LINE Research Highlights Big Opportunities For FinTech If Knowledge And Accessibility Barriers Can Be Overcome

  • 64% say FinTech makes planning and managing their finances easier
  • Less than half (44%) are knowledgeable about what is currently available on the market
  • Regions vary in preparedness, with consumers in Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan saying they’re most ready for a Fintech future
  • Mobile-based service for traditional banking functions, insurance are top want-to-haves

TOKYO – December 04, 2018  Consumers in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia say they are among the most ready in the world to embrace a cash-free, Fintech future, whereas in Japan and other markets surveyed, consumers are taking more of a wait-and-see approach, even while recognizing the appeal of select solutions.

Those are some of the conclusions reached in a survey by LINE Corporation released today, exploring attitudes towards and trust in financial technology (Fintech) through a survey of 5,000 smartphone users in seven key markets. The survey looked at consumers in LINE’s four major markets of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, plus Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Together, these markets revealed a major opportunity for the wider adoption of Fintech if the challenges of consumers’ low awareness and access to products can be overcome.

A World Primed For Fintech

Across the seven markets, 64% of respondents agreed that financial technology makes planning and managing their finances easier. Trust in financial technology was generally found to be high, with 63% of survey respondents saying they trust the products and services they are currently aware of and a further 30% feeling ambivalent towards them. Trust also appears to increase with youth, with only 55% of those aged 55 and over trusting Fintech, compared with 69% of 18-34s, indicating greater upside potential for Fintech with younger age groups.

However, in all markets surveyed, respondents’ knowledge of the financial technology related services and products currently available to them was relatively low, with less than half considering themselves knowledgeable in this area (44%), rising to 52% among younger audiences (those in the 18-34 age bracket).

Of those products and services that respondents would be most willing to use a mobile or app-based service to access, savings accounts (65%), money/wire transfers (57%), current accounts (48%) and insurance (48%) were the most popular options given. Life insurance (65%), travel insurance (58%) and home insurance (50%) were selected the top types of insurance respondents wanted to access in this way.

Regions Vary Widely In Readiness For Fintech

While respondents in each market had different interests and concerns, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia all stood out as being particularly interested in a digital financial future. When asked about the prospect of their market becoming “cash-free”, all three answered well above the survey average of 37%: In Thailand, 57% of respondents said they were “excited” about going cash-free, followed by Indonesia at 56% and Taiwan at 52%. Korea also answered positively, at 45%.

Those markets also responded more positively to purchasing financial products through a mobile-based service. While overall 65% of survey respondents would open a savings account over a mobile app, Thailand led with 83%, then Indonesia at 77% and Taiwan at 69% (Korea also did well, at 75%).

In contrast, respondents in the UK, US and Japan were less eager to stray from traditional methods. Only a small percentage of respondents reported being excited about becoming “cash-free”, with Japan at 24%, the US at 20% and the UK last among the surveyed markets at 19%.

Japan in particular remains behind most developed nations when it comes to cashless payments, but as the government tries to move the country away from its dependence on cash, this is an area with much potential for growth.

The UK, US and Japan were also behind the survey averages for being willing to use mobile to buy Fintech services. Japan had the lowest percentage of respondents say they would be willing to open a savings account, at 49%, then the US at 53% and the UK at 57% (survey average 65%). For making investments over mobile, however, the UK was last at 28%, followed by the US and Japan at 37%, closer to the survey average of 45%.

Japan unhappy with present options, but awareness low on new ones

Compared to Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan, Japan finished last by far among the surveyed markets in terms of trusting and understanding Fintech. Just 38% of respondents saying they trusted Fintech, versus a survey average of 63%. Only 22% reported being knowledgeable of Fintech, versus an average of 44%.

Japanese respondents were the most likely to currently do their banking in person (80%, versus a survey average of 68%) and least likely to use a mobile device to do so (38%, versus 58%). But Japan also finished last by far in terms of how convenient people found current financial services (31%, versus 67%), indicating consumers are ready for change.

LINE At The Forefront Of Mobile Fintech

With these varied market needs in mind, LINE has been working on Fintech products for years. In December 2014, LINE launched LINE Pay – a mobile money transfer and payment service for the LINE messaging app – and now has 40 million registered users and more than JPY450 billion in global transaction volume per year. In January 2018, LINE established LINE Financial Corporation (“LINE Financial”), with the aim of providing a variety of financial services, all from the LINE app.

LINE Financial now provides insurance through LINE Insurance, investment through LINE Smart Invest, and personal finance management through the LINE Kakeibo service in its home market of Japan, and has most recently announced plans to establish a new bank, a credit scoring platform and a loan service. LINE will continue to bring users new financial services on the LINE platform.

“LINE is uniquely situated to take advantage of the amazing potential demand for Fintech, particularly in Asia, while also overcoming the various barriers that exist in different markets,” said Takeshi Idezawa, CEO of LINE Corporation. “From cashless and contactless payments to insurance and investment options, LINE is bringing people closer to the most desirable Fintech products and services.”

About LINE Corporation

Based in Japan, LINE Corporation (NYSE:LN/TSE:3938) is dedicated to the mission of “Closing the Distance,” bringing together information, services and people. The LINE messaging app launched in June 2011 and since then has grown into a diverse, global ecosystem that includes AI technology, fintech and more.