Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

This ad by a local PH fintech involves farmers, carabaos, and explaining loans

Manila, Philippines – In another case of ‘weird ads you enjoy’, local-based finance app DiskarTech recently launched a new spot alongside agency Katok, the new agency affiliated with well-known independent creative agency GIGIL, to promote its loan services–in the most tongue-in-cheek way possible.

Titled ‘Utang Ni Tatang’ or translates to ‘The Old Man’s Debt’, the comedy-themed ad features two farmers, where one of them asks the other if he can loan him some money. When he refuses, a sudden turn of events takes place as a DiskarTech agent emerges from—we kid you not—a carabao or a water buffalo. As both farmers stare in awe and confusion as to what they just witnessed, the agent begins his pitch of the various loans users can avail on their app.

The ad, which as of this writing, has now been viewed over 4 million on Facebook alone, speaks to the company’s aim to be more inclusive to Filipinos, including their intended launch of the app in the Cebuano language, and sooner other Filipino languages.

“We needed to create a product that is easy, simple and relatable to Filipinos. The Diskartech app is in Taglish in order to break the comprehension barrier, and allow banking newbies to navigate it with ease. It’s a financial inclusion super app that allows every Filipino to save, borrow, pay, and even purchase microinsurance and telemedicine services complete with livelihood opportunities,” said Lito Villanueva, executive vice president and chief innovation and inclusion officer at RCBC.

DiskarTech is one of the latest initiatives from Filipino banking institution RCBC, launched last year.

“With DiskarTech users spanning across all the 81 provinces, and over 70 percent of which are from rural areas, we are committed to continue to bring the unbanked or underserved Filipino into the banking fold,” Villanueva added.

Marketing Featured ANZ

AU fintech Wisr launches first major campaign to showcase brand redesign

Australia – Australia’s fintech company Wisr has launched a complete brand redesign, done in collaboration with creative agencies Bear Meets Eagle on Fire (BMEOF) and Resn.

Wisr, formerly known as DirectMoney, deems to be the country’s first neo-lender and fintech pioneer in the consumer finance market. It builds products, apps, and services that brings financial wellness to Australians.

The new brand identity retains and builds on some previous aspects of the Wisr brand, which includes the logo and purpose, but almost everything else ‘Wisr’ has been rethought and reinvented around the new creative positioning ‘For your smart part’.

To mark its new brand redesign, Wisr has rolled out its first-ever major campaign with BMEOF, showcasing ‘For your smart part’. The comprehensive project runs across all brand design, product, and communication, and is built to deliver a clear message around its purpose – ‘financial wellbeing’.

The campaign includes an ambitiously crafted desktop and mobile experience, co-created by BMEOF and Resn. It also includes work from famed illustrator Peter Grundy, Swedish-based 3D animation artist Oscar Pet Petersson, and Revolver director Steve Rogers.

According to Wisr’s Chief Marketing Officer James Goodwin, the company’s focus is supporting customers’ smart decision-making and rewarding that good behavior, which in turn helps them achieve its purpose of helping improve Australians’ financial well-being.

“We’re massively proud of how we’ve built Wisr, but we also knew it was time to realign everything we were doing around a bigger idea, to take that next step. Bear and SPEED, our media partners, have challenged and supported us every step of the way along that journey,” said Goodwin.

Meanwhile, Toby Hussey, the managing director of BMEOF, commented, “It’s not often you find a project and partnership like this. What started out as strategic discussions and a campaign, eventually led to a complete re-evaluation of everything ‘brand’ for Wisr. It’s been a dream project for us.”

“Working with Bear and Wisr to help the brand come to life on the site, was a fun creative challenge. It was a great opportunity to bring a high level of design and polish to the fintech category,” said Dan Mercer, the creative director of Resn.

Platforms Featured South Asia

UK-based fintech Revolut expands to India, names new CEO

Mumbai, India – Global financial superapp Revolut has appointed Paroma Chatterjee, former chief business officer of online financing company Lendingkart, to be its new CEO for the India team, as it expands its market presence in the country this year.

Chatterjee is a renowned leader in the fintech and consumer tech industry. She has held senior executive roles for various companies including travel agency, e-commerce company Flipkart, and telecommunications enterprise Airtel Money. In her new role, Chatterjee will be responsible for building and leading Revolut’s subsidiary in India. She will also be defining and implementing the fintech’s business strategy, as well as hiring a team and managing license applications and any potential acquisitions in the market.

According to Revolut, the fintech is making a multi-million-pound investment in India over the next five years and has committed to the creation of around 300 new jobs in the country to serve its global business operations. Furthermore, it has also recruited heads of operations and legal for the country and is leveraging India’s strong talent pool to recruit across multiple functions such as human resources, finance, growth, marketing, recruitment, and compliance, as well as risk, and technology.

