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Tech empowers Indonesian migrant workers

Migrant workers face many challenges in sending money from abroad. Starting from the language barrier when they want to use the country’s banking services, up to 77% of migrant workers have bank accounts but do not use them. Besides, many of these migrant workers are not used to using financial technology to manage their money.

Now, a startup engaged in financial technology (fintech) in Indonesia facilitates migrant workers and their families to manage and send money. The tech start-up said the problems faced by Indonesian migrant workers in managing and sending their money home are real.

Many of these workers are family breadwinners with both elderly parents as dependents and, children who live in homes, most of whom do not have bank accounts.

Moreover, migrant workers are often used by multiple intermediaries regarding remittances or third-party relatives which generally expose them to high risks or must pay high cash handling fees. All the existing limitations limit them from complete control of their income and the difficulty of making direct transactions for various necessities of life in their hometown.

Therefore, the tech start-up developed an app, intending to be the leading IDR electronic money service serving Indonesian people abroad, especially the migrant worker community. The tech developers aim to give migrant workers the flexibility to take full control of the money they earn, with a more transparent approach.

With the platform, migrant workers can deposit their salaries through official outlets in the countries they work for to top-up balances. Users also have access to funds in electronic money and can make various cross-border transactions without cash to send money to their families in their home country, and make daily payments such as buying credit, paying monthly bills, and buying various necessities. Withdrawing cash from the platform will only cost IDR 2,500 (around US$ 0.5), which is up to 10 times cheaper than similar services. Meanwhile, users can make transfers to fellow users for free.

Since its launch in June 2020, the digital money platform has received a total gross transaction value (GTV) volume of IDR 90 billion from 45,000 users. The platform has also acquired 37,261 agents throughout Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Through the app, migrant workers can now plan their finances digitally, in real-time, and flexibly with better security and efficiency, anytime and anywhere.

Accordingly, reports say that Fintech is expected to become a major driver of financial inclusion in Indonesia. The country is preparing itself to embrace future disruptions with the government’s 2020 Go Digital Vision to boost overall growth, improve workers’ skills, and create jobs.

Fintech is at the core of plans to meet the target of 75% of Indonesians gaining access to a formal bank account by 2019 set out in the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion. Being less homogeneous than banks, fintech companies can create a more diverse, secure, and stable financial services landscape.

Also, unburdened by legacy systems, fintech companies have greater scope to reduce costs and improve service quality. For example, by leveraging big data, machine learning and alternative data, fintech firms can develop innovative risk assessment models to generate credit scores for customers with limited credit histories. Shaping a stable and cost-efficient ecosystem for fintech in Indonesia is a significant but manageable challenge. Fintech offers a veritable gold mine of insights and applications that can transform governance, and support Indonesia’s efforts in planning for a future with smart solutions

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