How Boost Transformed From A Homegrown eWallet To A Regional Full Spectrum Fintech Brand
By Digital News Asia August 22, 2023
- One of few operating payment, merchant, & micro-financing verticals
- MSMEs can seamlessly & affordably digitalise their business, expand reach
Last year, in April 2022, Malaysia’s financial services landscape experienced a seismic shift when the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), announced five successful digital bank licence applicants. The approval of the digital bank licences is a ground-breaking development that marked a national movement towards accelerating fintech innovations to drive greater financial inclusion, which is also in line with the wider global trend.
At the top of the soon-to-be digital bank list, and largely considered as a frontrunner in the space, is Boost, the fintech arm of Axiata. A brand well known by most Malaysians as one of the earliest local drivers for digital payments and the cashless society agenda. It is widely regarded as one of the big three that’s dominating the eWallet space.
That legacy still lingers to this day, as some might have been surprised as to how an eWallet became one of the very few soon-to-be pioneers of the digital banking industry in Malaysia. However, unbeknownst to some, Boost has long gone far beyond just payments.
Today, Boost has evolved into a regional full spectrum fintech leader in Southeast Asia, that’s equipped with a holistic fintech ecosystem. Through its all-in-one fintech app, merchant solutions, AI-based micro-financing business, and cross-border payments, Boost is offering a suite of digital financial solutions end-to-end, to both users and merchants. In fact, Boost has become one of the only fintech players operating payment, merchant, and micro-financing business verticals at scale in Malaysia.
With Boost’s upcoming digital bank on the horizon, let’s dive deeper into its journey so far, and how it became an unstoppable fintech trailblazer that it is today.
The Origin of Boost
Over five years ago, in 2017, Boost had its humble beginnings by being one of the first local eWallet providers that popularised QR code payments in Malaysia. With a strong vision to serve the underserved by helping users go cashless, and bringing micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) into the fold of the digital economy, Boost paved the way for greater digital adoption.
As the digital demand of its users continues to grow, Boost’s eWallet also expanded, to become an all-in-one fintech app that simplifies Malaysians’ daily life. From offline cashless payments to bill management, online transactions, loyalty rewards, and so much more, Malaysians can conveniently settle all their financial needs on the Boost app.
The same goes for its merchants, especially MSMEs, which the majority at that time were still at the basic digitalisation stage, and facing challenges to adopt digital technologies, due to gaps in infrastructure, financing, and knowledge. Through Boost’s merchant solutions, MSMEs can seamlessly and affordably digitalise their business, expand their reach, optimise their cashflow, gain business insights, and more. This was especially key during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Boost’s merchant solutions help MSMEs futureproof their business – from barely surviving, to thriving.
Fast Forward to Boost’s Fintech Frontier
Having established a trusted household name amongst Malaysians, Boost then became the official brand that consolidated and housed, the previously segmented fintech services across Axiata Digital, under one roof. It included the AI-based micro-financing business and cross-border payment business. This watershed development unlocked new potential for Boost to expand its already comprehensive reach and integrate its various technology, for more simplified products and services - resulting in the creation of its fintech ecosystem.
Following that consolidation, Boost then solidified its presence as a serious contender in the industry as a full spectrum fintech player by refreshing its brand. After successfully igniting confidence in Malaysians adopting digital financial solutions for over five years, the refreshed brand reflects its relentless ambition to break boundaries and empower its customers.
Since then, it has continued to build an impressive track record of serving the underserved at scale. As of early 2023, Boost continues to chart strong growth. Boost’s overall revenue increased significantly by 90.1% YoY, whereas its Gross Transactional Value (GTV) reached RM1.5 billion. For its ecosystem, Boost’s all-in-one fintech app users grew to over 10 million in Malaysia, while its merchant touchpoints reached more than 600,000 across Malaysia and Indonesia. Its cross-border payments have also attracted over 100 global digital partners across countries in Southeast Asia.
Most importantly, Boost’s AI-based micro-financing business has also been steadily growing, with over RM3 billion worth of financing disbursed across Malaysia and Indonesia since inception. With its proven business model and holistic fintech ecosystem, Boost has successfully taken up the mantle of addressing the financing needs of thin-file customers. Through Boost, mom-and-pop shops, roadside stalls, as well as other micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), can gain access to the financing that they need, from as low as RM1,000 up to RM100,000, through a simple 5-minute digital application journey, with fund disbursement within 48 hours upon approval.
The Venture into Digital Banking
Boost’s evolution into a full spectrum fintech brand came full circle after it secured the digital bank licence from BNM. Now equipped with a fully built fintech ecosystem, refreshed brand, and track record of excellence, Boost stands ready to pave the way for the next great frontier of the fintech industry – unlocking new innovations and reimagining financial services through the upcoming digital bank.
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