Commenting on her appointment, Chatterjee said, “It is an honor and a privilege to be asked to lead the business for such a world-class company, in a country that presents one of the largest opportunities globally for Revolut. I look forward to building an exceptionally talented team and working with them, as we continue to develop superlative financial solutions for millions of consumers in India.”

Meanwhile, Nik Storonsky, the CEO and founder of Revolut, commented that Paroma is an excellent fit for the role and her appointment is a major achievement in Revolut’s continued mission to become the world’s first truly global financial super app. 

“We’re looking forward to transforming the way people in India access and manage their money as we bring our products and services to more people around the world. India is a core market in our expansion strategy with a huge supply of talent, and we’re excited to tap into that talent pool to help Revolut go from strength to strength,” said Storonsky.

SME Featured ANZ

This Aussie fintech creates a board of customers – not trustees

Melbourne, Australia – Thrive, an Australian fintech, has involved itself in a one-of-a-kind business management move with the creation of its Customer Advisory Board (CAB), a board comprising of customers and not trustees, to bestow customers rights and authority to contribute to its operations. 

Thrive is a single integrated banking, accounting, tax and lending platform, and unlike conventional advisory boards that are composed of industry leaders with long leadership experience, Thrive aims to create its own CAB by accepting applications from a variety of different business owners – its customers – ensuring a broad cross-section of feedback, suggestions, and needs are collected. 

Each board member will self-nominate through an application process, with successful applicants receiving shares in Thrive for a 12-month commitment. Meeting monthly, the CAB will be given the ability to help shape Thrive’s product roadmap, marketing strategy and customer service plans. 

According to Michael Nuciforo, CEO at Thrive, the concept was implemented to ensure customers were always front of mind, noting as well that they are the first fintech to do so that has implemented a customer-centric advisory board.

“Nothing is more important to us than our customers, so setting up a Customer Advisory Board that represented the interest of members was the best way for us to hold ourselves accountable to our mission,” Nuciforo stated.

Thrive is currently accepting nominations for the CAB and is looking for business owners who are passionate about helping other businesses improve their financial wellbeing. 

“We expect to get many applications and we can’t wait to select our CAB Members and get this started,” said Ben Winford, co-founder and COO at Thrive.

The application process will conclude on 30 April this year.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

NUS answers to surging demand for FinTech talent, launches new master’s degree

Singapore – The graduate school of the National University of Singapore (NUS) is launching a new master’s degree, one that can be said as perfectly fitting for the times of today – Master of Science (MSc) in Digital Financial Technology. 

The Lion City has been home to a number of pioneers in financial technology and is continuously dubbed as the Silicon Valley of Asia, earning the status of a leading technological hub in the world. NUS said that the program was built to meet the surging demand for high-quality FinTech talent in Singapore and globally. 

NUS’ School of Computing, together with the support of NUS Business School as well as the Asian Institute of Digital Finance, has established the program to help aligned professionals build an even stronger foundation in computing and finance. 

According to NUS, the program is intended primarily to help prepare graduates for challenging but rewarding careers as AI software developers, data scientists, and FinTech security specialists, as well as roles as financial quantitative analysts, and other similar professions in financial institutions or FinTech firms. 

The program comprises nine essential modules which will cover FinTech competencies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data analytics. The roster of essential modules also encompasses the basics of finance and computing to solidify students’ foundation in the said skills. 

Meanwhile, the program’s range of elective modules is organized along three tracks: Computing Technologies, Financial Data Analytics and Intelligence, and Digital Financial Transactions and Risk Management. For the program’s capstone project, a two-semester undertaking will be required by students to obtain either an academic research project or a FinTech internship. The culmination strand of the program is designed to help students pick up in-depth skills and knowledge in a focused area via experiential learning. 

Admissions to the NUS MSc DFinTech program will be granted on a competitive basis with limited slots for enrollees. Minimum requirements for applicants include a Bachelor’s Degree in Computing with a high grade point average (GPA) or cumulative average point (CAP). Graduates are also deemed admissible when they have a Bachelor’s Degree in a related discipline such as in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), finance, economics, or business similarly provided that they have a high GPA or CAP. 

Other qualifications include a strong FinTech or information technology (IT) project or work experience for holders of a Computing degree, while two years of FinTech or IT industry experience is required for holders of Bachelor’s Degrees in the mentioned related disciplines. High proficiency in the English language is also required for the degree, whereas for those that have English as a foreign language, certain minimum scores for the ‘Test of English as a Foreign Language’ (TOEFL) and in the ‘International English Language Testing System’ (IELTS) are required. 

