Wave Money

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Wave Money
Privately Held
IndustryFinancial Services
FoundedNovember 9, 2016; 7 years ago (2016-11-09)
Key people
  • Brad Jones (CEO)
  • Prasoon Sinha (Deputy CEO and CFO)
  • Arvinder Singh Grewal (CMO)
  • Wave Money (Over the counter financial services)
  • WavePay (Mobile Wallet Application)
  • Remittance
  • Mobile Payments
  • Mobile Wallet
  • Interbanking
  • Wave Holdco
  • Ant Financial Services Group
  • Yoma Strategic Holdings
  • Yoma Bank

Wave Money is the Myanmar’s first and largest mobile financial services provider.[1][2] It was established in November 2016 as a joint venture money transfer service between Norwegian mobile operator Telenor Group, Yoma Bank, and SGX-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings (YSH) and Yangon-listed First Myanmar Investment (FMI).[3] Wave Money provides mobile financial services such as bill payments and money transfers. It also allows users to process financial services through its mobile wallet application WavePay.

As of June 2020, Wave Money has more than 58,000 agents (or “Wave Shops”) covering 295 out of 330 townships, approximately 89% of the country. Currently, it is used by more than 21 million people – around 38% of the population – for remittances, utility payments, airtime purchase or top-ups and various digital payments.

In 2018, Wave Money moved more than a trillion Myanmar kyat (MMK) in remittance volume, equivalent to nearly 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).[4] In 2019, the company reported an annual remittance value of 6.4 trillion MMK – more than triple the amount remitted in the same period in the previous year.[5]

In May 2020, Ant Financial Services Group, the fintech arm of Alibaba Group, announced plans to invest US$73.5 million[6] in Wave Money to become a substantial minority stakeholder, joining existing shareholders Yoma Group and Telenor.


Wave Money was formally established on November 9, 2016 in Myanmar as a joint venture money transfer service between Norwegian mobile operator Telenor Group, Yoma Bank, and Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings and Yangon-listed First Myanmar Investment. Wave Money was the first company to be awarded a license under Myanmar’s mobile financial services regulations – the registration certificate was issued in October 2016 by the Central Bank of Myanmar.[7]

Wave Money began with 4,000 agents (or “Wave Shops”) in 160 townships across the country. It launched in major cities such as Yangon and Mandalay, then expanded across the country, where itinerant agents are usually located in sundry shops or operate out of shop owners’ homes2. Within the first two months of launch, Wave Money acquired around 100,000 customers, due in part to very limited access to banks for about 80% of Myanmar’s population3.

In October 2017, Wave Money was recognised as the first fintech company in Myanmar to launch an open application programming interface (API) platform, which enabled cashless payments for goods and services between merchants and customers. The introduction of the Wave Money Developer Portal made it possible for merchants to connect e-commerce businesses to the Wave Money platform and easily link with customers.[8]

Just two years after its launch, Wave Money became EBITDA positive in August 2018 and has continued to maintain its profitability. From January to December 2018, the company moved US$1.3 billion in domestic remittances, equating to approximately 2% of Myanmar’s GDP.[9] The number of Wave Money shops grew from 15,000 to 40,000 by the end of the year, making the company’s agent network more than 16 times larger than that of traditional bank branches in Myanmar. According to the company, Wave Money paid out more than 19 billion MMK (US$12 million) in agent commissions in 2018, with about 80% of the shops managed by women. The growth of the agent network facilitated service to more than 7 million customers across the country.[10]

Wave Money launched integrated mobile wallet platform WavePay in 2018, which contributed to the growth of the company’s digital business as well as mobile wallet growth in Myanmar. While there was an existing mobile app, WavePay provided customers with more features and services, such as a QR code payments feature.

