Does MatchMove have a shot at winning a Singapore digital banking license?

Written by || March 31 2020

The competition for Singapore digital banking licenses is heating up as yet another fintech throws its hat into the ring. This time, the contender is homegrown fintech MatchMove which is applying for a digital full-bank (DFB) license together with Singapura Finance, the Thai blockchain startup LightNet and the London fintech startup OpenPayd. There are only two DFB licenses up for grabs. They allow licensees to conduct both retail and corporate banking. Digital wholesale bank (DWB) licenses are valid only for non-retail banking.

MatchMove is in the same boat as some of the other contenders like Grab and Razer: It did not start out in financial services. MatchMove began in gaming and entertainment in 2009 before transforming itself into a payments company in 2016. Its digital wallet permits businesses to make payments online or at brick-and-mortar outlets with pre-paid cards.

MatchMove provides "bank-like capabilities" to businesses in a wide range of industries, among them agriculture, aviation and shipping, Bloomberg noted in a March report. In July 2019, MatchMove announced it would partner with the Singaporean shipping company Marine Innovation.

Under the agreement, MatchMove offers its banking-as-a-service platform to Marine Innovation that covers corporate payroll, expense management and cross-border remittance. Sailors away at sea are able to use MatchMove's platform to send money home instantly, pay utility bills online or make online purchases. These users can also withdraw funds at ATMs worldwide with a physical card.

The tie-up strengthened Singapore's goal of "of becoming a Smart Nation by taking the cashless economy well beyond our shores," Shailesh Naik, founder and group CEO of MatchMove, said in a statement.

MatchMove is making its case to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) by highlighting what it says is a large ecosystem of customers - both retail and corporate - that are eager for its services. MatchMove says its digital bank could provide customized products and services to these organizations and their employees, SME clients and the retail customers of its parters.

Reportedly, the ecosystem includes one of Singapore's leading transport operators, the No. 1 insurance company in Southeast Asia, a regional payments acquirer, two top tech startups catering to SMEs and Asias's foremost B2B enabler of online stores.

In a March statement, Naik hinted at MatchMove's wider aspirations for its digital bank. The company aims to "reach digitally underserved segments like SMEs and gig workers, amongst others. As a pure play fintech, we believe we are well positioned to graduate to a become the digital bank of choice for enterprises, employees and consumers of the future, in Singapore and the region," he said.