More than 140 million Indonesian lower-and middle-income workers live paycheck to paycheck and struggle with unexpected financial expenses every month1. Managing cashflow is the most pressing everyday issue for lower- and middle-income workers. With little to no savings and limited access to conventional financial services, many people are often forced to turn to loan sharks for emergency funds. Given predatory interest fees and limited financial literacy, many borrowers cannot repay their loans on time, leading to escalating amounts and a cycle of debt.
The inability to react to unexpected expenditures leads people to borrow money at very high interest rates. The problem is even more acute in the region of Java due to climate change-related disruptions. Beyond Indonesia, other developing markets such as Bangladesh and Vietnam also experience similar issues.
Earned wage access provides employees with financial stability in times of uncertainty. It is a crucial factor in creating long-term resilience.
Wagely provides instant access to short-term financing at a substantially lower cost than existing alternatives, the ability to track earned wage in real-time and access to financial literacy training. Employers also benefit from increased employee productivity and higher retention rates. It also provides an emergency funding option for workers who live in climate vulnerable areas, which frequently experiences flooding and other climate-related shocks.
Through partnerships with employers, Wagely has designed a holistic platform that will help employees to overcome financial shortfalls between paychecks through on-demand access to earned wages, while offering financial literacy education to promote healthy saving habits and reduce vulnerabilities to economic and climate shocks.
Since its inception, Wagely has onboarded over 70 employers and has launched its operations in Bangladesh. Wagely aims to expand financial inclusion and increase the climate resilience of more than 400,000 low- to middle-income workers in the Jakarta Metropolitan Area by 2025.
Last March, Wagely secured a partnership with Impress Newtex Composite Textile Ltd (INCTL), a company under the Impress Group, a Bangladesh-based conglomerate, to incorporate Wagely’s financial wellness platform into INCTL’s benefits program, making it easier for 12,000 employees to access their salaries when they need it2.
Wagely is also working with Shadhin Fintech, a peer-to-peer and open funding platform, offering an equated monthly installment initiative through the Wagely platform, to enable workers in the ready-made garment industry to purchase smartphones, with the goal of closing the digital divide in the country and helping more underserved communities gain access to digital products and services3.
Through this investment, ADB Ventures hopes to help the company improve its technology stack and develop a holistic financial wellness platform for lower- and middle-income workers that includes other financial services, including savings and insurance.
The company initially focused on offering Indonesian workers access to their already earned, but unpaid wages. The platform has now expanded its fintech solutions in Bangladesh to cater for blue collar workers (usually focused on manual labor but can also include skilled or unskilled workers) in the textile sector. It already has a total of 45000 registered users on its platform.