Managing money via smartphones is getting popular in the digital world. The world is moving towards a cashless society where no one requires physical currency to buy goods or to send money.
Countries like Myanmar, where owning a sim card was an expensive affair costing $5,000 in 2000, have achieved a mobile subscription rate of 135% of their entire population. In response to the growing mobile adoption rate, the country’s digital payment adoption rate reached 80% in 2019. In contrast, it was only 1% in 2016.
Visa surveyed 504 people in Myanmar across the Pathein, Yangon, Magway, and Mandalay regions in Sep 2018. The survey found that up to 60% of the customers pay via cashless payment options when purchasing items at supermarkets and hypermarkets.
Market overview for mobile wallets in Myanmar
Myanmar presents an ideal business environment for digital wallets:
Traditional banking penetration is shallow in Myanmar. A mere 26% of grown-ups in Myanmar possess an account at a financial institution, which is very low in comparison to the median average of 49% for neighbouring countries.
The currency circulation in Myanmar is 21% of M2, which is more than double of what is found in peer countries, where it is commonly around 10%. (Confused about what M2 is? Here is a simple definition: M2 is the rough total value of financial assets held principally by households. This includes cash, deposits and investments)
The mobile subscription rate stands at 135% of their entire population, which indicates that there is huge potential for the digital payment industry in Myanmar.
Banks, telecoms, and independent operators hold a share in Myanmar’s digital payments market
Up till now, the Central Bank of Myanmar has licenced only five non-banking institutions to offer mobile financial services, which is very small when compared to the neighbouring country, Vietnam, where the state bank has issued 33 licences. The five players in Myanmar’s digital payment space are Wave Money, OK$, M-Pitesan, My Money, and MPT Money.
Apart from these five non-financial institutions, Myanmar’s commercial banks are also offering mobile financial services, with several of them having their e-wallets. For example, CB Bank owns CB Pay, Ongo is in partnership with MOB Bank, and KBZ Bank owns KBZ Pay.
Source: Tellimer Research
Features for a mobile wallet in Myanmar
Keeping the current market scenario of Myanmar in mind, what are the features a mobile wallet app in Myanmar should incorporate? Here are some of the crucial features for a mobile wallet app in Myanmar:
Instant Intra-wallet payments
Your mobile wallet should be capable of transferring money between the payer’s wallet to the payee’s wallet instantly. Your customer won’t rely on your mobile wallet if it takes hours or days to complete payment.
Instant payment is among the core characteristics of an e-wallet. There is no space for an error when your customer is at a store trying to make payment for the goods that they just selected. In a cashless world, the payment experience should be at least as seamless as when the customer pays via cash.
Payments from and to bank accounts
A mobile wallet should facilitate the ability to make money transfer directly from the payer’s bank account. The payee should have the option to receive money either to their bank account or wallet. The bank to bank transfers also includes the user’s account in the same bank, as well as another person’s account in a different bank.
Wallet owners should be provided with a variety of payment options while sending or receiving money. The options should be one tap away whenever and wherever the users are within the app interface.
Modern mobile wallets aren’t just about making person to person payments; they also should be able to help users with paying utility bills, mortgages, loan payments, rent, tuition, etc.
As digital money is becoming more and more popular, mobile wallets will not only replace conventional payment methods, but also provide the users with convenience to make effortless payments – be it prepaid or postpaid.