GoTyme introduces ‘supermarket banking’ to underserved markets in the Philippines
Tyme Group plans to replicate its digital banking business in South Africa throughout the Philippines with the launch of GoTyme Bank, a joint venture with the Gokongwei Group as it shifts its playbook to cater to a more diversified market
- Market penetration through brand association
- Physical distribution stations dominate with 80% same-day deposit and user activation
- Stepping up to underserved markets in the Philippines
GoTyme was soft launched in the Philippines in October 2022. The bank offers customers instant account opening and a debit card at kiosks across Robinsons Retail locations nationwide to serve a non-traditional target market. The Singapore-based Tyme Group first established TymeBank in South Africa in February 2019.
Market penetration through brand association
The Philippines has over 1,000 malls, usually a one-stop shopping centre that includes restaurants, government service centres and banks. One of the largest mall chains in the country is Robinsons Malls, owned by retail and real estate giant, Gokongwei Group.
Nathaniel Clarke, CEO of GoTyme Bank and co-founder of Tyme, shared that it took them five years of research and another year for establishing the brand in the Philippines with Gokongwei. The partnership gives Tyme access to 54 malls and over 300 retail locations with 120 million visits recorded annually.
Clarke added that through Gokongwei Group’s existing digital ecosystem, and Davi, an analytic venture entity that analyses consumer patterns, insights and engagements, GoTyme is set to explore new heights in digital banking.
The bank has plans to get on board with Bank of Philippine Island’s (BPI) infrastructure capabilities since BPI is now affiliated with the Gokongwei Group.
Physical distribution stations dominate with 80% same day deposit and user activation
In South Africa, Tyme recorded 75% of its 6.5 million customers using physical channels to register as customers. The market showed a preference towards a physical centre despite the availability and convenience of mobile banking during its launch in 2019.
Even with the rise of e-transfers in South Africa during the pandemic (2020-2021), Tyme only recorded 5% to 7% in digital payment transactions, and projections for 2025 shows that 67% will still transact offline and only 33% online.
Tyme has discovered that for markets with lower financial literacy like South Africa and the Philippines, domestic remittance has a higher demand. Remittance centres in South Africa are usually owned by supermarkets, giving rise to the idea for ‘supermarket banking’ in the Philippines.
Today, GoTyme has 150 kiosks in the Philippines and plans to expand to 400 by the end of 2023. These kiosks allow customer onboarding in 10 to 15 minutes and customers can also receive a Visa debit card right away, while other banking options may take up to five working days.
GoTyme has already recorded 300,000 customers onboarding in the first four months since October 2022, with 70% registering at its kiosks with an average of 20 registrations per day at each. This is higher than Tyme Group’s record in South Africa of six per day.
Stepping up to underserved markets in the Philippines
Filipinos with bank accounts have increased to 56% from 29% in 2019, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), but this is still relatively low compared to neighbors like Malaysia with 88% of the population holding a bank account, and Thailand with 96%. BSP indicated that the increase was attributed to the uptake of digital accounts during the pandemic.
Digital banking in the Philippines is still a nascent industry that is likely to see significant growth in the coming years, but still relatively small compared to other Southeast Asian economies such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, that have large populations and more advanced digital banking ecosystems.
Jumping directly to pure digital can only work with Gen Z and young millennials, according to Clarke, and the underserved market in the Philippines has less trust in digital finance. GoTyme decided to pursue the pent-up demand through supermarket banking.
Clarke said: “The way we measure the real cost of acquisition is not the cost to get a consumer sign up; it’s the cost to get the customer active. And this is where the combo of ambassadors and cashiers of supermarkets is a killer.” Clarke says that after getting a customer to sign up, the supermarket ambassadors will walk the customer to the cashier to teach them how to use their account. Clarke added: “Within minutes, you can immediately transact.”
GoTyme will be launching an in-app chat in May 2023 to answer customer service inquiries and expand its digital offers and capabilities. The bank has plans to integrate with the Robinsons Retail Group’s rewards card system.
Clarke is already exploring opportunities for a new venture—GoTyme plans to offer Filipinos high-yield investments, affordable credit and short-term borrowing, and flat-rate savings accounts.