Why AirAsia’s embryonic bank faces headwinds

Challenges include developing risk-management skills as well as rising consumer awareness of data privacy. Overcoming these might take more than a zero mark-up on FX transactions.

AirAsia’s launch of a financial services firm has a lot of mileage given the quantum of data the budget airline generates on its passengers, but the challenges to building a profitable lender are substantial.

AirAsia has already conducted a soft launch for the bank dubbed BigPay in Malaysia and later this year will grow it across Southeast Asia and expand its service offering to remittances and lending.

Nurturing the fledgling’s growth, AirAsia is set to create a cashless cabin for the roughly 66 million captive passengers flown on its fleet of planes annually, encouraging them to use BigPay’s digital wallet...

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