Several companies have strongly leapt into the financial tech domains this year, following the establishment of a regulatory guideline and the Fintech Unit by Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) back in 2017.
The combination of these two saw Brunei being bombarded with digital payment solutions, with firms and startups moving sharply to transform Brunei to become cashless and cardless.
Some of these solutions were also being adopted at a tremendous rate – but still more work to be done if Brunei wants to be on par with neighbouring countries like Singapore.
A number of these fintech solutions had made it to The Bruneian headlines. Below are some of the notable ones.
BIBD QuickPay: the fastest mobile payment so far
QuickPay is a digital payment solution introduced by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) this year to replace its E-Tunai service.
The new service which was integrated into BIBD’s mobile banking app allows customers to scan QR codes displayed over the counter, where they will be prompted to input the amount they need to pay and confirm with the merchant on the spot.
If these steps are done correctly, both the consumer and the merchant will be instantly notified of the transactions via email and short messaging services (SMS).
Despite being simpler and cost-effective than the e-Tunai which require merchants to install tablets on their counters, some customers still face problems as they are required to be online when making transactions via QuickPay.
In addressing such issue, BIBD is now working on a newer payment system – a contactless one that does not require customers to be connected to the internet which service will be introduced next year.
Regardless, QuickPay was one of the fintech solutions introduced in Brunei with the highest adoption rate this year.
Progresif PAY: a cashless exclusive for Progresif users
Progresif PAY is an e-wallet service developed by Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd through a partnership with BIBD.
It is a mobile wallet application exclusive only to Progresif phone line users aimed to address market segments that could open any bank accounts in Brunei but still want to have the convenience of digital payment solutions.
Progresif PAY allows users to store up to $3,000 to pay their bills and transfer monies to friends and family members. Users are also entitled to a virtual Mastercard which can be used for a safer online transaction.
Despite having similarities to BIBD’s mobile banking, Progresif PAY is actually not a competitor but rather, an extension to the Islamic bank’s digital services.
BruPay: an inclusive mobile wallet for all bank users
BruPay is an e-wallet platform that integrates several financial institutions, eliminating the need to open specific bank accounts just to get access to digital financial solutions.
Transactions on BruPay can be made directly to a merchant’s profile using the QR codes provided, or by keying in the recipient’s phone number.
Its selling point is that users would not have to pay for any transaction fees whenever they purchase or transfer monies from one BruPay user to another but they will be charged whenever they withdraw monies out of the platform.
At the interim, BruPay had already integrated Baiduri Bank and BIBD to its platform and that means users can straight away deposit monies from their bank accounts via the two banks.
WasapPay: one stop solution for social media vendors
WasapPay is an online payment solution directed to online sellers by weblinks and QR codes to be displayed in their social media accounts for customers to click and pay.
Clicking on the links or scanning the QR codes would prompt customers to open a WasapPay App on their mobile devices, where they can also send WhatsApp messages to merchants aside from making payments.
This online payment facility was developed by TechBru Solutions, who had managed to bring this business idea to compete at this year’s Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in China.
While these are the four fintech solutions that seemed to have matured over the year, there were also notable ideas pitched by startups in several business bootcamps held this year.
The interesting ones include a solution that connects businesses to investors and also another that addressed the management of Zakat and its payments, emulating systems adapted by Malaysia and Indonesia.
Their ideas however have yet to come to fruition, as more groundworks need to completed before they can really manifest their plans into something that is more practical to Brunei.
Fintech might still be a new field to the sultanate, and Brunei might still be trailing behind its neighbours who had progressed tremendously over the year. Nevertheless, it is always better to start late than never.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN