Vietnamese ride-hailer Be launches digital bank in partnership with VPBank

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.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.