No bank account? In Indonesia, you can still shop online

Indonesian startups are racing to serve the millions of consumers that banks haven’t reached. Here’s a look at some of the leading players, their innovations and how they have redefined the market

Indonesia has a banking problem. More than 170 million, or about two-thirds, of its citizens don’t have a bank account. 

This means that these people – usually lower-income Indonesians – can’t access basic financial services, whether it’s depositing their savings, getting a credit card or taking out loans at reasonable interest rates. It’s a lack that threatens their welfare and financial well-being. 

Some local entrepreneurs, though, have spotted an opportunity in this landscape. New online-to-offline startups are helping Indonesians without bank accounts to access products and services that they were once excluded from – online shopping, to begin with, but more importantly, a range of financial solutions too.

Kioson, Kudo & Co.

Two of the most prominent players, Kioson and Kudo, are built along similar lines. Agents first top up a virtual account with their own money. They would then use that balance to help customers shop online or make payments, while the customers just need to pay the agent

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