Today it is possible to order almost anything from an app. Within taps and swipes, items can be viewed from around the world, prices and features can be compared, and the chosen items delivered within a few days. The consumer is certainly in control — that is, as long as you have a digital way to pay for the items. Of course, for the unbanked, this entire online marketplace is not so simple to access.
Mehedi Hasan, Founder and CEO of MyCash Online recognized this, particularly for the Bangladeshi migrants working in Malaysia. He started an eCommerce platform in 2016 where Bangladeshi migrants could pay for goods and services with their native mobile money wallets, BKash. Insurance, bus tickets, train tickets, plane tickets, and products can be found on the platform with home delivery.
Since then MyCash Online has performed more than 2.5 million transactions worth around $80 million, serving 200,000 unique migrants in Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia. This year they launched their mobile-only remittance e-wallet to service the same community as migrants wanted more than a marketplace. They wanted an e-wallet so that they could save as well, which is provided in the migrants’ mother tongue. It’s called MyCash Money and is an entry for The RemTECH Awards 2020.
As My Cash Online has been actively offering a digital solution, we speak with Mehedi briefly about what he’s been seeing during this time of COVID-19.
Olivia: Do you think that the increase in April remittances is COVID-driven? If yes, why didn’t we see the increase in the earlier months? Was there an education or marketing gap being bridged from remitters who normally go to retail locations?
Mehedi: Our April growth is due to Movement Control in Malaysia. Most of the customers cannot go out to traditional remittance partners (retail locations) so that they start using our service. Also, during this time, we are promoting our services a lot and the customer started to use our services. We are getting an excessive amount of new customer enrolment every day both in Malaysia and Singapore.
O: Any other consumer observations did you notice during this unprecedented time?
M: We can see a lot of new customers started to use digital services. Not only our app, in the general adoption of digital services increasing a lot. For example, we have JomPay (an Online Interbank Transfer Service by Malaysian Central Bank) for our customers as a way to reload their accounts. As most of my customers are unbanked, it was not popular. But during this epidemic, they are asking their friends and employers to use JomPay for them and help them to reload their accounts. We can now see a 150% increase in using JomPay in our system.
O: How do you make money from your services while staying competitive?
M: We have many products in our platforms. Some companies gave us a commission and some gave us a discount. Normally if we can sell insurance products on our platform, we get up to 20% commission from the insurance company. On the other hand, we get a discount from Telcos when we purchase a reload / airtime from them in a bulk amount. Nevertheless, we always share these discounts/commissions with our customers, so that they can purchase products from us that are cheaper than others.
O: You seem passionate about migrants. Is there a personal story related to how you got into this business?
M: As we are currently applying for a remittance license, we are looking forward to connecting with Payout partners, banks, and also mobile money/digital wallet operators especially in South and Southeast Asia. It would be great for our participation in the RemTECH Awards to connect us.
I am a migrant myself. I came to Malaysia in 2007 as a student. After my graduation, I started working in Malaysia as a Software Engineer. During my time in Malaysia, I have seen many migrants is suffering every day, and most of them from Bangladesh. So in 2015 October, I have decided to quit and start working with two of my friends to build a platform for migrants. That’s the start of MyCash Online. In later stages, we have seen, migrants want a dedicated platform to send money, so we now creating a new service MyCash Money for them. We are in the mid of getting a remittance license in Singapore and will start MyCash Money from Singapore and later to Malaysia and a few other countries in the Middle East.
O: Are there any types of suppliers you’d like to partner with?
M: As we are currently applying for a remittance license, we are looking forward to connecting with Payout partners, banks, and also mobile money / digital wallet operators especially in South and Southeast Asia. It would be great for our participation in the RemTECH Awards to connect us.