As competition in the mobile wallet sector is heating up with new operators, big names in the industry continue to step up their game in the race for dominance.
In September, the market welcomed a new player in Vingroup’s VinID e-wallet. The move followed VinID’s acquisition of e-wallet platform MonPay in May. Leveraging the strong foundation from giant Vingroup, VinID is eager to grab a bigger slice of the lucrative market.
In June, e-wallet Vimo also merged with payment processor mPOS and was rebranded as NextPay. The startup has kicked off a $30 million fundraising round and an ambitious growth plan to win 50 per cent of the market by 2023.
E-commerce operator Lazada is also mulling the launch of an e-wallet in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Go-Viet, a subsidiary of Go-Jek, is accelerating recruitment for leadership positions to handle its upcoming launch of Go-Pay in Vietnam. However, Go-Viet has not yet had the license for the provision of payment intermediary services in the country.
The new e-wallet operators will be locked into a “bloodbath” battle to gain market share from rivals. According to data by the Payment Department of the State Bank of Vietnam, Payoo, MoMo, SenPay, Moca, and AirPay were the five largest e-wallets in Vietnam by account balance as of August 2019, making up more than 80 per cent of the country’s total market balance.
Among them, Momo is the veteran that comes to mind first when e-wallets are mentioned for its long subsistence and large user base. The company has also turned towards improving the smartisation and automation of services. In January, Momo raised $100 million in its Series C funding round from Warburg Pincus. Standard Chartered also led a $28 million round in Momo in 2016 while Goldman Sachs invested $5.8 million back in 2013.
Moca, in the strategic partnership with Grab, has been driving its business towards explosive growth over the year. With this partnership, Moca has expanded the availability of its payments services more quickly and efficiently across the Grab platform and also Vietnam thanks to the huge advantage of the Grab ecosystem, which includes a wide range of daily essential services, overwhelming other players in terms of frequency of use, and a large base of Grab users and partners.
Zalo, Vietnam’s most popular free messaging app, has also jumped on the bandwagon by launching the ZaloPay digital wallet. ZaloPay, developed by VNG Corporation, gained a competitive edge by taking advantage of Zalo’s strong brand and database of customers.
Another player ViettelPay, backed by telecom giant Viettel and MBBank, has also witnessed strong growth in Vietnam. Meanwhile, AirPay is thriving in the market, following the acquisition of food delivery app Foody.
Digital payment is becoming increasingly popular in Vietnam – yet 90 per cent of transactions by volume are carried out using cash. Thus, the real competition is how these e-wallet players move people away from cash.
Moca, for example, has made a smart move by teaming up with Grab. As a result, Moca’s popularity is growing faster than other competitors. In the past year, it has increased the number of its users by six times. In the first half of 2019, Moca’s total payment volume on the Grab app grew by 150 per cent, while its monthly active users also grew by more than 121 per cent. In addition, Moca unveiled that 42 per cent of all transactions on the Grab platform are cashless.
It is clear that Moca has used a unique strategy to build scale. By joining forces with Grab, Moca has done a good job of tying itself in with the daily lives of Vietnamese consumers. In Vietnam, Grab has been transforming itself into a provider of multiple on-demand services such as ride-hailing, food delivery, and express delivery, among others, and serving the everyday needs of one in every four Vietnamese people so far. Therefore, Moca can tap into a growing ecosystem of Grab, which provides a great number of essential use cases to further accelerate its growth.
According to the representative of Moca, fintech companies should focus on expanding their cashless ecosystem to cover as many essential transactions in daily life as possible. Also, fintech firms should upgrade their technology and products to better serve customers. When customers can enjoy the convenience and simple pleasures of cashless payment, they will be eager to adopt modern payment methods in their everyday transactions.
This view fits Moca’s strategy to partner with Grab to expand its cashless ecosystem so far. Indeed, this strategy has leveraged Moca to reach a higher level compared competitors who have to spend more time and resources to build their own ecosystem with lower chances of success.
In light of this strategy and rapid growth, Moca has been granted the Outstanding Fintech Award 2019 by the International Data Group (IDG) and the Vietnam Banks Association on November 28. Moca also becomes the first fintech company in Vietnam to receive this prestigious award for three consecutive years.