Here’s what you should know today:

1. Go-Jek is enabling Go-Pay for transactions outside its ecosystem

Indonesian ride-hailing Go-Jek confirmed that it soon will allow its users to do cashless payment with Go-Pay to merchants outside of the Go-Jek ecosystem.

Currently, the Go-Pay feature can only be used to pay for Go-Jek services.

Go-Jek is also updating their in-app food delivery service to enable customers paying directly to the merchants with Go-Pay, instead of pay it for them in advance like the current system.

The company is recently awarded by Bank Indonesia for their achievement in “promoting cashless society, financial inclusions, and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) empowerment.”

Read the full story here.

2. Grab driving cashless payments in Singapore

Although the company faces a tough challenge in Indonesia, Grab is leading the innovation of cashless payments in homeland Singapore.

The country is likely to soon become Grab’s largest market in terms of cashless payments as more Singaporeans recognizes the value of cashless payments.

Grab has the ambitious goal to make GrabPay the regional mobile wallet and payments services. They are also planning to include more financial services including loans, electronic money transfer and money-market funds.

Read the full story here

3. More Filipino men shop online for clothing

According to Singapore-based ecommerce app Shopee, men in the Philippines have emerged as a high growth market. They are staying longer and buying more through Shopee mobile app.

The trend for Filipino men is they spend more but buy less frequently than women.

Mostly, these men are buying fashion apparels, consumer electronics, and sports and outdoor equipments. But the top preference vary across age group.

Shopee also see the number of male buyers in Health and Beauty category surging by 228% in the last year.

Read the full story here.

Welcome to the first day of December, here’s what you need to know today.

1. Jungle Ventures raises $100m fund for Southeast Asia and beyond

Singapore-based venture capital firm Jungle Ventures announced today it has completed fundraising for its second fund, achieving its target of US$100 million.

The investment firm will lead in larger series A and B rounds. It will target primarily Southeast Asia but also companies in territories like India and Australia, especially if it can help them expand to this region. Its current deals range from US$3 to 5 million per company.

Read the rest of the story here


2. Forum explores securing APAC cashless payments

Singapore’s cards and payments market is one of the most competitive and attractive in the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, 69% percent of consumer spending in Singapore is made through electronic payments. This has led to a meeting of global payment and cyber security experts at the PCI Asia-Pacific Community in Singapore last week to collaborate on helping businesses prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks that can lead to payment data breaches and fraud.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Thai univeristy opens Alibaba ecommerce training centre

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has become an authorized Alibaba ecommerce training center in Thailand.

Both organizations said they will work to accelerate ecommerce growth in Thailand and help Thai SMEs position themselves in the global market. Several collaborative programs, including training the trainers, have already been implemented. A team of Alibaba personnel has coached UTCC faculty members in the School of Business and the School of Science and Technology, among others, to become certified Alibaba trainers.

Read the rest of the story here


SET-listed VGI Global Media Plc, a provider of media space for skytrains, has announced its acquisition of Rabbit Card from BTS Group, reports The Bangkok Post.

The acquisition was for $56 million (1.95 billion baht), an initiative to strengthen its media service business.

The VGI board approved the purchase of a 90% stake in Bangkok Smartcard System Co (BSS) and 90% in BSS Holdings, which operates the Rabbit Card business.

The transaction is expected to be completed by March 31 this year.

VGI’s chief executive Surachet Bamrungsuk said, “the acquisition will allow VGI to enter the e-payment business. The Rabbit Card is a payment tool for travelling on the skytrain and also allows users to buy food and beverage.”

VGI will acquire an e-wallet business through Rabbit Line Pay, a function embedded in the most popular instant messaging application Line, which boasts 33 million users. In the future, VGI will allow its users to buy products and services, as well as pay skytrain fares online.

The Rabbit Card business also entails other online businesses such as Rabbit Internet, including Rabbit Daily, which provides lifestyle content through a web portal. There is also Rabbit Finance, an online financial products comparison website.

VGI will leverage Rabbit’s various platforms so VGI will become a data centric media hypermarket to assist the company in utilizing data analytic capabilities.

The acquisition is expected to widen VGI’s consumer base to 25 million people a day. The Rabbit Card database has more than 7.2 million users, offering opportunities to conduct data analytics to support VGI’s sales, media production and planning.

A version of this appeared in The Bangkok Post on August 24. Read the full version here

Touché enabling cashless payment with fingerprints


Singapore-based company Touché raises $2 million from private investors in Singapore to allow cashless payment with your fingerprint. The investors participating in this round are including co-founder Benedict Soh of creative agency, Kingsmen, and BTI director Terence Khoo.

A new way to pay

The startup makes a device that allows merchants receive payments and gather information about their customers through their fingerprints. The device scans your fore and middle fingers and connects them to your profile. The next time you visit that store, you can make a purchase by touching your fingers to the machine to authorize payment. It can also record information like your purchase history at that particular outlet and loyalty memberships.

To make sure of its security, the fingerprints are hashed and encrypted when stored and not shared with anyone. Merchants only have access to their customers’ membership and purchase information. Touché technology also requires two fingers to record prints, making it tougher to duplicate. The company uses live detection to make sure that only your actual fingers can trigger the machine, not an image of them.

A new way to market

The main draw for stores is the ability to handle payment and loyalty information through a single system. They will also be able to know about a customer’s previous purchases and spending habits at their business.

For customers, they get to stop worrying about carrying credit and loyalty cards, or about their phones running out of battery. They also have access to an “e-journal”, which contains things like their purchases, expenditures, and real-time offers from businesses they frequent or are members in.

Touché will target markets outside Singapore and is currently exploring Latin America, Japan, Macau, and Indonesia. At the moment, it has offices in Singapore and Barcelona.

The use of fingerprints as currency is set to be deployed in Japan for the 2020 Olympic Games.

“Biometrics is becoming the way we do things,” says Touché CEO Sahba Saint-Claire.

A version of this appeared in TechinAsia on July 16. Read the full article here.