Using Alipay’s blockchain technology integrated with Standard Charter Bank, Malaysia-based Valyou has been facilitating wallet-to-wallet remittances to their partner in Pakistan, Easypaisa, since the beginning of this year. This implementation applied the much-hyped technology earning Valyou the Future Technology Today Mention from the RemTECH Awards 2019 judging panel. Not only that, when pitted against the ten other finalists and voted upon by the International Money Transfer Conference community, Valyou garnered the most votes to take home the Industry Choice Award.
So what are the benefits?
Valyou has enjoyed a three-fold increase in transactions from February 2019 to June 2019 because of the improvement in services passed on to users by the technology. Valyou sites instant settlement, which increases cash-flow, and dramatic improvements in user security and privacy as drivers.
The instant settlement per customer transaction is made possible by Standard Charter Bank (SCB) issuing decentralized and digital assets that represent fiat currencies in their custody within the Alibaba blockchain network acting as anchors. Completely outside of SWIFT, SCB’s foreign exchange partner converts the currency and accounting is validated on chain. Each financial institution that joins the Alipay blockchain as a consortium, participates as a node, and immediately benefits from the liquidity, collection, and payout methods of the existing partners, and vice versa. This reduction in cost in adding new partners to expand their global network is one of the top reasons Valyou is most excited to participate as Malaysia is one of the top twenty sending remittance countries in the world. There are a lot of countries they’d like to integrate, and in their pitch video to the industry, welcoming other money transfer operators to join was their ultimate call to action.
How did Valyou arrive at this success?
Valyou is Malaysia’s first digital wallet for remittances launched in May 2016 by Telenor Group, one of the world’s major mobile operators, after the acquisition of Prabhu Money Transfer Group. Since their inception, Valyou has been single-mindedly focused on digitization of remittance channels used by their migrant population. According to Jasbir Kaur, Head of Product and Marketing, “The ambition is to create an end-to-end digitization of the remittance so that customers can benefit from it via reduction in cost and increased efficiency.”
Understanding deeply the barriers to digital remittances, Valyou has released a smattering of products catering to the different migrant needs. Their determined approach is reflected in their approach to the RemTECH Awards. They’ve submitted seven of them to the RemTECH Awards, three of them have won, and a total of four awards have been earned.
For example, to make sure the unbanked (majority of the migrant population) can be served, in particular in the rural areas, Valyou maintains over 2,000 merchants where users can top up or cash out their Valyou e-wallets bridging the brick and mortar with the digital model. This innovation won the End-User Experience category in the RemTECH 2018 Awards.
Not just PR
Accordingly, their customer base reflect garnering users migrants from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, India, and the Philippines (in that order). Furthermore, in the year and half of their birth, Valyou had to grown to reach over 19% of the migrant population. In addition to remittances, migrants can pay bills for all utilities in Malaysia, reload airtime minutes for all major Malaysian telcos, and international reloads in thirteen countries.
Their other RemTECH Award 2019 entries included partnering with Western Union and their more than 525,000 agent payout locations, which those using the Valyou wallet can send remittances to. They also developed an AI chatbot that can service customers in six languages (English, Indonesian, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Urdu and Vietnamese) beyond office hours.
Meeting the RemTECH Awards Mission
Outside of the bank, over $1 trillion in international money transfers are being facilitated by the remittance industry mostly between migrants, but increasingly expats and between businesses. They provide faster, cheaper, convenient, and, often times, more trusted methods to send money. However, 80% of money transfers are still occurring in cash, compliance requirements are increasing, and consumers have changing needs, while the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening.
The types of partnerships and improvements Valyou is executing, not just discussing, is why the International Money Transfer Conference (IMTC) launched the RemTECH Awards in 2017. The mission is to both celebrate the contributions of the innovators and ensure others in the industry knew about them to make sure those who can mutually benefit are aware of the opportunities. We are excited to see what other entries they will submit in years to come.