For bill payments over electronic means to work, it is necessary for the payee to have an electronic system. Some parachute advisers identified mobile payments as a low hanging fruit in the early days, even before the telecom reforms had started. But it took years to pluck this fruit because work had to be done on the pre-conditions. Not only was it necessary to get phones into the hands of the consumers, it was necessary to modernize the billing systems of the payee organizations.
ConnectNPay, a joint venture between Myanmar’s MCC Group and Singapore’s Leo Tech, has since May provided an e-link between service providers, such as utility companies, and payment partners, such as banks. From May to December it says it recorded more than 40,000 transactions worth K6.45 billion (about US$4.98 million) on its platform. To make the transactions possible the company had to help digitalise the data bases of state enterprises, such as the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation.
“The utility companies don’t have a proper system; they are still doing things manually,” said Ko Zaw Min Thant, CB Bank’s deputy head of consumer banking. “So ConnectNPay built up the digital system for these state enterprises. They are an aggregate.”
CB Bank already offers mobile banking services to its clients, such as account transfers and credit card payments, which are digitalised, but ConnectNPay provided the necessary e-link to the utility companies. ConnectNPay has also digitalised the data of the Myanma Electric Power Enterprise, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications and the Yangon City Development Committee. “They’ve totally digitalised the bill payment process,” Mr Buttenshaw said of the YCDC. “They’re managing every house. They know who owns what and who is renting it. And how much to bill them. And those bills now go through our platform.”