Financial comparison platform GoBear pushes for financial inclusion in VN

Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018 08:30

Mr. Bao Nguyen, Vietnam country director of GoBear.

Inequality and exclusion are two of the most pressing challenges facing policy makers today. Economic development will not be wholesome if we do not truly address the problem of exclusion. Providing opportunities to every individual to use their potential for improving their well-being is essential for developing prosperous and stable communities. And it is now accepted wisdom that a key ingredient of inclusive growth is financial inclusion.

For a cash-based economy like Viet Nam, however, financial inclusion still has a long way to go. Most transactions are in cash and a majority of adults still do not have any formal financial products. As a result, the unbanked population, of approximately 49.5 million according to World Bank data, does not have access to other products like personal loans or credit cards due to the lack of formal credit history.

GoBear, the Singapore-based financial comparison platform, is pushing hard to give its unbanked users better access to the basic yet important financial products. The technology company has been operating in Viet Nam since 2016 with a transparent, free and easy to use metasearch engine for insurance and banking products, and is serving 1 million unique users every month.

Mr. Bao Nguyen, Vietnam country director of GoBear, talks about the company’s plans to improve financial inclusion and its targets for 2019.

How does financial inclusion support inclusive economic growth for Viet Nam?

Financial inclusion is the philosophy of providing affordable, safe, accessible, sustainable, and properly regulated financial tools, all delivered in a responsible way so that people can build their assets while improving their livelihoods. It enables people to have a safe place to save money, acquire affordable and appropriately designed loans and insurance to gain better control over their own lives and that of their families. This will eventually lead to inclusive growth, which ensures that the benefits of a growing economy extend to all segments of society.

To achieve inclusive economic growth in Viet Nam, we will definitely have to improve financial inclusion and better serve the unbanked population. However, the unavailability of credit risk information is a significant problem as it can substantially restrict the flow of capital to would-be entrepreneurs and small businesses. The unbanked consumers have little in terms of a personal banking history from which lenders, including commercial banks and finance companies, can determine creditworthiness should they request a loan. GoBear is aiming to solve this problem.

GoBear recently announced a plan to launch the Easy Apply smartphone app to support the unbanked population in Viet Nam. How will this work?

You can think of the GoBear Easy Apply app as a personal pre-approval feature designed specifically for the unbanked consumers. It uses non-traditional data and predictive data analytics, which are gathered from the consumers’ unique digital footprint on their smartphones, to produce highly predictive digital credit scorecards that enable them to access financial services. For our partners who are financial institutions, this will help further expand their pool of customers while keeping risks in check.

GoBear Easy Apply is a region-wide financial inclusion initiative of GoBear in collaboration and powered by CredoLab’s AI based proprietary algorithms. We are very pleased that Viet Nam will be one of the first markets to launch the app. The app will be an integrated part of GoBear’s user journey in early 2019, and will kick off with the personal loans segment and extend to credit cards, insurance products and other credit lines in the near future.

I strongly believe with the new technology we will be able to help our partners better serve the unbanked, and at the same time enable our users to access useful and affordable financial products. Improving financial inclusion and serving the unbanked consumer is very important in an emerging market like Viet Nam, and we cannot wait to begin this meaningful initiative.

GoBear Vietnam is celebrating its 2nd anniversary. How is business and what are your targets for 2019?

I am very happy to share that GoBear Vietnam has attracted 10 million visitors to in two years of operations. Businesswise, we have signed up more than 20 partners and achieved over 200 per cent year-on-year revenue growth. At this moment GoBear Vietnam offers eight products on our comparison platform: credit cards, personal loans, travel insurance, fixed deposits, bank accounts, home loan, home equity loan, and car loan.

Viet Nam is one of the fastest growing emerging markets in Southeast Asia today, and a very important market for GoBear. It is great to know that Vietnamese users are comfortable with using GoBear to compare financial products. Our focus now is to seamlessly integrate the GoBear Easy Apply app into the user journey. And we are also working to add more financial products to be launched in 2019.

GoBear is Asia’s first and only metasearch engine in insurance and banking. We exist because we thought someone should make it easy to choose financial products like insurance, credit cards and loans. We do not sell anything. Our comparison results are not influenced by service providers’ commissions or advertising. We just offer a simple, free and transparent way for people to compare financial products, empowering people to make better-informed decisions efficiently, saving both time and money.

Headquartered in Singapore since early 2015, we are one of the fastest growing fintech start-ups in Asia. We’re now in seven countries: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Indonesia, and will continue to expand across Asia. So far we have served over 40 million users who compared almost 2,000 personal finance products.

For more information about GoBear Vietnam, please visit


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