Indonesia Turns to Technology to Build its Banking Sector

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Indonesia is hoping to get more of its 250 million citizens using formal financial services, and it’s looking to some of the creative tech startups that are already one step ahead for some assistance.

Financial comparison portal CekAja, essentially an ecommerce site for banking and insurance products and services, announced a partnership this week with the central bank and other government agencies to help develop the technology needed to extend banking and financial services to the 60% of the population without them.

That means helping extend banks’ digital distribution channels so anyone with access to the Internet can access things like basic savings accounts, micro-insurance and microloans, said J.P. Ellis, Cek Aja founder CEO of Compara 88, the company’s parent startup.

Having a basic mobile data plan or Internet access is key, but as the costs of smartphones fall and mobile penetration expands so do the ways in which technology can be used to create new innovations that are good for society and also meet national development goals, he said.

Indonesia Realtime talked with Mr. Ellis about Cek Aja, the importance of financial inclusion, and how technology can help grow Indonesia’s economy. Edited excerpts:

Source: Wall Street Journal (link opens in a new window)

financial inclusion, microfinance