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A Review of 7 Notable Fintechs in SEA Banking by GCG Asia’s Bank Research Group

Fintech is described as incorporating technology into investment banking products. According to the  GCG Asia Bank research team, this is to expand their use and delivery to customers. Companies challenge establishment candidates in the finance industry by raising financial participants and lowering operational costs via technologies. Following the GCG Asia Bank research, Fintech improves the health of conventional financial institutions by increasing efficiency and profitability. As credit unions see fintech companies as allies in this process instead of vendors of goods, the possibilities grow.

Over 70% of Southeast Asia currently lacks adequate financial resources, and numbers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to face significant funding shortages. Owing to low profits, existing banks frequently ignore the underbanked, but, with the advent of emerging technology, fintech companies are gradually happy to discover a financially feasible system to deliver needed services.

GCG Asia Bank research team will highlight seven legit fintech companies that are currently providing banking services to Southeast Asia’s unbanked populations, as Fintech is poised to rethink how customers buy, earn, and finance all across the country.

Julo (Indonesia)

GCG Asia Bank research team says that Julo is a (P2P) peer-to-peer financing platform that offers unprotected credit facilities. It was established in 2016 and is based in Jakarta. Julo’s patented credit rating system uses machine learning (ML) and sophisticated credit processing to measure people’s financial health, which traditional lenders frequently ignore.

“Julo has received awards from the International Community, Universal Fintech 50, and also for accelerating financial inclusion in Indonesia through increasing capital accessibility for the nation’s large, young generation. Julo had distributed about $50 million as of the end of September 2019. Last year, the startup raised $15 million in a Series A funding phase,” explains  GCG Asia Bank researchers.

MyCash Online (Malaysia)

According to GCG Asia Bank Research team, MyCash Online is a marketplace established in 2016 in Singapore and Malaysia exclusively for migrant workers. MyCash Online provides fast, safe online services such as bus, air, and overall management transactions, foreign refill credit card payments, and digital financial transactions to international employees who do not have access to personal loans.

“Users must first register on the official website or on the smartphone app with a valid ID to use the service. They will get an SMS with a periodic password and PIN by SMS until their ID checks and their registration has been validated. We need to buy coupons from MyCash Online after they have logged in, which they will use to purchase services from the marketplace,” said the GCG Asia Bank researcher team.

MyCash Online secured seed investment from 500 Companies last year and is now seeking Series A funding. The 2019 SFF x SWITCH Fintech Prizes were held in partnership with SWITCH. MyCash Online came second in the ASEAN Open division.

Saphron (Philippines)

Saphron is a start-up that seeks to create an insurance policy that is more available in Southeast Asia, according to  GCG Asia Bank research analysts. Saphron is based in Manila but has its headquarters in Singapore. The company uses cutting-edge technology to offer financial security and assist the affordable, ultra-convenient, easy to buy, and quick to assert.

Researchers from the GCG Asia Bank research team discovered that the firm had created a NAN microinsurance network powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Microinsurance brokers can enroll clients, monitor operations, and file lawsuits with artificial intelligence in a fraction of the time and cost that paper-based payments require.

Saphron Platform is an online platform including security and protection services that’s “bite-sized. “ Saphron was able to increase S$1.35 million in venture capital. In March 2019 from Sage, a financial technology VC fund, and Talino Labs, an investment lab that sponsors businesses engaging in digital transformation,” according to GCG Asia’s searcher team.

CredoLab (Singapore)

CredoLab, based in Singapore and established in 2016, creates digital bank-grade scorecards based on anonymous mobile metadata. CredoLab’s AI algorithm can analyze above 1m functions from opt-in digital mobiles datasets to identify behavior trends and convert them to creditworthiness, according to the GCG Asia Bank research team. They are based on more than 18 million data acquired from 50+ financing companies to develop in 19 countries.

According to the  GCG Asia Bank research team, CredoLab’s mission is to redefine how credit rating is measured by allowing policymakers to exploit mobile metadata and tap into financially underserved communities such as the new-to-credit (NTC) and new-to-bank (NTB) consumers. CredoLab was the 2019 SFF x SWITCH Fintech Awards champion in the ASEAN Open group, having powered around $1 billion in loans based on mobile metadata. 

GCG Asia Bank research team makes a finding that CredoLab was appointed Indonesia’s first credit scoring fintech company by the Financial Services Authority (OJK) in January 2020. This year, the organization expects to raise at least $3 million in a new A financing round to help support its international expansion plans and research and development (R&D).

SmartNet (Vietnam)

According to the GCG Asia Bank research team SmartPay, a program for crypto wallets introduced in May 2019 and aimed at the nation’s vast community that is financially underfunded customers and enterprises. SmartNet is a company located in Ho Chi Minh City.

SmartPay makes direct cash payments free of charge, power bill payments, QR payoff, a work page, and other services. GCG Asia Bank research team clarify that users may also request credit via the smartphone device.

Traders and consumers are entering the SmartPay network simply by launching the software and forwarding on the KYC (know your customer) protocol, which includes a global ID or attaching a credit card, according to the GCG Asia Bank research team. SmartPay had over 200,000 customers and 3,000 retailers in Vietnam as of September 2019.

