KUALA LUMPUR: Digital financial services in Southeast Asia are estimated to make up about 5% of the total revenue of the region’s financial sector this year, says Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Deputy governor Jessica Chew Cheng Lian said on Dec 11 that this share is expected to more than double to 11% in the next five years, driven among others by digital lending, investment, remittance and insurance products.

In Malaysia, she said, the most recent demand-side survey on financial capability and inclusion indicates that four in 10 Malaysians use internet banking services, up from just one in 10 as recently as three years before.

“This trend is expected to intensify with the expansion in digital product offerings and growing acceptance of online financial services,” she told the BNM-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Conference on Financial Education and Financial Consumer Protection in the Asia-Pacific here.

As digitalisation can also be a powerful force for sustainable financial inclusion, she notes that by lowering costs and increasing scale and reach, it has become a means for providing access to essential financial services such as e-payments, micro-insurance and online remittance to previously underserved segments.

“Other innovations such as banking and insurance aggregators are also helping consumers make better financial decisions, in turn, increasing their confidence in using financial services,” Chew added.

The conference, themed “Empowering Financial Consumers in the Digital Age,” aims to help untangle and develop sensible responses to the myriad of issues associated with the rapid digitalisation of financial services. – Bernama

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