BNPL and Fintech: The New Frontiers for Southeast Asian Tech Giants

Interviewed in financial news media DealStreetAsia, Y&S Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jeffrey Bahar highlights that Southeast Asian tech majors’ focus on small online transactions means they currently do not pose a threat to traditional consumer lending in the existing ecosystem. 
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) transactions are proliferating through apps developed by Southeast Asian tech majors such as GoTo, Grab, and SEA Ltd. The demand for this service is driven by their strong ecosystems in ride-hailing, food delivery, and e-commerce. With BNPL becoming a key focus, these firms’ fintech divisions are seeing rising revenue and transaction volumes. 

Since 2016, BNPL has gained popularity in Southeast Asia. As of March 2024, consumer debt from BNPL schemes reached approximately US$376 million, according to Indonesia’s Financial Service Authority. While BNPL’s rapid growth raises concerns about debt traps and impulsive buying, it also poses challenges such as higher default rates and credit risk management costs. Super apps must invest in robust risk management systems to mitigate these challenges. Despite these hurdles, the top three tech majors have significant advantages due to their large customer databases. 

Jeffrey Bahar, Chief Operating Officer of Y&S, believes these firms do not currently threaten traditional multi-financing or consumer lending companies, as they focus on small online transactions and have not significantly ventured into offline sectors. Additionally, their affiliate banks also do not offer credit card products. 

Also, in Q1 2024, the fintech units of GoTo, Grab, and SEA Ltd. reported revenue and transaction improvements, indicating potential profitability. SEA Ltd.’s SEAMoney achieved a profitable quarter with an EBITDA of US$148.7 million. Jeffrey points out that this is primarily driven by its e-commerce business, Shopee. 

While the fintech arms are crucial for super apps to enhance user experience and present lucrative acquisition opportunities, the primary goal of these tech majors remains customer acquisition to establish profitability in the sector. 

Click here to read the full article in DealStreetAsia. The article requires user subscription. 


For media enquiries, please contact:

Marie Teo
Manager, Group Marketing Communications
YAMADA Consulting & Spire
Phone: +65 6221 7727
E-mail: [email protected] 

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