Payoneer is a leading provider of global payout solutions, offering a simple way for individuals or businesses to send money to other people and businesses worldwide. Headquartered in New York, the company is known for being PayPal’s competitor. But it has a perk over PayPal in the international market: it doesn’t require a bank account for verification.
Oded Zehavi, chief revenue officer of Payoneer, previously served as business development director at PayPal is travelling around Southeast Asia to meet with potential partners and customers right now. Operating in over 200 countries around the world, Payoneer definitely has some experience with different types of markets. Tech in Asia caught up with him to hear how the company sees the e-commerce and money transferring ecosystem in the region, where both obstacles and opportunities lie.
The rise of online marketplaces
Airbnb is one of many Payoneer clients, but it’s not the only online marketplace client the company has. According to Oded, marketplace companies are a strong trend in Asia. It gives people the power to grow from a domestic to a global company. But at the same time, they can also localize a global company to a small niche domestic market. Take these Airbnb-style startups for food and tourguides, for example. Crowdsourcing empowers people, so when looking at startup trends, Oded says an online marketplace is still something an entrepreneur should consider.
Asian e-commerce is becoming more global
Payoneer believes many e-commerce sellers in Asia tend to be domestic. The problem is they can sell in their own country but they don’t know how to expand beyond it. However, according to Oded, this trend is changing:
Right now, it seems like the Chinese only sell their products to within China or Hong Kong. But I see more and more sellers trying to go global. I also see more APAC players, such as Agoda becoming a strong global player. Since we also work with Amazon, the obvious trend that we see is that more Chinese and Japanese sellers on Amazon have discovered new opportunities to sell their products on Amazon.com instead of just .ch or .jp.
The anonymous issue
Payoneer’s customers are vary. With different types of services and customers from each country, what they share in common is the need for safety during transactions.
In Asia, the ability to identify customers is not simple. Some of Payoneer’s main investments are in both tech and human resources to collect IDs and being aware of who it serves. However, being anonymous has become an issue when dealing with money. Oded commented:
One of the thing we see as our challenge is that some people like to go anonymous and they don’t like to disclose anything online. It becomes tricky for us. This is a loophole for the marketplaces that can lead to fraud. However, we invest a lot to reduce the risk and identify both the sender and receiver of each transaction.
As most Asian countries are developing countries, access to banking services – especially international wire transfers – are still lacking in many rural areas. It’s a complex process to move money from one country to another.
Many consumers with no bank accounts use Payoneer thanks to the popularity of its Mastercard prepaid card service. People in Asia tend to opt in to use this more than other parts of the world. In addition, the fact that the company doesn’t require a bank account for verification makes it a payment solution of choice for many big companies, as these companies are also aware of the “no bank account” issue in Asia.
Asians love social media
According to Payoneer, when comparing Asian users’ behavior to the rest of the world, social media’s influence dominates. The company often gets feedback from Asian countries via social media channels. Bearing this in mind, it’d be smart for any international company to make social media one of the main channels to engage with customers in Asia.
Payoneer now has more than two million customers worldwide with a few billion dollars processed so far.
If you want to learn more about international transactions and global e-commerce trends, Oded will be speaking at Hubba Thailand tomorrow under the topic “Global Payments Challenges with Payoneer“. For more info, stay tuned on their website or swing by the co-working space if you’re in Bangkok!
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)
(Image via Flickr user epSos.de’s photo)
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