For non-computing students that wish to enter the program, sufficient evidence of Python programming knowledge and/or learning in advanced quantitative subjects is required. The program is also open to international applicants. Said individuals are to submit proof of acquired minimum scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Meanwhile, those that are graduates of Indian universities may submit scores on the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) instead.

The term will start on August 2021. Tuition Fee is at S$58,000, excluding the 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST). The program is offered only on a full-time basis. The estimated time for completion for full-time students is 1.5 years, with maximum candidature period of 3 years.

The application period has already begun at the start of March this year, which will run until 15 April 2021. Full details on the program can be found on NUS’ website

Join us as we bring you an in-depth webinar on how you can improve online strategies, one that’s able to deliver a seamless and intelligent digital experience that would effectively accelerate student recruitment efforts as well as improve student retention. Register here.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s NextPay bags US$125K funding for scaling operations among local MSMEs

Manila, Philippines – NextPay, a Philippine-based fintech startup, has secured a US$125K investment funding from startup accelerator Y Combinator, which will be used to expand NextPay’s services further and address the growing problem of financially-underserved businesses in the Philippines. 

Through the investment, NextPay founders aim to leverage their previous experience working in ‘unicorn’ companies to expand their line of digital banking services. Their plans include new digital solutions for payments, credit, and personal cash management.

“Our goal is to empower smaller businesses with a spectrum of banking services that were previously unavailable to them because of the steep requirements and high fees that are typically aimed at larger, more developed companies that can afford them. This funding round from Y Combinator allows us to scale even faster to bring digital financial services closer to MSMEs,” said Don Pansacola, CEO and co-founder at NextPay.

The platform allows small businesses to have the same financial capabilities as large banks, which gives growing companies access to affordable financial services such as digital invoicing, cash management, and batch payments to any bank or e-wallet in the Philippines.

Furthermore, the startup has positioned itself to enable more businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers to centralize all their financial requirements through one easy-to-use, affordable, and inclusive platform. 

“We plan to introduce more payment acceptance methods, virtual credit cards, and other digital solutions that enable businesses to manage their cash flow and alleviate the bottlenecks of the Philippine financial landscape. We will also partner with human resource and accounting software companies to further streamline the financial operations of a growing company,” Pansacola added.

According to Aldrich Tan, co-founder and chief experience officer at NextPay, the platform aims to give a wider opportunity among small businesses through accessible digital financial services.

“Through our platform, MSMEs can conduct their transactions seamlessly and allow business owners to free up resources and focus on their operations. This optimization and focus are vital in supporting and strengthening the country’s efforts towards economic recovery,” Tan stated.

Since its launch in 2020, NextPay has processed over US$2.5M (₱120M) in digital transactions for more than 100 businesses. Customers of NextPay can enjoy reduced processing times from as much as 3 days to just 30 minutes. 

“NextPay wants to help the Philippines bounce back. We want to enable growing enterprises to maximize their capital, reach more customers, and generate more jobs and opportunities. This then stimulates economic transactions and creates demand for stronger partnerships. It’s a domino effect, but it starts from having a digital platform like NextPay who empowers MSMEs to thrive and do more,” Pansacola concluded.

NextPay is the fifth Filipino startup to have received funding from Y Combinator, with companies including job searching platform Kalibrr, payment platform PayMongo, edtech Avion School, and laboratory software company

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

This SG fintech enables users to stretch monthly car, home installments up to 45 days

Singapore – As the majority of people rely on financial support during the pandemic, Singapore-headquartered fintech convertCASH has launched, in an aim to support middle to middle low-class communities in stretching their monthly financial deadlines and to provide greater ease in financial management.

The app handles users’ monthly car and home installments and stretches them for up to 45 days without any interest. The platform carries a ‘We pay for your first’ feature, which lets the user schedule his car or home installment payment, earn and redeem loyalty points, as well as receive extra money when introducing the app to a friend.

Co-Founder of convertCASH Jason Bak commented that monthly fixed bills commitment has become stressful to everyone.

“It is interest-free and no borrowing with instant approval. The users must have credit cards as security while using convertCASH’s ‘Pay for you First’ benefit. They also have to fill in the details of the recipient on the app and the installment will be made within one working day. They can then pay back to the credit card up to 45 days later,” said Bak.

The maximum transaction amount that can be made via convertCASH is US$5000 (RM20,000.00). To date, it has recorded an average amount of US$123786 (RM500,000) transacted via the convertCASH platform.