Wing (Cambodia)

Wing is Cambodia’s leading mobile banking service provider, which is launched in 2009. Wing offers any Cambodian access to facilities such as local and foreign financial transactions, bill payments and mobile leading, internet shopping, and Qr transactions, according to the GCG Asia Bank research squad.

“It has a large network of above 7,000 Wing Cash Xpress field sources that provide a complete range of facilities, which include cash transfers, bill payments, cash deposit and withdrawal, and lending rate,” explains GCG Asia Bank research team. Mastercard, Western Union, MoneyGram, and WorldRemit are among the business’s more than 30,000 retailers and national market leaders.

GCG Asia Bank researchers discovered Wing offers payment and billing programs to small to medium businesses and more giant corporations, in addition to customer facilities.

ZigWay (Myanmar)

ZigWay is a Yangon-based fintech social company that offers versatile and inexpensive lending and contribution for daily products and services through a smartphone app.

ZigWay, which puts the focus on US$5–200 nano loans, offers an entirely integrated financing mechanism and helps people in Myanmar with limited earnings to build regular debt payments that complement their earnings potential,” describes GCG Asia Bank researchers.

GCG Asia Bank research team came up with a way (ZigWay) for those who cannot apply for loans via their cell phone to connect face-to-face with a ZigWay “super-user,” or a smartphone-savvy member of the ZigWay network who can assist with the operation, and also loan disbursement and mobile money repayment.

According to a participant of the  GCG Asia Bank research team, ZiGway has released around $100,000 in loans and safe collaborations with two central Myanmar banks in order to expand its operation across the region. At the 2019 SFF x SWITCH Fintech Awards, the company took the third spot in the ASEAN SME segment.


Finally, following the GCG Asia Bank research team member’s thoughts, financial inclusion is comparatively strong in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, but low in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Despite this, access to financial services has increased dramatically in Cambodia and Vietnam.

According to the GCG Asia Bank analysts, financial inclusion provides people with banking and financial services. Its goal is to bring everyone in society together by providing them with essential financial services, regardless of their income or savings. It focuses on offering financial assistance to those who are economically disadvantaged.

If you like GCG Asia’s fintech content, follow us on twitter for the latest updates!  

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GCG Asia Reviews 6 Legit Ways to Enhance your Cyber Security to Prevent Scams

Due to the digital era we live in today, cyber security has become an essential part of maintaining the safety and security of your business. We live in an exciting era of technology. Yet there are many of what we like to call “digital criminals” lurking all over the internet. As GCG Asia Review researcher Jess Choi says, “Once your business is connected to the World Wide Web, there is no going back. Even huge companies like Facebook with large security resources are vulnerable to data leaks and theft.” Your most classified data that you put out there is stored in cryptic data packages that roam the internet. These data packages could be intercepted by criminals who could eventually decrypt and steal your data.  

Not only do digital criminals and scammers set out to conduct cyber attacks to gain access, change or eliminate confidential or sensitive data, they are keen on interrupting business processes in an attempt to obtain money. Companies tend to invest more in strengthening security protocols and digital boundaries. However, this could be extremely costly and many concerns are raised over its costs. And its effectiveness comes into legitimate question due to the evolving nature of computer hackers who are extremely sophisticated and should not be underestimated.

There have been many incidents as noted by GCG Asia Reviews where data breaches occur. Almost every year, major corporations and digital banks are hacked and forced to shut down their servers in an attempt to combat such cyber attacks. This is a nightmare for many corporations as revenues are lost and trust is lost between corporations and their consumers which would heavily affect their reputation. 

Our writers at GCG Asia Review heavily stress on the importance of cyber security. That is why we have gathered 6 simple methods and precautions that you can take today. These methods are proven to enhance the level of protection  without having to invest large amounts of money on hiring cyber security experts. These methods from GCG Asia Review could be useful especially if you are just starting out and venturing into the financial technology industry.

  • Train Employees for Cyber Security Awareness

One of the most necessary first steps to take is to raise awareness amongst employees like in GCG Asia Review’s Singapore office on the practices of going online. Employees should be fully aware of all the negative potentials of going online. Since everyone at the GCG Asia Review Singapore office will most likely use the same IP address, the likelihood of your data being stolen from their personal devices is increasingly likely. Hence why the first step that we at GCG Asia Review recommend requires all the employees to pay attention to simple protection measures in order to increase the defences against cyber attacks 

  • Be Aware of Spam Emails

We all know spam emails. It is sometimes extremely annoying to handle. The chances of your business receiving spam emails increases when your business email is put up online. There is no way to avoid it. Scammers are becoming increasingly smart. Hence why it is important to be cautious with any sort of email. Outlook, Gmail or any other email platforms do not do a good job at identifying spam mails.

