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SEA fintech firm Ascend Money transacts $5 billion in 2017

Ascend Money, Southeast Asia’s leading fintech firm, transacted a total payment volume of USD 5 billion across Southeast Asia in 2017, delivering 400% year-on-year growth compared to 2016. Ascend Money, which operates the consumer-facing TrueMoney brand across six SEA countries, served 21.1 million customers in 2017.

Thailand was the biggest contributor to Ascend Money's payment volume, accounting for almost 50% of the overall figure. Other markets also saw significant growth, 460% in payment volumes. Within Cambodia, Ascend Money transacted a sum worth ten per cent of the country’s GDP.

Tanyapong Thamavaranukupt, Ascend Money President said, "In Thailand we operate a digital wallet platform under the brand of “TrueMoney Wallet”, offering many services, ranging from mobile top-up, digital content, P2P to retail payments. Our active users’ base has grown by four times in the last 12 months and we are by far the market leader in the wallet industry in Thailand.”

Mr Thamavaranukupt continued, “Elsewhere TrueMoney operates a hybrid model, providing both online services with our wallet and offline transactions via our agent network. In Southeast Asia, there is a high percentage of unbanked populations, ranging from 50% to 80%. The best way to provide services to the unbanked is through this hybrid platform. Our business model enables us to serve not only digital consumers who are mostly concentrated in big cities, but also the underbanked population in second and third tier cities that represent the majority of the population. We have been working very hard to establish ourselves as a leading financial services provider, and I am delighted with our achievements.”

Ascend Money has a network of more than 50,000 agents across Southeast Asia and partners with major banks and local businesses. Ascend Money currently operates in six countries: Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia, enabling its agents to penetrate far-flung communities and to provide rural communities with easier access to payments and financial services.

“And while our business success is important, we are most excited by the positive impact we are having among people and across communities who now have access to important financial services. Workers can now be paid via their mobile wallets, and then easily send money home to their families in rural zones or even in other countries, helping to improve the life of their loved ones,” Mr Thamavaranukupt added.

The two main shareholders of Ascend Money are CP Group and Ant Financial. TrueMoney leverages the CP Group’s merchant and customer networks through strategic partnerships and benefits from Ant Financial’s technical and strategic expertise to widen its service offerings and payment options.

Looking ahead, Mr Thamavaranukupt expects Ascend Money to continue innovating and expanding its range of services to better serve its markets.

"We are rapidly expanding our footprint to be able to provide Southeast Asian consumers convenient access to financial services. As the first Southeast Asian fintech company licensed to provide e-money financial services across the region's major markets, we will continue to provide both digital and unbanked consumers with the opportunity to access innovative financial services, leading to better lives," Mr Thamavaranukupt concluded.

Re-dessiminated by The Asian Banker

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