Behind the Idea Editor's Choice Middle East & Africa Paytech

Behind the Idea: Wing

Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank is Cambodia’s leading mobile banking services provider and one of the few specialized banks in the world. Established in 2009, Wing has transformed the way Cambodians send and receive money, using mobile phones for anytime-anywhere convenience.

Wing remains at the forefront of the mobile money and electronic payment services market in Cambodia with 100% district coverage through its nationwide network of close to 8,000 Wing Cash Xpress outlets. It has partnerships with over 40,000 merchants, including both local vendors and global industry leaders such as Mastercard, MoneyGram, AliPay, WeChat Pay and Western Union.

Wing also provides funding and payment solutions to the corporate sector via our enterprise services. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger companies can use Wing’s payroll and disbursement services for employees, helping to encourage the growth and spread of our payment ecosystem.

Manu Rajan is the CEO of Wing, in this episode of Behind the Idea, Rajan explains how Wing has transformed fintech in Cambodia.

Manu Rajan, CEO of Wing

What has been the traditional company response in Cambodia to financial technology innovations?

As one of the leading mobile banking service providers, it’s imperative that we continuously bring in the newest digital payment solution for our customers. Hence, innovation has been in Wing’s DNA for all of these past 12 years. We’re attuned to the needs of our customers, so we develop each of our products and services with the main focus on building solutions to the challenges they face day-in, day-out.

How has this changed over the past few years?

Though Fintech is relatively new in Cambodia, more corporate and individual customers have already experienced the advantage of digital payment solutions through their business operations and in their daily lives. There’s a taste now for convenient, secure and real-time service.

This can be seen through our growing number of corporate and individual customers. We now have close to 10 million annual users in a country with 16 million population.

Over the past decade, before the launch of Wing in Cambodia, fund transfer was carried out mainly through informal channels, leading to a risk of loss or delay. Wing has redefined the way Cambodians send and receive money with the help of the ‘human ATM’ services of our hard-working Wing Cash Xpress agents and the top-notch technology of the Wing financial ecosystem, powered by the Wing Money App. This unified system enables safe, real-time transfers for both local and international remittances. 

The pandemic outbreak of Covid-19 has been a catalyst for the development of online digital payment solutions in Cambodia. With safety the key priority for everyone, companies have been pushed to embrace digital innovation; otherwise, they will face an uncertain future. From the modern shopping center to the small vendors along the street, we’re now seeing many businesses offering distance orders of products and services made available virtually. This development needs secure online payments to thrive.

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company? 

At Wing, to keep up with the pace of changing regulations and customer demand, we have built a decentralized culture at our office. Our team is made from people of all different walks of lives and everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and raise their voices. All are taken into account.

In this, we can better ensure we have a broader pool of thought to create digital payment services with a positive impact on the communities we serve.

What new fintech ideas have been implemented at Wing?

First, I should say FinTech has been the heart and soul of Wing and is at the core of our mission to provide every Cambodian with convenient access to mobile financial services with the power to improve their daily lives.

This has extra meaning today. That’s because Covid-19 has affected everyone, from giant corporations to small vendors in the local market. This has led to the temporary, sometimes permanent, closure of companies and a growing number of unemployed people. 

Some may depend on the government’s social fund to survive. During this trying moment, fintech is playing a crucial role in assisting the government to reach out to the needy in a transparent and effective manner. Wing has been actively working with the Royal Government of Cambodia to provide access to the social fund to poor people and those temporarily out of work. This gives fintech a prominent role in real-time community support.

Do you see any industry challenges on the horizon? 

Like other industries, fintech faces its own technical, economic and social challenges. Over the past few months of the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve all changed the way we live, both in terms of mobilizing resources to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and also on the daily level of how we find our recreation, work at the office or go out for our shopping. The challenge now lying ahead of every human being is not only the risk from Covid-19, but also finding ways to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and recover from the economic recession. 

Can these challenges be aided by fintech? 

Yes, they can. As we adapt to that ‘new normal’, fintech will be a factor in maintaining health and safety while contributing to the sustainability of many businesses. It also can help ensure the efficiency of operation costs. 

Final thoughts…

While the future is always uncertain, even during this difficult time there’s an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of FinTech’s potential to maintain their resilience after Covid-19. Doing this sooner rather than later can build efficiencies now while creating room for growth down the road.

Author

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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