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Southeast Asian market sees growing interest in biometric payments and authentication


Almost half of consumers in Myanmar would use biometrics for payments and authentication, according to Visa’s most recent Consumer Payment Attitudes Study, writes the Global New Light of Myanmar.

The study notes a positive attitude toward digital payment and emerging payment methods and a growing interest in technology to improve customer experience.

“Given the evolving payment landscape, which has transformed the way consumers make payments, Myanmar consumers are clearly upbeat about technological advancements in payment solutions,” said Lillian Wang, country manager for Visa Myanmar. “We are encouraged and motivated that technology savvy Myanmar people recognize the benefits of using digital payments.”

Some of the most popular methods for biometric payments are finger scans (52 percent), facial recognition (17 percent), retina scan (9 percent), and voice recognition (5 percent).

As many as 99 percent of respondents were comfortable with finger scans for biometric payments and authentication, followed by facial recognition at 95 percent, and voice recognition at 91 percent. Retina scans were the least popular in terms of comfort level, with only 89 percent of respondents saying they would consider it.

When asked about wearables for payments, although only 9 percent were familiar with the possibility of using smartwatches, wristbands or rings to make payments, 41 percent would consider them as payment methods. Gadget-wise, 39 percent named smartwatches as a top preference, followed by wristbands (26 percent), and rings (22 percent). However, 99 percent of respondents were far more comfortable with wristbands than any other gadgets.

Consumers in Myanmar are very comfortable with the idea of making reservations, payments or placing orders through AI chatbots, the study says, but only as little as 1 percent have actually used AI chatbots for these services.

“In Myanmar, we have taken the lead to introduce new innovative payment solutions, such as Visa contactless technology, as well as educating consumers on the benefits of digital payments and financial management,” concluded Wang. “While we are proud of the progress, we remain committed to expanding the usage and acceptance of digital payments across the country. We are working hard to introduce new payment innovations and invest in the payments ecosystem in Myanmar to drive economic growth.”

FinTech SaaS provider from Singapore OneConnect announced it is seeking to extend its leadership in the Southeast Asian market with two brand new smart lending platforms that use advanced technology to improve access to credit facilities. In partnership with UBX Philippines Corporation, a subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines, OneConnect has just launched SeekCap, the first MSME lending platform in The Philippines, the company says.

The SeekCap digital loans marketplace lets borrowers choose the products that best suit their needs and apply for loans. With loan applications being processed in a day, the platform reduces turnaround time.

Under a separate partnership with Sinar Mas Multi-finance, a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Multiartha (Sinar Mas Financial Services Group) in Indonesia, OneConnect has committed to developing the country’s first multi-finance platform to easy access to car and motorcycle loans to improve mobility and livelihood.

To improve the banking journey, OneConnect’s smart lending platform integrates three solutions: Smart Lending that uses artificial intelligence-enabled eKYC solutions for anti-fraud and credit risk management, Smart Interview that leverages OneConnect’s micro-expression technology to analyze 56 facial muscle movements in real time to detect fraud in a remote interview, and Smart Agent that simplifies customer onboarding via mobile phones.

“The Philippines is a strategic market for OneConnect,” said Tan Bin Ru, CEO of OneConnect Financial Technology. “Though the World Bank figure shows that only 35 percent of Filipinos have formal bank accounts in 2018, this figure is a good increment from the preceding years. Filipinos have also been making a lot of digital payments and remittances in recent years. These are clear signs that Filipinos welcome new technologies, and I expect digital transformation in The Philippines’ financial sector to scale considerably.”

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