Saturday, 08 May 2021

Mastercard partners with Philippines’ digital bank tonik to accelerate financial inclusion

Mastercard announced a new partnership agreement with tonik, a two-year-old startup that recently received a bank licence in the Philippines. The partnership will further enhance tonik’s market proposition by enabling it to issue a range of electronic payments products that taps into Mastercard’s global network and extensive business intelligence.

Internet penetration in the Philippines is at 67% and one third of the population are millennials, many of whom are digital natives. According to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), however, over 70% of the country’s population are unbanked. At the same time, 60% of Filipinos who are either in the formal banking system or can become part of the system, are willing to use offerings that are digitally focused. Achieving financial inclusion by leveraging financial technology has been top on the agenda for BSP, which has set the goal of doubling the number of Filipinos with formal bank accounts by 2023.

Driving digital financial inclusion and expanding access to formal financial services for the unserved and underserved population is one of the cornerstones of tonik’s proposition. As a mobile-only digital bank with a digital-first approach, tonik is able to develop highly customised, scalable banking solutions that fit the needs of a customer base that is incredibly diverse, ranging from people who are just making their first forays into the formal banking system, through to customers who have held accounts and used financial products for most of their adult lives.

“We want to empower the underserved and unserved Filipinos by giving them simple, accessible and fast digital banking experiences. We want our customers to easily gain familiarity with transacting and banking digitally in order to help them harness the full potential of the rapidly changing digital economy. Our partnership with Mastercard is about injecting more speed, scale and performance into all facets of our business. Having immediate access to Mastercard’s global payment network, safety and security technology, data and analytics services, artificial intelligence technology and cybersecurity capabilities will be essential to tonik’s growth and success in today’s digital-first reality,” Greg Krasnov, CEO and Founder of tonik, said.

Orchestrating this partnership is Mastercard Fintech Express, a tailored programme that provides fintechs, such as tonik, with increased speed-to-market, access to a suite of digital-first products and a cross functional team of experts to provide strategic counsel and advisory across product, partnerships, licencing and legal to be able to successfully build their offerings.

“The entire payments ecosystem thrives when fintechs have access to the technology they need to reach scale and make finances widely accessible,” Rama Sridhar, Executive Vice President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows for Asia Pacific at Mastercard, said.

“tonik exemplifies an agile and innovative fintech whose ambition of driving financial inclusion in the Philippines through digital-first products and seamless consumer experiences is closely aligned with Mastercard’s mission to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone. tonik’s ability to secure a bank licence as a startup is nothing short of exceptional, and Mastercard is delighted to partner with them to enhance the Philippines’ digital banking space and to boost the nation’s financial inclusion journey,” Sridhar added.

tonik will launch with a full range of banking services, including a transactional savings account with a debit card, savings and term deposit accounts with attractive interest rates, as well as a range of consumer loans in the third quarter of 2020. Debit Mastercard cards will be available to customers at the end of 2020 and will allow customers to transact and withdraw cash from everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Additional services, such as loans, credit cards and fund transfer categories, will be made available in the course of 2021.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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