By Keisha B. Ta-Asan
INDONESIAN financial technology (fintech) company Xendit said it is positioning itself as a payment infrastructure platform supporting businesses of all sizes in Southeast Asia, to tap into demand for digitally transformative services in the region, even in areas with little broadband penetration.
Xendit said its target set takes in the whole range, from individual sellers, micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), growth-stage startups, and large enterprises.
In the current climate, businesses need to digitize for them to grow faster, Xendit Philippines Managing Director Yang Yang Zhang said in an interview.
“I think that adopting emerging technologies, introducing these kind of new business processes, accepting online payments, is crucial for any business’s survival,” Ms. Zhang said.
“We really, really want to make sure that we are not just building out for the top 10% of companies. (The target is) 100% of the businesses that are out there,” she added.
The fintech industry in the Philippines has adopted emerging technologies to overcome the advantages held by incumbent financial institutions as well as the challenges posed by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to the Philippines FinTech Report 2022, the number of fintech companies in the Philippines was 222, up 16.8% from the number recorded in 2020.
“I think that Filipino businesses were able to figure out how to thrive by transforming themselves,” Ms. Zhang said, “And so I think that, as we kind of emerge from the pandemic, (digital transformation) will continue.”
Ms. Zhang said the company, which entered the Philippine market in 2020 is seeking out partnerships to achieve an innovative digital payments offering that will differentiate itself from the rest of the field.
“We had this really lean team that had to figure out how we’re going to distinguish ourselves from people who’ve been in the market one year longer, five years, longer, 10 years longer than us,” Ms. Zhang said.
A recent partnership with DragonPay, one of the pioneers in providing alternative payments in the Philippines, gave Xendit room to expand, Ms. Zhang said. The eventual aim is to serve remote and underserved areas.
“The way that we want to reach these specific kind of far flung areas (where) there’s really been no penetration… (of) digital payments, is really by working with the… platforms that are working towards those sari-sari store enablers, or organizations that work primarily with farmers and fishermen,” Ms. Zhang said.
When consumers entrust personal information to digital platforms, data security becomes mission-critical, Ms. Zhang said.
“Within Xendit, we actually have an entire team of hackers who hack us every single day. It’s their sole job is to come in, and to figure out where the vulnerabilities are, and so proactively they figure out where they are, so we can address them before anyone else can,” Ms. Zhang said.
She added that part of the journey to creating “a world-class payments experience… is making sure that the customer is very aware at each step of what is happening.”
“For example, there are many ways you can facilitate a bank transfer. When we facilitate that, we make it very clear to customers where the touch point with a bank is, and the touch point with the app, and also what they’re actually signing up for,” she added.