As mentioned by our employees in GCG Asia Review, some emails that are a red flag can appear directly to your inbox. Make sure you check the sender’s email address on the email. If it contains a series of random letters and numbers, this could be an indication of an automated email bot. Automated email bots are some things you should avoid. Also make sure you check the subject matter of the email. If the email is not addressed to you directly, it could be a bad sign. Avoid clicking on any links unless you are certain that it doesn’t lead to any sort of scamming opportunities. Clicking on a link could trigger a virus or malware that could gain access to your database and steal your resources.

  • Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are important in GCG Asia Review. It greatly increases the chances of defence against cyber attacks. Although many users ignore this very basic defence mechanism, it is still necessary to understand the importance of strong passwords. Strong passwords are the building blocks for cyber security. Passwords that are considered strong consist of numeric and alphabets with special characters. Consider using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters.

It is extremely important to avoid any sort of obvious words, individuals or dates that could be relevant to your business or employees. Keep changing passwords on a regular basis. Consider changing it every month for better security. Remember not to change passwords to anything similar to your previous passwords. Regular password changes are something that could be ignored by many users. We at GCG Asia Review cannot stress any more on the importance of password changes. 


Update Your Computer Devices 

Whichever operating system you’re using, whether Apple OSX or Microsoft Windows or even Linux operating systems it is important to keep these operating systems updated as these updates often include security patches, says GCG Asia Review researcher Jess Choi. Company devices as well as employees devices should be updated too. Try to conduct regular checks on your employees’ devices to ensure that all their operating systems are up to date like we do at GCG Asia Malaysia’s office. 

It is also a good idea to invest in anti-malware or antivirus software as we did in GCG Asia. In fact, many of which are absolutely free and are good enough. Make sure your employees are aware of these softwares. It would help them a lot if you could provide them with the software on the company’s behalf. “Many anti-malware and anti-virus software offer special packages for businesses. Make sure that the softwares you and your employees use is up to date,”  in GCG Asia Review.

Another good option by GCG Asia Review is to make sure that all your computer devices have their firewalls activated. This is a basic step to consider before installing any 3rd party softwares.

  • Limit Access from Non-Employees

Your company devices should simply not be accessed by anyone other than your employees. Many scammers need physical access to devices in order to conduct their operations. Be aware of anyone suspicious who expresses a random intention to access your company’s devices. It gets a bit trickier when an employee allows non-employees to access their device. While we do not wish to violate an individual’s freedom and privacy,  however, it is necessary to keep them aware of the risks involved in doing so. Just ask them to keep an eye out for anyone who is not part of the organization in GCG Asia Review using their personal devices.

If your company allows customers to access your company’s devices like GCG Asia Review, then it would be a good idea to use a completely different IP address. This could be achieved by using a different internet service provider. Make sure the devices are not connected to the same network as your company’s devices. 

“On a further note, you should be aware of where you place your internet router. Make sure it is placed somewhere out of reach from non-employees in your office space like what we implement,” says GCG Asia Review researcher Jess Choi.


  • Backup Your Data on an Offline Device

We all use cloud services, especially our team at GCG Asia Review. However, we at GCG Asia Review take the precautionary step to back up all our data onto an offline device. We even use our own hard disks to be more thorough.  And it isn’t a bad idea for you to do the same thing. Backing up your data will keep your data safe and secure in the case of any sort of emergency. It is simply not 100% safe to use cloud services, despite their reputation. As we mentioned in GCG Asia Review earlier, digital criminals are getting smarter, and the internet is just not a safe space to use. 

Backing up your data on a monthly basis would be a good option to start with. “It should in fact be part of your standard protection protocol and all your employees should be aware of this protocol. Make sure you assign someone to oversee this operation every month. Backing up data will not only provide you with a safe and secure place for you to retrieve important information, but it will also help your employees retrieve whatever is necessary and help them get back on track sooner,” says GCG Asia Review researcher Jess Choi.


Your Business’s Security Matters

On a final note, we at GCG Asia Review strongly recommend hiring 3rd party security experts. Although we did mention previously on their effectiveness and whether they are a cost effective strategy to consider, we still firmly believe that hiring security professionals would greatly increase your levels of security against cyber attacks. After all, they are the experts in this field and their expertise should not be underestimated.

CEO and Founder of GCG Asia Review Dr. Eddy Teow states the following on cyber security: “Securing your business against cyber attacks is extremely necessary. It is worth remembering that the necessary steps you need to take in order to combat such attacks begins with prevention. Prevention is the key ingredient into combat attacks from fraudsters and scammers.”

We at GCG Asia Review  are hoping that you have gained the necessary insights from this article in order to enhance your cyber security measures.

Visit this official GCG website regularly for latest updates on scams, fraud and more helpful information.

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GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo Breaks Down How FinTech Can Help Your Small Business Succeed

FinTech is a form of service that leverages technology, software as well as hardware, applied to aid financial services. FinTech is transforming the financial sector all over the world. Financial technology is often more efficient, unobtrusive, less expensive and better performing than traditional financial services. FinTech is transforming payments and payments processing with frictionless transactions–opening new doors for global remittances; boosting the efficiency of financial institutions; streamlining business processes with digitisation; broadening access to financial services for the unbanked.

