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Fintech provides gov’t, businesses new ways to serve the unbanked and underserved in PH

Department of Information and Communications Technology Assistant Secretary Allan Cabanlong shares the government's initiatives to build a cyber-resilient country at Seamless Philippines 2018

E-wallets, blockchain, and other innovations in finance technology (fintech) will continue to grow in significance and become key drivers in pushing forward financial inclusion in the Philippines, according to various presenters at Seamless Philippines. 

The event gathered over 3,800 entrepreneurs, business executives, and professionals for a discussion on digital payments, e-commerce, retail, and identity recently at SMX Convention Center.

“By challenging assumptions, reimagining processes, and providing enabling tools, fintech is able to make space for new products and solutions that can connect the unbanked and unserved markets, especially in developing countries like the Philippines, to important government, financial, and social services,” said Sharon Roessen, managing director of Terrapinn, the organizer behind Seamless Philippines. “We created Seamless building on 20 years of experience running Asia’s largest and longest running conference focused on cards and payments and transforming it into a dynamic summit and large scale exhibition of the converging worlds of ecommerce, retail and payments.”

Fintech firms drive financial inclusion

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According to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the number of Filipino adults who own an account is estimated at 15.8 million or around one fourth of total adult population. Ownership of an account that can be used to save money, receive salary, send or receive remittance, and pay bills is a basic indicator of financial inclusion.

Featuring 165 speakers in seven theatres, Seamless Philippines brought in industry disruptors and leaders to deliver highly focused presentations and case studies. 

Rajan Narayan of BPC Banking Technologies, a company supplying banks, processors, merchants and other ecosystem players with the right technology to create relevant services for their customers, shared retail payments business transformation solutions.

“We at BPC see a significant shift in the region to cashless and transparent payments initiatives,” said Narayan. “We were delighted to participate  in Seamless Philippines 2018 to connect with industry professionals and organizations as well as showcase SmartVista suite of products to enlighten them about digital banking, Omni channel experiences, contactless payments, e-wallets, and the various ways we can help them future-proof their payment processes. BPC provides comprehensive, flexible, and customer-oriented technology services that help organizations innovate and improve their payment services.” 

Meanwhile, Zoilo Jesus Dela Cruz of Nationlink Network, an ATM network providing modern electronic financial products and services to the countryside, discussed how his network builds a more financial inclusive system by working with bottom-tiered financial institutions.

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“For 35 years, Nationlink has been fostering financial inclusion for the Philippines by giving rural communities access to modern banking services,” said Dela Cruz. “By sharing our key insights and experiences at Seamless Philippines 2018, we hoped to empower more institutions in transforming lives of families in remote towns and provinces through fintech innovations so no one gets left behind.”

Ride-hailing platform Grab announced the local launch of GrabPay, its mobile wallet solution for bills payment and purchases outside the company’s transport services. The Philippines is the fourth Southeast Asian market introducing the innovation, according to GrabPay Managing Director Huey Tyng Ooi. 

Engaging with government leaders

The event also welcomed government speakers to touch on various digital innovations facilitating the improvement of various public services. These include Makati Mayor Abigail Binay-Campos, Representative Sharon S. Garin, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Director and Spokeperson James Jimenez, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Assistant Secretary and Executive Director of CICC Allan Cabanlong, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Undersecretary and National Statistician Lisa G. Bersales, among others. 

Next year, Seamless Philippines will return to Manila on September 25-26, 2019.  

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