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Wave Money is a mobile based financial service that facilitates secure, real-time transactions, with the aim of improving financial inclusion in Myanmar.

Wave Money was launched in Myanmar in 2016, as a joint venture between Telenor Group and Yoma Bank. The platform aims to bring financial inclusion to Myanmar’s population, by providing them access with secure and convenient financial transfers using mobile technology.

Individuals and businesses can conduct transactions using Wave Money in two ways. Users with access to a mobile phone can transfer funds directly using the Wave Money app. Their account is linked to their phone number, and can be used to store and transfer money securely. The recipient can then collect the funds from an authorised Wave Shop. Alternatively, anyone with a valid legal ID such as a driver’s license can conduct transfers in the Wave Shop, regardless of whether they have a Wave Money account. There is a small fee to send money, but there is no fee to collect it.

Wave Money can be used for trade, payment of wages, and transferring remittances to family members in rural and remote areas without formal bank access. There are currently over 31,000 authorised Wave Shops operating in Myanmar, covering 85% of the country and around 1.3 million customers.

Why you should care

Myanmar’s historically closed economy has been a barrier to financial development. The financial system has typically been characterised by low ATM proliferation, strict regulation, and low levels of trust. In 2015, less than 20% of adults in Myanmar had a bank account, compared to almost 40% in Malaysia and 30% in Thailand and Laos. While mobile banking has grown remarkably in other developing countries, such systems have been limited in Myanmar by the fact that sim cards were prohibitively expensive until recently.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Gender equality
Wave Money can help women access economic resources by reducing the costs and travel time required to make financial transactions.

Decent work and economic growth
Wave Money provides access to secure financial services, encouraging savings and investment, facilitating commercial transactions, and providing a secure platform for payment of wages.

Reduced inequality
Wave Money is helping to increase financial inclusion and facilitating safe and cost-effective transfers of remittances to the families of migrants.