Partnerships and collaborations are a regular occurrence across the international fintech community. Here, Visa and Razer Fintech explain why they joined forces to bring financial inclusion to Southeast Asia’s unbanked and underserved population.
The digital landscape in Southeast Asia has seen rapid growth over the past few years. Consumers continue to shift towards digital payments and the global pandemic has accelerated this shift.
In Singapore, two in three consumers prefer to pay with cards and mobile applications, and nearly four in five indicated a preference to continue paying digitally instead of going back to cash, even beyond the pandemic.
However, Southeast Asia has a large unbanked population of more than 438 million, and a massive youth population of more than 213 million.
An exclusive partnership between Razer Fintech, one of the largest offline to offline digital payment networks in emerging markets, and Visa, the leading global payments technology company, aims to help meet the unmet demands of this sizeable market by providing them with innovative financial tools to participate in the global cashless economy.
TFT chats to Kunal Chatterjee, Visa’s country manager for Singapore & Brunei, and Lee Li Meng, CEO of Razer Fintech, about the partnership and how it will help accelerate financial inclusion in Southeast Asia.
TFT: What’s the driving objective behind this partnership?
Lee Li Meng: Razer Fintech aspires to transform the world of digital payments, especially for youth and millennials — where we intend to further build our ecosystem and capabilities to bring innovation and cater to their unmet demand via our business to consumer digital payments business.
This collaboration will bring Razer Fintech one step closer to making digital payments more accessible to our key target segment — youth and millennials. We observed that youth and millennials face multiple challenges in financial planning, and we want to tackle one of their biggest challenges through this partnership — the lack of access to digital payments.
Kunal Chatterjee: At Visa, we have a commitment to unlock the potential with each transaction and bring new experiences to the global digital payments network. As a network business, we have a responsibility to partner with players such as Razer Fintech, to bring innovation into the digital payments network — that is how the network evolves. Coupled with Visa’s expansive global payments network, our partnership with Razer is thus an opportunity to expand digital payments access to youth and millennials, by creating personalised, innovative and secure payment solutions targeted to fit their lifestyles and needs.
How does the Visa and Razer partnership accelerate financial inclusion in the region?
KC: Although 10 per cent of Southeast Asia’s population (over 660 million) are already using e-wallets, over 174 million consumers across the region are unbanked and lack access to credit cards, while another 30 million are underbanked. With new and seamless payment solutions like the Razer card, we are not only able to make financial products more accessible to consumers, bringing them into the digital economy, but also benefit them by providing them with a wider range of options for moving money.
LLM: Despite over 70 per cent adults in Southeast Asia remaining either ‘underbanked’ or ‘unbanked’ entirely, the penetration of smartphones and mobile internet has increased rapidly. This will allow greater access to these underserved communities, in spite of the setbacks caused by the pandemic.
Through this partnership, we are enabling youth and millennials — the driving force of the region’s economy in the next decade — become more financially savvy. By introducing the Razer Card, which is a prepaid card, we are allowing youth and millennials to seamlessly integrate into the digital payments ecosystem, thereby accelerating financial inclusion.
What makes a great partnership?
KC: We believe that complementary capabilities unified by a shared vision and common goals are key to a great partnership. This enables synergy between both parties, allowing for innovation and evolution, to introduce new and seamless solutions that benefit the payments ecosystem as a whole.
LLM: A great partnership is one that complements each partner’s strengths and is able to value-add in terms of what they bring to the table. Marrying two different sets of expertise to offer solutions that bridge gaps and accelerates growth for target markets is what makes a great partnership. Our partnership with Visa is a good example of how two innovative companies can come together to brainstorm, refine and create a unique prepaid solution that serves to offer users more value whenever they make a transaction. With industry-leading product features including a light-on payment physical card option, the Razer Card has sparked a viral reaction globally since its announcement especially amongst the youths – a challenge in itself as they are one of the most digitally-savvy age groups.
What are your thoughts on partnerships in the future of payments?
LLM: I believe we will see more of such partnerships in the future of payments. The digital payments ecosystem is evolving fast and in order to keep up, we need new innovations which can be tested and rolled out more efficiently through such collaborations. This sentiment is echoed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s call to financial institutions and fintechs to achieve greater fintech innovation — by launching a S$1.75million fintech innovation competition earlier this year. With greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing between the incumbent financial institutions and budding fintechs, I believe this would accelerate the path towards the future of payments.
KC: Visa is a network business, and our performance is fuelled by partnerships — be it with traditional financial institutions, fintechs, commercial players, merchants etc. These partnerships have enabled our continued growth, so that we can pioneer new digital payment solutions that drive the next generation of payments innovation.
As a key player in the payments ecosystem, we want to support a broad range of new partners who are helping to redefine and enhance the payment experience for consumers and businesses — by expanding assets through electronic payments, opening new acceptance, driving new payment flows and creating new ways to pay and be paid. We believe that partnerships are instrumental to driving the future of payments, and we want to connect fintechs and their ideas with our bank and merchant partners, so that innovative payment experiences can be delivered with scale and made accessible to all.