BigPay aims to bring change with new international digital remittance service

Users can easily deposit funds using the platform with no hidden fees or extra charges


TECHNOLOGY can dramatically reduce the cost of remittance and ease the process of people transferring money abroad. That’s what BigPay aims to do with its new international remittance service on its platform.

The service will enable users to send money directly from Malaysia to bank accounts in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Users can easily deposit funds into BigPay via their bank cards or bank transfer with no hidden fees or extra charges, according to its CEO and co-founder Christopher Davison (picture).

He said BigPay’s focus is on providing the best customer experience and value for money and its technology platform allows the fintech firm to provide a mobile only, bank grade alternative for consumers to send money abroad.

“We already have one of the cheapest cross border payment products in the market and now we will offer competitive international transfer rates.

“Over time, our focus is to develop more remittance corridors across South-East Asia so that we can bring costs down even more,” he said in an email interview to The Malaysian Reserve recently.

Davison also said about US$25 billion (RM104 billion) is lost globally per year through remittance fees and BigPay wants to bring change.

“Financial inclusion is the cornerstone of BigPay and offering low-cost, accessible money transfers is part of that strategy.

“So, whether it is sending money to family, friends or making other overseas payments, people can easily do it without having to pay exorbitant exchange rates and transfer fees,” he said.

BigPay is currently the first fintech company in Malaysia to offer a fully digital, mobile only, remittance product that is linked to a physical card.

The Asean-focused firm also aims to provide one of the cheapest international remittance products in the market.

BigPay is an e-wallet and prepaid card service launched by low-cost carrier, AirAsia Group Bhd, in 2018.

It was formerly known as TPaay Asia Sdn Bhd, which used to be Tune Money — a loyalty programme. The firm has offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Thailand and soon in other Asean cities

Davison believes there is a massive potential to disrupt the traditional remittance market in South-East Asia as the World Bank has identified East Asia and the Pacific as one of the most expensive markets for international remittances.

“Many overseas foreign workers and expatriates work hard to provide a better quality of life for themselves and and loved ones, yet existing banks and traditional remittance services charge high fees for sending money abroad.

“An analysis by the United Nations shows transfer fees can be as high as 7% on average in South-East Asia.

“We believe that fintechs, such as BigPay, can dramatically reduce the cost to remit money and make the process more efficient and convenient for consumers,” Davison said.

BigPay is one of the first fintechs in Malaysia to receive approval from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to use “electronic Know Your Customer” (eKYC) for remittance.

The service allows BigPay’s customers to submit all documents electronically within the app using document identity verification and facial biometric technology to remove the need for physical, in-person verification.

The World Bank estimates there is greater than US$60 billion remittance market in South-East Asia.

BigPay expects this market to grow rapidly given raising income levels, economic growth and demographics which should see greater cross border migration in the future.

“In Malaysia alone there are more than two million foreign workers or 7% of the total population. Our investment to develop remittances is purely on developing the technology as we do not have to establish physical branch offices.

“Our technology platform is built in house so we can quickly adapt it to add new features and services such as remittances — and rapidly roll out enhancements,” Davison said.

Davison hails from London, where he worked in financial services and has a track record of both investing in, and setting up of several successful fintech and data analytics companies. Malaysia is a key market for BigPay as it is one of the fastest growing card issuers and one of the largest e-money providers.

“Providing low cost and easy to use remittances is a core part of our strategy to provide more products to democratise financial services for everyone.

“Consumers should not have to queue in a physical branch to send money abroad and still paying exorbitant fees.

“Instead they should be able to do it instantly and effortlessly on their smartphones at low and fair cost,” Davison said.

BigPay is pioneering digital remittance through its mobile application, offering a seamless experience with instant money transfers.

In line with BigPay’s mission to deliver fair and transparent financial services, international remittances will be offered to customers at a fixed fee per corridor with competitive exchange rates.

This is the first wave of BigPay’s international remittance rollout, with additional corridors to be announced in the near future.

A recent report by Bernama stated that almost RM5 billion sent out in a year by foreign workers in the country’s construction sector.

In March, the national news agency reported outward remittances grew significantly by 23.3% to RM40.6 billion last year from RM33 billion in 2017.

According to BNM, the outward remittances are forecast to sustain growing but only by a single digit level given the already high base.