Money movement in the digital age
The way we work is being changed dramatically by the opportunities that innovation and technology bring to our lives. The pandemic not only made working from home a reality, but also accelerated the growth of the gig economy, especially in south-east Asia, where more than half of the workforce are now engaged in informal work. When coupled with ever more efficient mobile connectivity and the accessibility of smartphone technology, this has helped drive mobile internet consumption across Asia, where digital platforms and super apps have become an increasingly integral part of daily life.
Technology has also transformed the way the value of work in the gig economy is calculated and remunerated, while placing new demands on fintech and financial services, which are now competing in a market that demands near real-time payments. The picture becomes even more complex in the booming sectors of content creation, social media and gaming, or when platforms are global and funds need to be transferred to influencers, creatives or highly skilled technicians across borders.
“People need to get paid, but one of the main pain points is getting paid accurately, quickly and securely, whether that’s in terms of fees for services rendered, tips or gifts,” says Deepan Dagur, Head of Visa Direct, Asia Pacific. “Individual payments may be relatively small but people are being paid frequently, not just once a month or once a quarter. People also like to be paid quickly and reliably, from a trustworthy source.”
This tidal wave of rapid change has tasked financial services with finding new technologies and new mechanisms for a complex web of payments, but the potential rewards are huge: the gross volume of the global gig economy is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 16.18 per cent between 2022 and 2027.
Visa Direct helps to facilitate the delivery of funds directly to eligible cards, bank accounts and digital wallets across more than 190 markets, enabling customers and businesses to reach more than 3 billion eligible cards , more than 2 billion accounts and 1.5 billion wallets. The development of digital wallets also promises to be a growth area in the south-east Asian market, where six in 10 people are unbanked or underbanked. It is estimated that the total value of digital wallet transactions will exceed $12 trillion in 2026, up from US$7.5 trillion this year.
On the surface it appears to be the platforms that are driving this change, but the shift towards earned wage access suggests that the expectations of gig-economy workers are also driving these expectations. “Imagine you are a taxi driver for a ride-hailing platform, a contract worker designing websites, or a part-time call centre operator,” Dagur explains. “What we are starting to see is that gig-economy workers who were previously being paid at the end of a month are now demanding to be paid with increased frequency.”
The money movement that accompanies these changes is also subject to constant acceleration as customers and businesses demand improved experiences and more competitive pricing. “It’s a constant journey, and that journey will never stop,” Dagur says. “We are bringing more endpoints into the Visa Direct network and that number will grow with the market, and grow with our partners to help them on their money movement journey.”
Find out more about Visa Direct
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