Vietnamese ride-hailing firm Be Group has partnered local commercial lender VPBank to introduce Cake, the first digital bank developed by a tech platform in the country.
Integrated into the Be app, Cake will serve Be Group’s 10 million users even as the ride-hailing startup looks to drive the number of new users through its new digital bank service.
Cake provides banking products and services like a traditional bank, such as account opening, money transfer, bill payments, savings and debit card issuance. Its e-KYC system allows customers to use digital signatures to settle transactions.
These services are operated on the Be app through VPBank’s digital banking licence.
With over 10 million customers, Be said it accounted for nearly a third of the Vietnamese ride-hailing market.
“Be Group understands that e-banking will not simply stop at a new payment method but it will also encompass a new technology that can be integrated into our every day lives through essential devices,” said Be Group CEO Nguyen Hoang Phuong.
Vietnam’s smartphone penetration stood at about 45% of the total population in 2020, but only 30% were served by the banking sector, according to the Vietnam Digital Advertising Market Report by local digital marketing company Adsota.
E-payments dominate the country’s digital financial transactions, and major players include e-wallets GrabPay by Moca, MoMo, ZaloPay and AirPay.
“The digital banking model will help the banking sector reduce operational costs, while such partnership as what Be Group and VPBank are doing will critically make sure user data are stored locally,” commented Nguyen Duc Kien, head of the economic advisory group to the Prime Minister.
Cake is not the first digital banking effort by VPBank. The Hanoi-headquartered bank initially seeded Timo in 2016. In September last year, Timo announced VietCapital Bank replaced VPBank as its licence partner.
Be Group was founded in 2018 and later in 2019 sealed its strategic partnership with VPBank in the financial services business. DealStreetAsia earlier reported that individuals in VPBank’s management had invested in Be Group.
The tech company offers bike and car sharing, financial services, delivery, grocery shopping, bus ticketing and loyalty programmes.