GCG Asia’s fintech expert Dato Josh Choo predicts that FinTech will play an important role in every aspect of our lives in the future–from how we buy products and services to how we invest and how we manage and store our money. “FinTech is a term that describes the use of innovative technology in financial services to increase user experiences, improve the regulatory environment as well as increase efficiency across all departments in the financial industry,” GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo says. FinTech is a blend of diverse techniques such as FinComputer software, blockchain technology, Internet of Things and cyber security. All this has been combined with modern communication methods such as social media and blogging which has allowed FinTech to keep up with both the latest trends and techniques in development.

“While FinTech companies have brought to the forefront innovative FinTech solutions to real-world issues, a majority of these FinTech companies are not providing broad-reaching financial products. Not all FinTech providers target small/medium-sized enterprises (SME) or non-profits, and not all focus solely on increasing their customers’ revenue for current purposes but also tend to focus on innovation in customer experience and enhancing business operations,” says GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo. He explains that while some FinTech companies help SMEs and non-profits, they tend to operate on a much smaller scale than the larger FinTech companies and thus, the FinTech industry is going through some changes. “Not only are the giants’ starting to take notice of the little start-ups, but the ventures are also beginning to collaborate to drive innovation and become more than just one-dimensional providers. This collaboration is providing a broader variety of financial products and services. Instead of focusing on large enterprise customers, these FinTech companies are now targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and non-profits as well,” explains GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo. 

GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo notes that small businesses are now embracing FinTech as they look to integrate digital procedures, secure processing, payment solutions and network support. Today’s FinTech revolution is a boon for businesses, and particularly those that don’t have access to traditional banking services. Small businesses need FinTech to compete with larger businesses in the marketplace and attract customers and leads for future marketing campaigns. While FinTech has long been used by big businesses, the evolution of the sector over recent years has seen applications such as Beam, Square, Skip and PayPal become prevalent in small businesses. “Small businesses are seeing financial products as a competitive advantage at a time when demand for FinTech products is seen to be increasing across companies of all sizes and industry sectors,” explains GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo.

FinTech is no longer just for big banks and mainstream companies. Start-ups and smaller competitors in a variety of industries are jumping on the wave of innovation with FinTech. The FinTech trend is set to continue to grow and thrive with more people and companies joining our ever-growing FinTech lists. With new FinTech start-ups cropping up almost weekly, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the opportunities available. FinTech has become an indispensable part of just about every business.

“FinTech is not a magic bullet and shouldn’t be treated as such. A management style that emphasizes a solid foundation, onboarding customer effort leading to exponential growth and continual data harvesting and analysis is essential if you want your FinTech start-up to succeed,” GCG Asia’s Dato Choo says. 

Small businesses need access to the information necessary to optimize their activities. FinTech is a great way to facilitate this access. From internet-based financial portals to mobile banking apps, FinTech has made a huge impact on every aspect of how small businesses operate today.

Small businesses are the heartbeat of local economies. Not always the biggest, but often the most important in terms of driving employment and community spirit. The FinTech sector is increasingly becoming aware of this important role played by SMEs. This is being reflected in new services and offerings designed to help small businesses thrive. Here are just three examples that GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo thinks show how Fintech can help support small businesses and local economies.

1. Lending and funding

FinTech corporations allow start-ups and small businesses to raise money with ease. FinTech is a new way of raising money for your start-up. Not just traditional banks or venture capital firms, but also angel investors, co-working spaces for start-ups, and many more have begun to participate in financing start-ups. FinTech is a type of technology designed to increase the speed at which new money is accessible via crowd-funding, loans, or advances towards a project. FinTech can vary in terms of its service but an important characteristic is the transparency it provides. In contrast to traditional loans or deposits which are subject, according to GCG Asia Dato Josh Choo, a start-up may be too small or just spending too much time on paperwork, which is how FinTech companies can come to the rescue. These companies have provided so many valuable services that are now available to small businesses around the globe.

2. Payments just became easier

Payment gateway solutions have become an essential part of any business that operates globally. Payment gateways simplify the way companies collect funds from their customers for their commercial and personal activities. They enable smaller companies to handle multiple payment card numbers for customers, allowing them to process a diverse range of financial transactions in a simplified manner. Payment gateways work by collecting information from your customers about their payment methods and placing the proper information on a single interface.

That means your website becomes a gateway for all your customers wishing to make payments easily using secure digital methods such as e-wallets and mobile payments. GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo recommended that your business should also be ready to accept other forms of digital payments such as wallet payments and mobile payments. The use of FinTech tools will help you in setting up these systems. If you run an offline small business, then the latest FinTech tools can help you get rid of old and bulky payment machines. FinTech is a relatively new term that refers to the use of innovative new solutions and techniques leveraging technology and digital solutions to solve problems using the blockchain network.

