) have mobile connections. This makes Myanmar primed for mobile financial technology. Beyond cash transfer, Myanmar has reached a certain level of maturity when it comes to digital fintech with the interoperability of services like inter-banking, e-commerce and billing services.

Digital payment is coming of age and competition is heating up in Myanmar. What makes Wave Money stand out and how are you navigating the developments?

It’s truly astonishing how digital payment has taken off in Myanmar in recent years. From less than 1% usage four years ago, we now find ourselves in a fintech environment which is developing a lot faster than others in the region.

This is very exciting for us and we are staying ahead by constantly innovating and enriching our customers’ experience. We are continuing to grow our more than 61,000 agents nationwide, and our over 24 million customers are enjoying the most comprehensive digital financial service with Wave Money and WavePay.

Extensive reach, pioneering technology, secure platform, exceptional customer service, and strong investor confidence cement our leadership in the market.

What is Wave Money’s outlook for the next five years in Myanmar?

We are already witnessing the rapid adoption of digital financial services in the country. I think this will continue to increase in the next few years and digital payments will be an integral part of the Myanmar lifestyle.

Currently, agent network in Myanmar – we aim to expand this even further so that every state, every region in the country is financially included. Users stand to leverage integrated mobile wallets such as WavePay that offer wide range of financial products and services.

We have a goal of reaching 11 million monthly active users of WavePay by 2024 and we’re well on the way to doing that. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, and blockchain will pave the way for more secure, enriching and seamless customer experience.

At the same, we hope to see stronger private and public sector partnership in digital governance that will protect consumers and the long-term viability of the industry.

How is Wave Money contributing to COVID-19 related efforts?

Our COVID-19 response consists of humanitarian partnerships and proactive corporate efforts.
Since March 2020, we have been supporting a number of government institutes and humanitarian agencies such as Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, European Union, Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank and Doh Eain to digitally-deliver cash aid to individuals and communities hit hard by the pandemic.

These include unemployed workers, public servants, farmers and street vendors. We waived all services fees for the disbursement of funds to at-risk and affected sectors.

As a company, we also mobilised a community kindness initiative called “WavePay it Forward”. We raised funds through the WavePay app’s PCNC COVID Donation platform for the National Level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19.

As a service provider, we continue to provide a convenient and secure platform for millions of customers who are embracing digital financial services– transferring money or buying products and services in the comfort and safety of their homes. Since the pandemic started, we have seen a 300% increase in the number of disbursements.

“To see the original article click link here”

Source : Myanmar Times

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