Vietnam is a very Internet-connected country, and with the increasing penetration of smartphones there is a wealth of opportunity for online businesses, digital agencies and application developers.
Like other late-adopters of Internet technology, Vietnam has benefited from the cheap hardware like wireless routers and the very affordable Internet access.
Most particularly, mobile phones and smartphones are the main drivers of Internet penetration in Vietnam. A research conducted earlier this year found that in 2015, mobile phone and smartphone penetration reached 69% in Vietnam. For most consumers, their first online experience was via mobile, leapfrogging other devices.
These trends, combined with Vietnam’s large unbanked population (only 31% of 15 y. o. and older had an account at a financial institution in 2014, according to the World Bank), are opening up many opportunities for fintech. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and mobile, fintechs can offer more affordable solutions and serve those that have been left out by the traditional banking sector.
With less than 50 fintech solutions currently available in the country, Vietnam’s relatively nascent fintech scene has nevertheless a few raising stars – some of which have attracted global recognition.
Today, we give you the top seven hottest fintech startups and solutions in Vietnam.
Timo, a product of Lifestyle Project Management Viet Nam, is the country’s first and only neo-bank, enabling residents to manage their finances via their smartphones and allowing for more convenience and flexibility for the youngsters and digitally-savvy ones.
Following a successful launch in Ho Chi Minh City, the company opened another Timo Hangout in Hanoi. Timo Hangouts replace the traditional bank branches with a more laid-back atmosphere. New customers get an appointment at one of these Hangouts to proceeds to the anti-money laundering/know-your-customer requirements.
In addition to the convenience, Timo’s banking services are much cheaper than traditional banks. In fact, most of them are free of charge including cash withdrawal, bank account opening, bank transfers, etc.
Timo is a neo-bank in the sense that it is not a licensed financial institution. Instead, it is partnered with VPBank, which holds the license and provides the banking services and products, and only provides the digital platform.
MoMo, a product of M_Service, is a mobile wallet service that allows users to transfer and receive funds. The popular mobile application – which was the most downloaded app in the Apple Store Vietnam at some point – lets users pay for a wide range of services and cash out their electronic credits at any of its 4,000 over-the-counter agents in the country. The payment system is integrated with over 20 domestic banks in Vietnam.
Cash2VN, a service of Vietnam’s only bitcoin exchange Bitcoin Vietnam, provides a remittance platform for people to send money to their loved ones in Vietnam. The solution leverages the Bitcoin network to enable faster, cheaper and more convenient international money transfers.
Cash2VN charges in flat US$2 fee per transaction. To send a remittance, users need to send bitcoins to Bitcoin Vietnam, which then converts the amount to VND and credit the recipient’s bank account. Recipients can also choose another withdrawal method like cash pickup.
OnOnPay is a mobile wallet and phone top-up startup seeking to addresses the needs of unbanked people in a market where credit cards are not widely used. The company offers both a web-based platform and a mobile app that allow users to top up their prepaid mobile phones and win rewards like extra credit and coupons.
OnOnPay launched in 2015 with investment from Captii Vietnam. In November, the startup raised US$800,000 in a Pre-Series A funding round from the Malaysian Government’s Gobi Partners Fund.
The company plans to expand further in Southeast Asia with target markets including Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Money Lover is a personal finance app developed by Hanoi-based startup ZooStudio. Essentially, Moneylover is a finances and expenses manager for individuals. The solution allows users to track their expenses over time and manage their monthly and annual budget.
The app supports multiple bank accounts and aggregates data to deliver in-depth reporting. It provides users with a comprehensive and accurate overview of their financial situations.
BankGo is a financial comparison platform that launched in open beta in October. The platform lets users compare financial products and personals loans including housing, car and consumer loans, as well as credit cards, savings accounts and SME loans.
The platform aims at helping customers get relevant information and support them in choosing the best options for their needs.
The service is entirely free to use for customers, who can also apply for any of the listed products on the platform. The company earns money by charging a commission fee to the banks and financial institutions when deals are successfully closed.
Trusting Social has developed a credit scoring system that combines Big Data technology with social, web and mobile data. Founded in June 2013 in the US, Trusting Social targets the three billion of “invisible customers” from emerging markets. This group of consumers is often considered unscorable by the traditional credit system because of their lack of credit history.
Trusting Social was the winner of Future of Money and Technology Startup Competition in 2014, and was among the top 10 fintech startups in Americas presenting at the Innotribe Startup Showcase New York in 2014. Headquartered in New York City, Trusting Social has offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.
First appeared at Fintechnews SG