TNG Wallet goes big on cross-border money transfer

Hong Kong-made e-wallet service courts migrant workers with money-transfer service.

Alex Kong
Alex Kong

HONG KONG - With offers such as zero transaction fees and immediate cash withdrawal, Hong Kong-based e-wallet service TNG is targeting smartphone-savvy migrant workers with a newly launched instant money transfer service to 12 countries.

Migrant workers typically remit up to 70 percent of their income to their home countries, founder and CEO Alex Kong told Campaign Asia-Pacific via email. The service is the first of its kind from Hong Kong, he added.

The recently launched service covers Hong Kong and 11 other countries in what it calls the 'Global E-wallet Alliance': China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

Data from Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department shows that there were 340,380 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong last year, 53.4 percent from the Philippines and 44.1 percent from Indonesia.

TNG app users can transfer cash to over 800 banks, while recipients can collect the cash immediately at 190,000 pick-up points. Compared to existing money-transfer services, Kong said TNG offers users competitive service, favourable exchange rates and no transaction fees.

"The migrant workers in Hong Kong as well as their family members back home always face difficulty in opening bank accounts," he said. "We have identified this market segment and decided to roll out the real-time money transfer feature to meet their needs."

The service will also help TNG reach out to potential users in the overseas market, he added.

Besides money transfer, TNG offers other services for the target group, including services to pay utility bills overseas and top up their foreign SIM cards, as well as those of their family members back home. Sixty-four mobile-operator brands across 10 countries have partnered with TNG for this airtime top-up service.

Kong (centre) with representatives of partner brands at the TNG 3.0 launch to unveil the cross-border money transfer service.

"We do not foresee much competition in the 12 countries where we just launched our app because there really is no e-wallet similiar to ours in these markets, except in China," Kong said. "We are unique in that sense." He added that TNG emphasises on-the-ground recruitment in Hong Kong and intends to target millennials through social-media campaigns in the new markets.

Launched in November last year, TNG currently has 370,000 registered active users in Hong Kong. "The average top-up value in our system has doubled from HK$109 in November last year to HK$220 in August this year," he said. "Users are spending more, and this is a strong signal of their confidence in TNG."

TNG and four other electronic-payment services, Alipay Wallet, Tap & Go, WeChat Pay and O! ePay by Octopus Cards, received licenses for stored-value facility (SVF) from the Hong Kong central bank in August. Kong said more local merchants have expressed interest in joining TNG's payment system since it was granted the SVF license, adding that TNG is in talks with overseas local banks for collaboration on market development and service rollout.

"We expect more than 2,000 retail outlets in Hong Kong to use our system within the next 12 months," said Kong. The current brands associated with TNG include household retailer Pricerite, bakery brand Crostini and online shopping platform JoShin.

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