3. Connecting with stakeholders

FinTech generally refers to the use of financial technologies such as mobile payments, loyalty programs, or online bill paying to improve a company’s bottom line. Among many other things, FinTech helps consumers get access to better products and services than what they get from brick-and-mortar stores. It does this by using data and analytics to inform customers about the best options available for them. The FinTech revolution has changed the way that companies interact with their stakeholders, but it isn’t just companies that are benefiting from FinTech. Consumers are too. Small businesses don’t always realize how useful it is to ask their peers for feedback or to engage with their customers in new ways. While FinTech is helping small businesses grow globally, GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo tells us that streamlining communication, reducing costs and increasing accessibility to consumers all around the world is now possible.

“Technology can be an important part of every small business; it can be used for better customer service, it can be used for cross-selling, and it can be used to help the business grow faster. However, just like everything else in life, there are two sides to technology. On one side, you have FinTech — applications that help entrepreneurs and small businesses with their finances. On the other side, you have traditional banking that offer commercial services that come at a higher cost. Keep in mind both pros and cons of each,” advises GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo.

In sum, GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo concluded that FinTech has opened a whole new world of opportunities for small businesses. They can now offer more and better services at a reduced price. “But, if you want to succeed in your business, you must embrace technology and stay up to date with the latest FinTech developments. It is one thing that many businesses struggle with and can make it hard for your business to grow or stay competitive, something which not many people take into consideration,” said GCG Asia’s Dato Josh Choo.

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2020 CGG ASIA Review: COVID-19’s Impact on Fintech Industries

2020 for GCG ASIA was a rough one. GCG Asia’s 2020 study takes a deep look into how the economic sector and Fintech industries in Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia have been affected in 2020. GCG Asia’s 2020 findings note that just like the entire global economy, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia, which play major roles in the Fintech industry in South-East Asia are no different and have also been greatly affected by COVID-19.

The pandemic commonly known as coronavirus that has completely changed the lives of many people both in good and bad ways. The first case of COVID was discovered in a food market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then it has been a complete roller coaster of the entire globe fighting against the pandemic–from governments trying to control the numbers of covid cases to global lockdowns, and after the loss of many lives and the struggle to prevent this disease from prevailing, a vaccine has now been made available. Read more for GCG Asia’s 2020 findings of the pandemic’s impact.

GCG Asia Reviews 2020’s Impact on Fintech Industries 

The Fintech sector has grown rapidly in Asia but it’s growth prospects wasn’t immune to the global meltdown caused by the pandemic. However, certain sectors within Fintech fared better than others. One study showed that firms digital asset exchanges, payments, savings, and wealth management reported growth while digital lending slumped while also suffering outstanding loan defaults.

In this article, GCG Asia in 2020 explores a few ways Asian Fintech was affected by COVID-19.

1. Shrinking Investor Funds

According to GCG Asia’s 2020 research, the hit of the global pandemic has caused a great reduction in investor capital for the Fintech industry in Asia. One of the most important aspects of this and any industry is the availability of capital. The lack of capital or little thereof, would leave a business no choice but to shut down due to the lack of funding and this definitely applies to the Fintech industry as well.

GCG Asia’s 2020 study noted that in small organisations lack funding, that means they are forced to close and the playing field would now belong to the larger organisations that have access to greater resources.
The reason most of these small organisations are currently struggling is because, as we mentioned earlier, COVID-19 wreaked havoc in the economy of the globe. Initially, because there was really no way to control the pandemic, there was no telling when small organisations would be able to start in the Fintech industry.

GCG Asia’s 2020 study noted that however, now that there is a way for the global disease to be cured makes it a good opportunity for these small startups to be able to have the driving power to continue from where they left off. What this means is that the small organisations that did not end up closing will now have the opportunity to keep driving their companies towards thriving in the Fintech industry.

2. Growth of Online Services and Payments

GCG Asia’s 2020 impact study notes that the global pandemic definitely accelerated the use of online services. This is because as soon as the virus hit nations, everyone was not only looking for a way to contain it but also practising preventive measures to avoid further spread of the virus. This made the government bodies introduce lockdowns. Individuals were only allowed to leave their homes in search of food and in the case of emergencies.

GCG Asia’s 2020 research noted there were also many other individuals on a global scale who could not leave the house due to the fear they had in catching this deadly virus. This led to the rise of many companies making the leap to providing online services for better customer service such as grocery shopping and delivery, and an increase in the use of mobile applications such as zoom that is used to conduct work meetings and educate the children who were learning from home with access to such facilities.

GCG Asia’s 2020 research found that the use of e-wallets increased on a global scale as well because it was safer to use cashless payments than hard cash. This definitely made many individuals adjust to the digital world and has become the new normal which can only be a good thing for the Fintech industry.

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3. Traditional Banking Meets Fintech

In 2020, GCG Asia noticed that traditional legacy banks were hit badly across the globe, caused by the global financial crisis and virus outbreak. In Singapore and Asia as well as many other countries the economy was affected due to the reduction in revenue. This has resulted in many banks deciding to go into business with and merge with the Fintech industry by either acquiring or expanding into Fintech subsidiaries.

GCG Asia’s 2020 study noted the trend that traditional banks inserting themselves in the digital wave is an opportunity for them to access customers and give them small loans which would be a stepping stone for them to get major firms in this industry. For the banks that already have partnerships with some of these firms, it gives them access to a greater number of consumers digitally which can only increase in the new post-pandemic world.

