The growth of fintech may have taken some by surprise in Southeast Asia, a region were 264 million people – just under half of its population – do not have bank accounts.
However, this only encourages fintech firms to find innovative ways to penetrate this huge untapped market, according to speakers at last Friday’s Inspire Asean event in Phnom Penh.
One such firm is Lenddo, a startup from the Philippines now based in Singapore, which uses social data and online behaviour to assess customers’ financial stability. Hong Samarkkeenich, the company’s regional sales director, is responsible for targeting new and often forgotten markets in Southeast Asia. She spoke at Inspire Asean about the importance of big data and financial inclusion.
“Two-and-a-half billion people today do not have access to formal credit,” she said, adding that traditional lenders struggle to offer credit to those who do not have a bank account or a digitised log of their transactions.
In response to this, Lenddo offers their patented scoring system as a reliable predictor of an individual’s ‘willingness to pay’, where a person is given a score ranging from one to 1,000. Hong said that they are able to assess the often-neglected market that do not own bank accounts, as their score system relies on non-traditional data, which is often derived from online activity and an individual’s behaviour on social media.
Hong considers Cambodia to be entering its age of digitisation, despite slow progress in the banking sector, as 50% of the population now owns a smartphone. She views this as an opportunity.
“Many underserved people are coming online,” she said, before urging other financial institutions to embrace the potential of this huge untapped market. With 80% of Cambodians not having a bank account, many investors see this is a risk. Lenddo, she said, sees huge potential.