Despite being driven by world-beating economic growth, rapid urbanisation, a fast-growing middle class and mobile everywhere environment, only 27 per cent of Southeast Asia's 600 million population had a bank account in 2016, according to KPMG. Having a huge underbanked population is a product of the prevalence of cash economics in the region, which limits financial access for millions of employed adults who are unable to provide the type of information that allows banks to evaluate product suitability. It is also borne from the fact that existing products are insufficiently aligned with the needs of consumers.
Singapore startup and financial supermarket, GoBear, is helping to solve this burning issue and by leveraging digital technology and data.
Having recently raised USD$80million in funding, the company has invested USD$1million in digital scorecard fintech, CredoLab to develop Easy Apply, a mobile app that gives the underbanked in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam a predictive credit scorecard for their credit card or loan applications. The app assesses and collects anonymised data from a user’s mobile, alongside a combination with the bank's performance data to enable the development of robust, big data-based highly predictive scorecards.
When asked about the motivation for this collaboration, Adrian Chng, CEO of GoBear shared that it was part of a bigger vision for the finance industry in Asia. “We want to create an infrastructure and ecosystem that improves financial literacy, financial inclusion and financial security for hundreds of millions across Asia. If we work together as an industry, we can better understand consumer preferences based on their digital personas and journeys, giving them access to the best financial product and improving their financial health."
GoBear is also looking to improve protection for consumers by helping insurance companies explore alternative sources of data to address risk assessment and financial product manufacture, as well as a consumer friendly and efficient process to on-board these consumers.
The company has already seen some success in Thailand, when a travel insurance partner wanted to grow their volume of digital sales. GoBear’s data team analysed Thai user preferences on gobear.com across a variety of attributes including destination, price, and coverage, and offered the partner better understanding of the customer segments that they were attracting. The insurance partner then made data-driven decisions, adjusting their price and coverage based on destinations to attract new potential and profitable customer segments. The partner increased their digital sales and also expanded their digital market share in travel insurance.
In Singapore, GoBear currently compares travel, car, maid and health insurance. It also houses comprehensive travel and car insurance guides.
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