Even though the Indonesia banking scene is one of the most profitable in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it still has a large unbanked population, with only 51% of adults owning an account in a financial institution. The growth of the financial technology (fintech) sector has enabled novel solutions to emerge and boost access and inclusiveness in the banking industry. Singapore fintech startups have invested in reaching the unbanked in Indonesia and those businesses in need of funding.
According to Statista, the number of banks in Indonesia has reduced since 2014 from 119 to 107. The sector has shown promise by merging with or adopting fintech solutions, mirroring the digital transformation of Southeast Asia, which was intensely fueled by the spread of COVID-19.
Customers now use smartphones and other capable devices to access the internet, banking services, and mobile eWallets. Still, the banking industry continues to lag, despite having many things working in its favour, such as demand for digital solutions, a large and receptive population, and an advanced and well-regulated financial ecosystem.
We look at digital banking Indonesia and top 3 fintech-bank deals to watch
Tapping into Sharia banking
Indonesia has a large Muslim population, yet, the country does not have adequate Islamic banking services. Another issue is the poor penetration of banking solutions for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Many people lack bank accounts, access to credit to boost their capital, cash flow, and operations, and up-to-date integrated banking and digital services. Thus, there is a loss of money flowing into the economy as the population resorts to traditional methods of keeping money, such as saving cash under a mattress.
The shift to digital has borne fruit in the country, and more Indonesians engage in some form of online transactions. Currently, revenue from the digital payments market stands at USD 72.09 billion, according to Statista, and the sector has 178.96 million users. The growth of mobile payments by 18% by 2027 is likely.
Several fintech companies from Singapore have seen the opportunity to expand their businesses to Indonesia and reach the large unbanked population in the country.
Top three Singapore fintech players in Indonesia
Fin(S.E)Asia Pte Ltd.
Electronic payments services provider Fin(SE)Asia Ltd. seeks to serve ASEAN and reach the unbanked and those without access to banking facilities. It partnered with Nahdlatul Ulama—Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation and charitable group—through another Indonesian company, PT Nusantara NUCash Utama, a payment platform.
Fin(SE)Asia Ltd. plans to invest in the region to provide financial services before moving to the next stage of promoting financial literacy through outreach. The company also plans to connect with users through healthcare technology (healthtech).
Growth financing firm Jenfi provides funding for eCommerce and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies without taking any equity. It also finances the marketing and inventory expenses of the businesses, leading to three times the average return on investment (ROI). Repayments are flexible and small, and the supported companies grow by over 8.1% per month on average.
Jenfi raised USD 6.3 million, bringing its total funding to USD 34.6 million. Its investors include Taurus Ventures, 8VC, Arc Labs, Next Billion Ventures, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Golden Equator Ventures, and Korea Investment Partners. The company feels its financing solution is needed in Indonesia as it has already successfully powered digital companies in Singapore. It also provides risk assessments to check the stability of fintech startups for investment purposes.
One-stop business finance platform Validus provides growth capital and empowers startups with competitive financial products and services. The startups receive business cards and accounts, expense management services, accounting, cash transfers, and other financial solutions to save time and money. This support and financing enable small businesses to grow and impact communities and societies.
Thus far, Validus has raised USD 82.3 million from FMO, VinaCapital Investment Management, Openspace, K3 Ventures, AddVentures, Cathay Financial Holding, and others. Validus invested USD 15.2 million in the Indonesian entity Batumbu to provide funding for SMEs in the country.
The Indonesia banking scene remains robust, but it cannot serve everyone without help. Singapore fintech startups are providing those solutions and empowering startups to grow and cater to the needs of the unbanked in Indonesia. Demand will remain high, meaning companies will have the opportunity to thrive.