Wave Money: Advancing Greater Financial Inclusion in Myanmar

Wave Money Advancing Greater Financial Inclusion in Myanmar

Covering more than 91% of the country, Wave Money is the largest mobile financial services provider in Myanmar. It has pioneered mobile financial technology in Myanmar and has played a pivotal role in the country’s digital transformation. The financial institution’s digital wallet, WavePay, is a super app that meets the lifestyle needs of digital natives in rapidly urbanising Myanmar while helping advance greater financial inclusion among the unbanked population in the countryside.

WavePay offers a convenient, secure, simple and reliable way to remit and receive money, pay utility bills and loans, top up mobile services, shop online as well as pay at physical checkout counters.

It is also the digital wallet of choice among government, non-government organisations, humanitarian agencies and cause-oriented groups in Myanmar.

Recognising this exceptional feat, Wave Money has been awarded Winner, Best Digital Wallet of the Year and Winner, Best Mobile Payments Service at the recent Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards 2020 (GRB Awards) by The Digital Banker.

“WavePay is a digital wallet that meets the lifestyle needs of digital natives in Myanmar. During this COVID-19 pandemic, through its “WavePay It Forward” campaign, Wave Money was able to help government, NGOs and humanitarian agencies securely mobilise and disburse emergency funds to vulnerable sectors. In 2020, Wave Money moved an equivalent of 11.5% of Myanmar’s GDP just on remittances, a true testament of the impact and the scale of its operations,” said Nirav Patel, Managing Director at The Digital Banker during the awards ceremony.

“With a vision to greater financial inclusion, Wave Money has brought the benefits of financial services to millions of Myanmar citizens who were previously unbanked and underserved.”

Helping vulnerable sectors through the “WavePay It Forward” campaign

Technology has helped transform many businesses and organisations. For Wave Money, technology can be a force for good. As part of its community outreach, it initiated the “WavePay It Forward” campaign, with the aim to help vulnerable sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governmental organisations, humanitarian agencies and corporate entities have teamed up with Wave Money and leveraged WavePay to effectively deliver cash assistance for social security payments, loans for farmers, emergency funds for garment workers, and cash relief for street vendors. Wave Money has waived all service fees related to the disbursements of these funds.

“Digitally-delivered financial assistance is an efficient crisis response. It saves time and resources for development organisations and government. Wave Money’s support for a number of COVID-19 humanitarian programmes and our own ‘WavePay It Forward’ fund-raising is in line with our mission to create a fairer future for Myanmar through financial inclusion. More importantly, it is in line with what every one of us believes — that technology is a force for good. “ said Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money. Myanmar’s Social Security Board, the Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank (MADB), the Myan Ku Fund project of the European Union, multi-sector fund-raising campaign “I Do Nation”, and Free Cash Program for the Needy (FCPN) project are among those that used WavePay free-of-charge. In parallel, Wave Money has also run a public donation platform through WavePay to raise funds for Myanmar’s National Level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19. Also, Wave Money successfully launched the campaign #StayStrongMyanmar which consolidates all active programmes and community support for sectors adversely affected by COVID-19 and their digital platform, as the trusted channel for COVID-19 relief government and NGOs fund disbursements, was responsible for channelling direct subsidies to 300,000 beneficiaries. In total, the 2020 transactions channelled through the donation and disbursement channels to those severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic reached 32 billion kyat (US$ 24 million).

“In 2020 alone, Wave Money moved a total of 12 trillion Myanmar kyat (US$ 8.7 Billion) in remittances which is equivalent to about 11.5% of Myanmar’s gross domestic product (GDP).”

Using WavePay, millions were able to transfer money and make daily payments and financial transactions in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Wave Money has processed more than US$ 24 Million in disbursements and emergency relief to at-risk sectors since the first wave of COVID-19 hit Myanmar.

Greater financial inclusion benefits millions of Myanmar citizens

With a vision to greater financial inclusion, Wave Money has brought the benefits of financial services to millions of Myanmar citizens who were previously unbanked and underserved. For example, in 2015, less than 20% of the population had access to formal financial services. Since then, this number has grown by leaps and bounds.

In 2020 alone, Wave Money moved a total of 12 trillion Myanmar kyat (US$ 8.7 Billion) in remittances which is equivalent to about 11.5% of Myanmar’s gross domestic product (GDP).

During the same period, total disbursements from government, humanitarian and non-government sectors also grew to more than 32 Billion Myanmar kyat (US$ 24 Million).

From mobilising and disbursing funds for COVID-19 relief to sustaining lives and livelihoods through trustworthy money transfer and electronic payment, indeed, Wave Money is a testament to the far-reaching social impact of fintech.

>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

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Image: MICKIE.K / Shutterstock.com

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