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Jakarta Post

Jenius eyes expansion to become ‘life finance’ app

  • Yunindita Prasidya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 12, 2020   /   01:47 pm
Jenius eyes expansion to become ‘life finance’ app More people are also turning to entrepreneurship to make a living during the pandemic, with many embracing the need to shift to digital platforms, both by opening digital stores and by utilizing digital banking.  (JP/Muthi Kautsar)

Digital banking platform Jenius, operated by publicly listed Bank BTPN, plans to expand its services as a more holistic financial app to address the changes in consumer behavior caused by the pandemic.

In an Instagram Live session with The Jakarta Post, discussing the topic of boosting productivity through digital banking, Bank BTPN digital banking business product head Waasi B. Sumintardja said the digital bank aimed to provide services that could cater to users' everyday activities.

From listening to a subscription-based radio streaming platform when getting ready in the morning to using ride-hailing services when going to the office, then paying for lunch at noon to purchasing tickets, all these activities are financial activities, Waasi explained.

“Jenius’ plan ahead is that we want to be present in our users’ every activity without them realizing it. What it means is that it becomes automatic for Jenius to be there,” Waasi said on Thursday. “This is what we call life finance.”

The features are also expected to correspond with the shift in consumer behavior during the pandemic, he added.

“Actually, people are managing their money better during the pandemic,” Waasi went on to say, adding that people tend to save their money and hold off on their expenses.

The pandemic has battered household spending, which accounts for more than half of Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP), as the health crisis continues to hit the economy. Household spending fell by 5.5 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the second quarter this year as the economy shrank by 5.32 percent yoy.

Waasi said that as observed through the Jenius transaction trends, its saving feature, Flexi Saver, is used more often during the pandemic. Prior to that, the majority of Jenius transactions were for its money transfer feature, Send It, and cash withdrawals, Waasi said.  

He added that e-wallet top-ups had also increased. The finding is consistent with a 2020 report titled “Digital Consumers of Tomorrow, Here Today” published by global consultancy firm Bain & Company and commissioned by Facebook. 

The research shows that consumers have a growing preference for e-wallets at the expense of cash payments. The e-wallet payment option has seen its popularity increase by 8 percentage points, as 22 percent of consumers now said they preferred e-wallet payments — almost an equal proportion to those who said they preferred credit and debit cards.

More people are also turning to entrepreneurship to make a living during the pandemic, with many embracing the need to shift to digital platforms, both by opening digital stores and by utilizing digital banking. 

Ride-hailing giant Gojek revealed on Sept. 15 that around 265,000 new micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) had joined its food delivery service GoFood between March and August.

“We study these entrepreneurs, especially those who just opened their businesses, through our cocreation program,” Waasi said. “There, we found that individual entrepreneurs experience difficulties in managing their finances and their companies’ operational.”

Following their findings, Jenius built a product that allows SMEs to manage their finances better, called Jenius for Business. The product, which was launched in March this year, has garnered around 90,000 users so far.

Jenius for Business allows users to have two separate accounts on one platform: one for personal finances and one for business.

Read also: Jenius mulls over plan to disburse loans for SMEs

The digital bank has also launched Jenius Business Kit, a separate business management application that Jenius users can link to their existing account that can operate as a point-of-sale (POS), inventory management and consumer data storage, among other uses. 

Waasi told the Post he hoped that an investment product within the digital bank platform could be launched next year. 

“Hopefully we can release an investment product, we don’t know the time [of the launch] yet. We are in the process of cocreating [the product] and [trying to find out] what investment is right for Jenius users,” he said.

The pandemic has become a catalyst in the rise of retail investors. The number of investors in equities, mutual funds and bonds reached 3.02 million as of July, of which 42 percent were stock market investors, according to data from the Indonesian Central Securities Depository (KSEI). This is a 21.7 percent surge from 2.48 million by the end of December 2019.

Indo Premier Sekuritas, which is among the most active brokerages on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), revealed that 60 to 70 percent of its transactions come from retail investors.

“With many people staying at home, working from home and with some having their work, business and income disrupted, they have begun to realize the value of investing,” Indo Premier Sekuritas president director Moleonoto told a live-streamed media briefing on June 3.