Research Insights Evolving fintech in super apps

Evolving fintech in super apps

October 2023
Phocuswright Research

This is an excerpt from Phocuswright’s Super Apps Secret Sauce, part of Travel Innovation and Technology Trends 2023 series

Payments are the cornerstone super app function because they create a seamless way for users to make purchases across services with zero friction. Many super apps incorporate fintech services such as digital wallets. Payment systems include WeChat Pay, Alipay, GrabPay, Line Pay, KakaoPay … the list goes on. These can be used in conjunction with debit/credit cards, stored value, peer-to-peer transactions, micro-loans, loyalty rewards and other financial services.

Fintech services have grown both inside and outside of travel, with companies like Hopper, Venmo/Paypal, Revolut, Block and others all vying for super app status. Venmo, for example, may have launched as a peer-to-peer payment tool, but the product has evolved into a digital wallet, expanding its capabilities to include credit/debit cards and cryptocurrency trading. Mobile payment company Block (formerly Square) began as a payments platform for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs). The company has subsequently launched or acquired other businesses including Cash App, buy now, pay later (BNPL) service Afterpay, audio/video streaming service Tidal and web-host Weebly. These assets put Block in a good position to make inroads as a super app. U.K.-based Revolut has combined digital banking with payment cards, crypto/stock trading and more. These general fintech companies already have in place the payment element needed to create a super app.

In travel, Hopper has been the fintech standout in recent years. The company has built a devoted following of younger travelers. In addition to flights, lodging and rental cars, the company offers a range of fintech products, including price freeze, price prediction, price drop guarantee and cancel for any reason. These products are available both on the Hopper app and to other companies via Hopper Cloud. The company also includes the Hopper Wallet, which allows users to store cash rewards.

Meanwhile, Apple Pay and Google Pay have gained traction for payments, but both operate on top of traditional payment methods (i.e., debit and credit cards). A fintech service that can bypass traditional payments (and their fees), could help to fuel adoption. Meta is vying for its own share of the digital wallet via Meta Pay.

Part of a content series that explores some of the most significant technology-driven trends that will influence travel distribution in 2023 and beyond, this article explores the interplay between super apps and travel consumption, on the following metrics:

  • Overview of leading super app players in Asia
  • Key ingredients for super app success
  • Hurdles in building this app model in new markets
  • Leveraging social, fintech, gamification and more

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