ConvertCASH is growing across Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and the ASEAN region, as it targets to achieve one million registered car users in Malaysia and 200 million registered car users globally.

The fintech platform also plans to expand in Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, and Philippines during the second quarter of 2021; while the expansion in Japan, Korea, and China are eyed by 2022.

The app is available on IOS, Android, and Huawei.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech Xendit partners with BillEase for cardless installment option in PH

Manila, Philippines – Xendit, the Indonesian-based fintech, has partnered with Philippine-based ‘buy now, pay later’ solutions BillEase in bringing cardless installment options in the Philippines through their new joint solution ‘PayLater’ that allows merchants to offer convenient, card-free installments where the majority of shoppers remain cardless or unbanked.

Xendit, which allows merchants to accept payments online, makes it easier for merchants to provide an affordable and transparent installment option at checkout through a single integration. This means Xendit’s merchants can now add BillEase as a payment option. By offering BillEase at checkout, merchants can give their customers the option to split the cost of their purchases into installments either monthly or bi-weekly with no hidden fees.

Xendit merchants that offer BillEase can allow customers to pay for their purchases online in monthly installments and pay the app over a period of three, six, nine, or 12 months with monthly interest rates between 0 to 3.49%. Merchants can also choose to offer 0 percent annual percentage rate (APR). For example, a PHP 18,000 purchase would only cost PHP 2,500 over 6 months at 0% APR.

Furthermore, the partnership with BillEase allows merchants to connect to Xendit’s API and enable other BillEase’s payment services, namely, ‘Pay in Installments’ which enable customers to enjoy fully-financed purchases and spread payments over time at a zero-to-low interest rate, and ‘Pay with Down Payment’ where customers can pay 1/3 upfront and pay the rest in installments.

“Shoppers are increasingly looking for alternative ways to pay, and merchants who offer flexible payment options can rapidly improve their conversion rates and increase average order value. We’re excited to partner with Xendit to help Filipino merchants grow more by removing unnecessary challenges customers face at checkout, especially for those who are unable to use credit and debit cards,” said Georg Steiger, co-founder and CEO of First Digital Finance Corporation, the fintech behind BillEase.

Yang Yang Zhang, managing director of Xendit Philippines said their partnership aligns with their company’s mission to provide merchants with various payment options to allow their business to grow.

“Partnering with BillEase is crucial as the demand for installment solutions has grown in recent years, partly fueled by the pandemic. Additionally, merchants also see a huge demand from their consumers for this type of payment option. That’s why we’re excited to bring our PayLater solution to online retailers in the country,” Zhang stated.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Revolut SG launches Junior account to promote good money habits among minors

Singapore – Fintech superapp Revolut in Singapore has launched ‘Revolut Junior’ feature, or simply ‘Junior’, to customers in Singapore, which allows parents to create an account for their kids aged 7-17 years old. 

Revolut Junior is an account, card, and app that parents can control from their own app. Since Junior was launched in the US, UK, Australia, and wider Europe last year, approximately 10,000 Junior accounts are being created each week, according to Revolut.

Through this new feature, parents can send money to their kid’s Junior account, and track their spending through spending alerts for their kids online and physical in-store payments. Freezing and unfreezing their kids’ card is also doable on the account to secure their account in the event of card loss.

Pam Chuang, Revolut Singapore’s head of growth, stated that 7 is the perfect age for kids to learn how to manage their money. 

“In Revolut Junior, parents will find the perfect platform to talk about topics such as goal-setting, budgeting, and responsible spending,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Kunal Chatterjee, country manager for Visa in Singapore and Brunei, which has partnered with the fintech for the Junior card, said that being equipped with financial literacy skills will empower children and teenagers to manage their finances better when they enter the workforce in the future and learn how to use digital payments wisely. 

“Digital technology usage is prevalent among young children and teens who are extremely technology savvy. At Visa, we believe the importance in educating youths on money management skills and digital payments usage starting from a young age and parental guidance is crucial. That is why we are extremely excited to partner with Revolut to launch the Revolut Junior account, which enables parents to transfer money to their children’s accounts seamlessly while having visibility of how they are spending online, and in stores,” said Chatterjee. 

Creating a Junior account is free. Standard customers can create 1 Junior account, while Premium customers can create 2, and Metal customers, 5.

Premium and Metal customers will also enjoy additional features such as ‘Co-Parent’, where 2 adults can send money to and help manage the Junior account, and ‘Tasks’, where parents can reward their children for completing chores. Other features include ‘Weekly Allowance’, where pocket money is automatically added to the Junior account, and a feature called ‘Goals’, where children can save up their spare change to help with a future purchase or target.