4. Changing Business Models and Adaptation

According to GCG Asia’s 2020 research, many Fintech firms had to adapt their business models in response to the pandemic by implementing measures such as reducing fees, changing qualification criteria, and easing payment requirements. Many launched new products and value-added services, such as offering information, data and increased automation. “Another interesting thing we found out in our GCG Asia 2020 impact research is that many firms are now having to pay more attention to fraud and take enhanced security measures as a response to business conditions under the pandemic,” says Maggie Chew, GCG Asia’s 2020 study researcher in Singapore. These mean that there are increases in operational costs across the board for services like data storage and onboarding.

Financial regulators see rising risks in the FinTech market in light of COVID-19, particularly concerning cybersecurity and operational risks, as well as consumer protection issues such as fraud and scams, Chew added, citing GCG Asia’s 2020 review findings.

COVID-19 has also caused internal challenges for regulators in their approach to FinTech.
“The introduction of social distancing and lockdown measures, together with restricted access to information and technology, has made supervisory activities such as on-site inspections of FinTech providers difficult or impossible,” added Chew, GCG Asia’s 2020 review researcher.

GCG Asia’s 2020 review surveyed regional regulators and found that 37% say they have taken at least one regulatory measure specifically targeting FinTech sectors or activities. Especially in emerging markets like Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, these were directed at digital banking payments and remittances, such as removing transaction fees and raising transaction thresholds. GCG Asia also noted that regulators loosened forex trading regulations.

Forex Trading Definition, Pros and Cons, and How You Can Start Investing

Discover Forex Trading with Expert Guidance From GCG Asia Analysts

Forex, otherwise known as foreign exchange, FX or cash exchanging, is a decentralized worldwide market where every one of the world’s monetary standards gets bought and sold. The forex market is the biggest, most liquid market on the planet with a normal day by day exchanging volume surpassing USD$5 trillion. If you’re looking to get started in trading in forex, this article is here to get you started. In this article, the GCG Asia Forex Trading team explains how you may track down opportunities in currency exchanging options in the changing market. 

First, what is forex? How is it determined? The forex exchange rate between the two currencies is based on supply and demand which determine the amount of currency you will get. The foreign exchange market is a worldwide commercial hub that is open 24 hours every day Monday through Friday. All forex exchanging happens Over the Counter (OTC), which means there’s no actual physical place (as there is for stocks or equities), as OTC transactions occur directly between two parties.

GCG Asia Malaysia and Singapore forex trading teams explain that exchange rates fluctuate continuously depending on environmental factors varying from geopolitics to environmental disasters. These fluctuations are closely monitored because of their potentially huge effect on businesses. For example, if someone values 1 Malaysian Ringgit at 0.32 Singapore Dollars on Thursday, but come Friday, the Malaysian Ringgit is valued at 0.33 Singapore Dollars. This does not seem like much of a difference for the average individual but imagine being a Singaporean multi-million dollar company having to pay hundreds of employees in Malaysia. This minor change can pile up and cost the company a big amount of revenue if the currency is not traded at the right time.


While a great deal of foreign exchange is used for functional purposes, most trades are done with the aim of gaining profit. However, forex trading can be unpredictable. As GCG Asia CEO Eddy Teow explains, “It is this instability that can make forex so appealing to brokers: achieving a possibility of high gains, while additionally expanding the risk. High risk, high reward, as the saying goes.”

A larger part of the exchange in the forex market happens between institutional traders, for example, individuals who work for banks, corporations, and hedge funds. These parties don’t mean to take actual ownership of the monetary forms themselves; they may be predicting the future exchange rate variances with educated guesses to make a gain. For instance, a broker may purchase Malaysian Ringgit and sell Singaporean Dollars if the broker thought that the Ringgit will gain value in the market and Singaporean Dollar will continue to dip. 


Advantages and Disadvantages of Forex Trading as an Investment  

Although forex trading seems exciting and profitable, GCG Asia experts caution that it can turn around on you very quickly, turning profit into accumulated losses. As a GCG Asia report once stated: “when you purchase and sell currencies through foreign exchanges, you’re wagering on how various nations’ currencies rates will change against each other. All else equivalent, on the off chance that you buy a currency that winds up strengthening in rates against the currency it’s concerned with, you benefit. On the off chance that its rate diminishes you incur shortfalls.”

All trading instruments and markets have their advantages and disadvantages which you should know before taking the leap into making a trade or investment. Here are some of forex’s trading pros and cons:


  • Cost-effective: this means that in the spot market, typically there are no clearing charges, no exchange expenses, no administration burdens, no business expenses, and no commissions. “Brokers make their yields from the bids which are extremely straightforward to clients,” GCG Singapore analyst Ben Foo explains.
  • Decentralized: the foreign exchange market is estimated to be one of the largest markets in the world worth more than USD$5 trillion in trades. There are numerous individuals trading each day which means extreme losses are somewhat hard to come by.
  • User-Friendly: the forex market is easily accessible for anyone with limited capital and low operation costs, while also eliminating middlemen which allows direct access to the market for everyone.


