18 population aged 15 years or older and to aggressively promote non-cash payments. This will involve equipping 100 percent of supermarkets and shopping centers with point-of-sale devices to accept non-cash payment, ensuring that no less than 70 percent of utility services providers accept non-cash, and making sure that at least half of households in metropolitan areas use digital payment solutions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given this regulatory commitment and the sheer size—64 million people—of the unbanked population, Vietnam’s fintech sector has seen significant growth and investment. In 2016, fintech accounted for 63 percent of all startup deals in Vietnam and reached USD 129 million in value, according to Topica Founder Institute research. Today there are more than 40 fintech startups in Vietnam tackling everything from peer-to- peer lending and credit scoring to blockchain technology. The payments space alone has more than 22 players. Together with our partners at MicroSave, MetLife Foundation has been studying how digital technologies can be meaningfully leveraged to advance financial inclusion across six markets in Asia—Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam. Next month we will report on lessons learned at the regional level. But in the particular case of Vietnam, we have followed with interest the experience of MoMo, rapidly emerging as the leader among the 22 payment providers, for the lessons it holds about leap-frogging.  AN EMERGING LEADER—AND A UNIQUE STRATEGY MoMo is both the largest and the fastest-growing of Vietnam’s payment providers. Founded in 2014, it has 8 million customers and enjoys a growth rate of 15 percent in monthly transaction volume and user base. MoMo raised USD 28 million in 2017 from Standard Chartered and Goldman Sachs, a testament to the market’s confidence in its strategy: Alone among the 22 players jockeying for position, MoMo has adopted a dual approach of both over-the-counter (OTC) and wallet services. Industry opinion is divided on the question of OTC, which refers to transactions in which an agent assists either the sender or the recipient, from either that person’s or the agent’s own mobile money account. One argument is that the more time users and agents both have to get accustomed to OTC, the harder it will be to ever transition to the more efficient model of independent mobile wallet account usage. However, most providers in leading markets where OTC is prevalent (such as Bangladesh and Pakistan) offer mobile wallets in tandem with OTC, just as MoMo does in Vietnam. And the counter-argument—that OTC is a necessary step along the path toward a cashless or cash-light economy—may be especially true in countries where a majority of the people have historically operated on a cash-only basis. As MicroSave’s Graham Wright argued in an August 2016 article, in a market-led environment, service delivery should be determined by demand. For the moment, anyway, half of MoMo’s customers rely on OTC. The importance of agents—MoMo has a network of 5,000 of them across Vietnam—cannot be overstated in a context where people have not yet developed confidence in technology-based, self-initiated transactions. MoMo’s management strategy hinges on its careful selection of agents: They are primarily small business owners in rural areas, and are required to invest some of their own money, creating a sense of ownership and motivation to keep customers happy. MoMo has made other customer-centric decisions, too, for example around the user interface of its app. Based on behavioral studies of its customers, MoMo reduced to 30 seconds—which their research suggested was the limit of the average user’s patience—the time required to install the app and register for the service. Where other interfaces can require seven to eight menu screens and input of two to three sequences of numbers just for a simple transaction, MoMo’s app has just two key steps. Its fees are affordable: less than one-third the cost of alternatives for OTC withdrawals from mobile wallet accounts. And it has agreements in place with more than 300 providers of services (e.g., utilities, mobile top-ups, travel tickets, consumer loans, insurance premiums, etc.) that cover the most common payment needs for the average Vietnamese customer. The system is integrated with international payments networks including Visa and MasterCard. And MoMo has also made significant investments in a multi-tier security system, a decision with immense practical and symbolic importance in a country