In June 2018, Wave Money and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), with support from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), launched Shwe Toe (which means “growing gold” in Burmese), an educational mobile app aimed at increasing financial literacy for women in Myanmar.[11]

To cap off 2018, Wave Money received two major awards. It received the Best Technology Solution for Financial Inclusion Award at the Central Banking FinTech RegTech Global Awards in Singapore.[12] Wave Money was also named on KPMG’s Fintech100 list of leading global fintech innovators – the only Myanmar company that made the list and one of 11 in Southeast Asia.[13]

Wave Money has partnered government and non-governmental organizations to bring an end to financial marginalization and provide services to Myanmar’s pensioners. In March 2019, Wave Money signed a digital pension disbursement partnership agreement with Myanma Economic Bank (MEB) to make pension payments easier for government pensioners.[14]

In 2019, Wave Money disbursed approximately 3.7 billion MMK (US$2.5 million) to pensioners and financially marginalized recipients.

Also in 2019, Yoma Strategic Holdings agreed to acquire an additional 10% stake in Wave Money from First Myanmar Investment for US$6 million.[15]

Wave Money ended 2019 with an annual remittance value of 6.4 trillion MMK (US$4.3 billion) – equivalent to nearly 6% of Myanmar’s GDP, and about three times higher than the amount remitted in 2018. As of December 2019, Wave Money had served more than 17 million unique customers.

At the end of 2019, there were more than 56,000 Wave Money agents in 294 out of 330 townships nationwide. Wave Money paid out a total of 55 billion MMK (US$37 million) in agent commissions – more than double the 19 billion MMK in commissions paid out in 2018.[16]

In 2020, Ant Financial Group invested US$73.5 million in Wave Money to become a substantial minority stakeholder, joining existing shareholders Yoma Group and Telenor. Ant Financial Group’s stake in Wave Money will come by way of a new share issuance that is subject to regulatory approval.

In June 2020, Yoma Strategic Holdings established Yoma MFS Holdings (Wave Holdco). Yoma Strategic Holdings plans to acquire the entirety of Telenor Group’s current 51% stake in Wave Money. It plans to invest an additional US$25 million to become the largest controlling shareholder in Wave Money.[17]

Products and Services

Wave Money

Money Transfer: Any person with valid legal identification containing a photograph (national registration card, passport, driver’s license, etc) can conduct a transaction without the need to register. Money can be sent to anyone on a mobile phone with or without a Wave Money account.

Daily Transaction Limit: Wave Money customers can transfer 500,000 MMK to 1 million MMK daily in accordance to Central Bank of Myanmar rules and regulations. This was implemented in March 2020 to reduce the handling of cash payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Security: Wave Money customers must select a six-digit secret code to share with the receiver before funds can be collected. A sender must maintain the secrecy and privacy of the transaction secret code.


WavePay is an integrated mobile wallet platform that supports P2P and P2B money transfer services, mobile top-up and online shopping, along with payment, donation and inter-banking facilities.


Wave Money’s head office is located in Yangon, Myanmar. The address is No (84), Uniteam Marine Building, Pan Hlaing Street, San Chaung Township, Yangon.


  1. "Yoma Strategic to become largest controlling shareholder in Myanmar's Wave Money for total of $141.5 mil". The Edge Singapore.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. "Wave Money leads the way in Myanmar's dash from cash: Startup Stories". KrAsia.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Wave Money enjoying ride in Myanmar". The Nation Thailand.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "Wave Money Aims For Global Recognition". Finews Asia.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "Wave Money triples annual remittance, sees continuing growth in Myanmar". Myanmar Times.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Ant Financial to pour $73.5m into Myanmar fintech firm Wave Money".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Foreign Investment in Mobile Financial Services in Myanmar".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Wave Money Is The First Fintech Company In Myanmar To Launch An Open API Linking Merchants And Customers".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Conversation With Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, Myanmar".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Wave Money Celebrates Outstanding Results in 2018, All Set to Surpass Growth in 2019".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "UNITED NATIONS CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT FUND Myanmar: 2018 Quarter 2 Newsletter".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "Central Banking FinTech & RegTech Global Awards 2018".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. "2018 Fintech100" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "Wave Money team ups with MEB to offer mobile pension service". Myanmar Times.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "YSIL to buy FMI shares in Wave Money for $6m". Eleven Myanmar.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. "Wave Money triples annual remittance, sees continuing growth in Myanmar". Myanmar Times.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "Yoma to buy controlling stake in Myanmar e-payment firm Wave Money". The Straits Times.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External Links

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