  • Risk of scams: One of the disadvantages of forex is the high possibility of getting scammed by brokers that are not reliable and untrustworthy. The prevalence of unreliable scam brokerages is one of the reasons GCG Asia is developing the Scam Finder software to find and report scams in forex trading.
  • Low transparency: low transparency in access to real-time data is a disadvantage for newcomers. This makes it harder for non-experienced individuals to enter the market, and easier for brokers to vary their prices.
  • Country Risk: naturally, an investor should evaluate the market before entering it. Meaning that the investor must look into the environmental stability of whichever country’s forex they want to invest in. For example, a country may be facing political turmoil which can lead to a steep devaluation of the currency. That is why GCG Asia’s experts recommend newcomers to always invest in the world’s major currencies such as the USD, the Japanese yen or Pound sterling, rather than riskier third world currencies which might be more volatile, thus lowering your chances of getting a decent return on investment.


Types of Forex Trades

Due to the size of the market, the market is split up into three types of forex markets where a specific type of currency trading takes place. These are:   

  1. The Spot Market: GCG Singapore’s Ben Foo explains that “The spot market makes up about 40% of the all-out exchange, and this is the place where you will discover most retail brokers.” The spot market is also the biggest forex market and is the place where every day traders use to exchange currencies. The word ‘spot’ comes from the ‘on the spot’ where the currency is purchased or sold at that moment. During this process, the cost is determined by the interest or supply of the currency. In the spot market, genuine currencies are exchanged, and when an agreement is agreed upon, it is known as a “spot bargain”.
  2. The Forward Market: In the forward market, currencies are not sold. Rather, contracts for commodities and currencies are purchased and sold over-the-counter between two parties. The terms and agreements are controlled by those parties. 
  3. The Futures Market: The forex futures market is the place where future agreements are purchased or sold, to exchange a pre-defined measure of currency at an agreed-upon cost, at a set date later on. In the futures market, contracts are done depending on the agreement’s expiration date.  


How to Start Trading 

GCG Asia Forex Trading experts advise investors to always be aware when it comes to forex trading to avoid any scam or price manipulation in the forex market. GCG Asia also recommends always use regulated or government-certified forex trading brokerages rather than black markets that promise unrealistically low fees or other sweeteners to lure investors. GCG Asia advises their clients to always go a step further and verify that brokers are reputable, qualified and certified to get the best out of your trades.

GCG CEO and founder Eddy Teow explains that forex trading for all its volatility does have one advantage over trading in equities. “Forex trading is focused and limited. There’s simply a limited number of currencies in the world. While newcomers can be overwhelmed by the numerous stocks in the world that are available to buy and sell, this doesn’t happen in forex.”

On the other hand, GCG Asia experts would recommend forex trading for several reasons. First, if you are looking for high liquidity then forex is the way to go. The forex market is open 24 hours daily from Monday to Friday, which makes it a lot easier to trade with foreign currencies in real-time. This means there’s ample opportunities to make profits at any time of day, especially using automated trading orders, you can set it and forget it! Trading in forex is also a great way to diversify your portfolio. 

However, the forex market is also very volatile. This means there is considerable risk for newcomers to forex trading especially if you don’t have a proper strategy. GCG Asia experts advise those who are interested in getting into forex to assess your risk tolerance and time horizon (whether it’s hours or days or weeks), just like any investor would do before making any investment. “Evaluating your risk appetite, thinking of your strategy etc, all these elements are an important part of any trade and investment, whether your focus is on short- or long-term gains,” says GCG Asia CEO Eddy Teow. 

Finally, there exists many tools and software that may help you in investing in forex. GCG Asia highly recommends that you train and learn more on using any of these tools before diving into the world of currency trading. Not only that, seeing as how geopolitics and environmental events directly affect the forex market, GCG Malaysia analysts suggest following the latest news from multiple news sources every day in order to keep up to date. You could also follow brokers and investors that have experience in the field to gain more knowledge from their experiences in forex.

The Top 10 e-wallets in Malaysia According to GCG Asia's Experts - GCG Asia website

The Top 10 E-Wallets in Malaysia According to GCG Asia’s Experts

The number of digital consumers in South East Asia are set to rise as the global pandemic accelerates adoption of online services. According to a GCG Asia analyst report, around 70 percent of South East Asian consumers will go digital with a total of 310 million expected by 2025. Moreover, more and more consumers prefer to use e-wallets. This shows the steady rise of e-wallet adoption in the region is a booming sector that is set to upend traditional banking services.

An e-wallet is basically a digital wallet that can be used to make transactions through a computer or smartphone. An e-wallet facilitates online payment transactions that is quickly becoming the payment method of choice around the world. E-wallets use software to store personal information and secures this information by encrypting the data. For an individual to have this type of digital wallet account, they would have to install the particular software required. Once the person has installed the software or the app they are able to access the services and make a transaction as they desire.

