KUALA LUMPUR (June 17): Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo says the entry of UK financial technology (fintech) firm TransferWise into the Malaysian market will help improve financial inclusion and support the country's balanced economic growth.
Gobind, in a statement today, reiterated the government's commitment to developing progressive and practical fintech policies to meet the increasingly sophisticated and demanding needs of consumers and businesses alike.
"I am delighted to welcome TransferWise, a market-leading fintech company, into Malaysia... With an online banking penetration rate of over 85% as well as high smartphone adoption, Malaysia is well poised to become an important hub for fintechs in the region.
"The development of efficient, secure and cost-effective payment systems, such as those provided by TransferWise, will not only offer customers greater choice, but will also help improve financial inclusion by providing access to affordable financial services for all economic sectors and segments of society, thereby supporting balanced economic growth," he said in the statement.
Malaysia is the fourth Asian country TransferWise can remit money both to and from — after Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. The fintech firm, which has obtained a remittance licence from Bank Negara Malaysia, will launch remittances from Malaysia this year as currently customers can only send to but not from Malaysia.
With the launch of this licence, TransferWise customers will soon be able to move money from Malaysia to 71 countries at the real, mid-market exchange rate (i.e. the rate found on Google or Reuters) without the hidden exchange rate mark-ups charged by banks and other remittance providers.
"Getting a Malaysia licence was a priority for us because of the high demand we've seen from customers in Malaysia, through requests to use the product. We are excited about the new licence as it allows us to bring to market a product that will benefit locals who have to move money abroad — for example, to fund their children's overseas studies — as well as expats working in Malaysia," said TransferWise head of Asia-Pacific expansion Venkatesh Saha.
"Bank Negara Malaysia has shown its commitment to greater competition and innovation in the financial industry through growing the fintech sector. This progressive stance benefits Malaysian consumers. We will continue to work closely with BNM to bring other innovative products to Malaysia in the future — including our Borderless account, a multi-currency e-wallet that allows money to be sent, received and held in 49 currencies," he added.