Indonesian state-owned companies are merging their mobile payment services to challenge the two dominant players in the country’s rapidly growing digital payments market.
According to a recent report, four state-owned banks and a telecommunications company will merge their different mobile payment services into one platform called LinkAja.
It is expected that the digital service will expand beyond payments and into other financial services such as insurance.
Digital payments market in Indonesia
The report highlighted that Indonesia is regarded as one Asia’s most attractive markets for digital payments, with around 91% of its 264 million population owning a mobile phone.
However, a heavier average is still relying on cash.
The banks, with their e-payment tools, have struggled to make headway against the easy-to-use offerings from the ride-hailing companies.
The Indonesian Government would most likely provide support for this merger as it has been pushing for an increase in cashless transactions.
With nearly 50% of Indonesia’s over-15 population lacking bank accounts, the country is keen to promote digital wallets and cashless payments as a means to help the unbanked join the financial system.
The LinkAja Platform
The new LinkAja is service is scheduled to start in March. Users of the service will be able to make cashless payments through Quick Response (QR) codes.
With the platform, users may pay bills such as utilities. Moreover, users need not have a bank account as they can top-up balances at places like convenience stores and ATMs.
The Director of one of the state-owned banks shared that Link Aja is intended to strengthen and expand the network so that it can take market share more quickly.
Integrating into one platform and creating a larger network will allow more users form the rural areas to be added.
Moreover, and Indonesian state-owned oil and gas giant is also expected to join the alliance.
With around 7,000 gas stations nationwide, it can provide wider reach as it has entered areas where bank branches do not exist.
The platform will be able to expand its user base if LinkAja can be used at the gas stations. Rural residents can possibly top-up their accounts at the gas stations as well.
As reported, the state-owned enterprises seem to recognise the importance of having a digital solution while recognising that they have a long way to go in order to catch up with the two dominant players.
Because the ride-hailing app is so widely used as a do-everything app, its payment infrastructure was able to leverage the network.
It was able to affect and grow into one of the most popular mobile payment options in the country.