According to GCG Asia Malaysia-based experts, Malaysians are way ahead of other countries in Southeast Asia when it comes to using e-wallets. The competition is rife. There are more than 50 e-wallets in the country and options are growing each day occupying roughly 9% of Malaysia’s fintech space. According to GCG Asia analyst report, Malaysian E-wallet providers recently got a boost during the pandemic with the Malaysian government allocating a total of RM750 million to promote the usage of e-wallets which benefits 15 million Malaysian users. With this boost towards safe, a contact-free payment experience and to boost consumer spending, e-wallet usage is set to rise even more.

With the many choices of digital wallets available, GCG Asia takes a look at a few of the most prominent e-wallets in Malaysia to choose from.


PayPal logo - GCG Asia Website

Paypal is a globally renowned digital wallet that’s no stranger to Malaysians who buy international goods and services. To be able to use this particular service, an individual would have to install the Paypal application and connect their card or cards to the software thus making it easier for them to make payments or carry out a transaction. To complete the set up an individual needs an email account and once paypal verifies that the account owner is authentic and their information matches all the other pieces of information given, the account is set up and the consumer can either use it to buy or sell goods.

A huge advantage of this service is that an individual is able to send money to their close friends and family without requiring their bank account details or lining up at a bank to forward the money. Instead just by the click of a button the service is provided. The only disadvantage of this application software would be that a person would have to own a paypal account in order for them to receive money which would not really be a disadvantage but a form of motivation in order for them to download the application and enjoy the services available to make their lives easier. Not only will you be able to manage your money and see all your transactions but the security set up is top tier and ensures that your funds are safe and guarded.


Setel logo - GCG Asia Website

Setel has been designed to make it easier and safer for an individual to pay for fuel from the comfort of their own car. According to GCG Asia analysts this is a Malaysian first, an innovative solution offered by Petronas. This is a great technology because it definitely saves time and as we all know time is the most valuable thing we have. Instead of queuing up to pay for fuel, all you need to do is download the application and with the touch of a button your transaction is carried out. Another advantage is that you earn rewards which can help you top up your fuel if you are short on cash depending on how many rewards you have earned or collected and lastly this service is available in most countries across over seven hundred petronas stations.


Alipay logo - GCG Asia Website

Alipay is one of the most used e-wallets around the world with over 1 billion users . Its main market is obviously in China, whose visitors are able to use it here in Malaysia to pay at many merchants making Alipay an added convenience for Chinese shoppers. This is a good form of e-wallet because not many services based in China are usually available on a global scale hence this being a complete game changer. To top it off it is secure so you do not have to worry about your funds not being safe.


Maybank MAE logo - GCG Asia Website

Mae is the latest offering from the largest Malaysian bank Maybank. It is a Malaysian banking digital wallet that comes bundled together with services such as a virtual card and budgeting tools. The best thing about this form of online payment is that it is built not only to make transactions easier for individuals but to also encourage them to budget and save. In other words, it does not only make your life easier but also encourages you to improve your life through saving.


Boost logo - GCG Asia Website

Boost is a Malaysian e-wallet with over 7 million users who use it for everything from shopping online to getting the bill at a restaurant to buying groceries. The wallet also offers other functionalities such as online payments, to contribute to other causes in the community, to pay for parking and many more. Rewards are given for every point earned enabling one to enjoy the many perks of promotions.


Wise logo - GCG Asia Website

This is another great application that facilitates global money transfers with low fees. GCG Asia experts explain that though designed for travellers and expats in Malaysia, the service allows anyone to send money from Malaysia to over 70 countries using real exchange rates and transparent fees. This London-based payments provider launched its service in Malaysia in 2019 and is open to all foreigners and locals.


Touch and Go logo - GCG Asia Website

Touch n Go wallets were originally cards used at Malaysian toll gates however it is now available as a digital wallet. An individual is able to monitor how much money they have using the application, use the application as a payment method for a broad range of services as well as get discounts depending on how much you use the app as rewards are earned and promotions given.


BigPay logo - GCG Asia Website

This form of digital wallet by low-cost carrier Air Asia has been a great breakthrough because it is able to give its services not only online but also in a physical form through a debit and card . It has been especially created with its own card which makes it easier for an individual to use the card in case they are in a location where the form of an e-wallet payment is unavailable, such as during overseas travel.

9. GRAB Pay

GrabPay logo - GCG Asia Website

Grabpay is no stranger to the Malaysian user, being the payments solution attached to the Grab app. To top it off one is able to earn rewards and use these rewards to get discounts not only for rides booked on Grab, but also other forms of transactions such as buying food and for payments at physical stores and merchants. It can also be used for prepaid services and to send money to your family and friends.


WeChat logo - GCG Asia Website

WeChat is the Chinese super app that expanded its e-wallet capabilities to Malaysia in 2019. With a link to your Malaysian debit card, your WeChat account allows you to start spending and sending money to your WeChat contacts, no doubt a popular and convenient service for the sizeable 20 million Malaysian WeChat users. According to GCG Asia Malaysia experts, with that huge number of users, it is no surprise that Tencent selected Malaysia as the first country outside of China to expand WeChat Pay’s services.