Promoting financial inclusion through accessible e-wallet | Asian Business Review

Promoting financial inclusion through accessible e-wallet

GCash aims to democratise financial services by making them easy to access, afford, and understand.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for Filipinos to be banked.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 51.2 million Filipinos were unbanked as of 2019, but over 80% of these people had payment transactions. Even before the pandemic, many unbanked Filipinos did not have access to financial services.

Applying for traditional loans requires numerous documents and multiple IDs. Investment and insurance penetration in the Philippines is also low. Ownership of these products is mostly tied to employment, leaving the jobless segment more vulnerable during the public health and financial crisis.

Moreover, given that the Philippines was under government-mandated lockdowns for more than a year, many were left with limited access to banks, payment centres, and groceries to pay their bills and shop for essentials. Businesses also suffered economic losses as a result of the pandemic. This underscored the urgent need for cashless transactions.

To address these concerns and to aid Filipinos, e-wallet GCash set out its main objective to promote financial inclusion for Filipinos by giving them access to an electronic wallet for sending and receiving money and paying bills, along with a host of other financial services such as consumer loans, insurance, and investment products.

The platform aims to democratise financial services by making them easy to access, easy to afford, and easy to understand, especially for the unbanked.

GCash offers various services, such as GSave as a savings account with an annual interest rate of 2.6% and no required maintaining balance; GInvest for investments for as low as P50; and GLoan for loans of up to P25,000.  

The e-wallet also provides accessible means to pay bills, do bank transfers, and other financial services safely anytime, anywhere. It has partnered with several local government units to assist them in efficiently providing benefits and financial aid to the citizens, which was vital during the pandemic.

GCash also enabled Filipino workers abroad to send financial support to their families in the Philippines with various remittance options on the app. As a dynamic app, GCash continuously adds remittance, biller, merchant, and other partners to offer its users more convenient options all on a single platform.

For micro, small, or medium enterprises (MSMEs), GCash offers GCash Pro, a digital business solution that helps MSMEs future-proof and expands their business. It includes an e-wallet size of up to P500,000, five times cashback on bank transfers, and payment links for real-time tracking, amongst others.

GCash also innovates according to the needs of its users. Its lending products are designed around the idea of providing users access to cash when they need it. One of its most recent innovations is GGives, which offers light and flexible installment plans for purchases from P1,000 to P50,000 that can be paid in 3, 6, or 12 months in 24 “gives'' or instalments. It requires no down payment or processing fees.

The convenience and accessibility brought by the digital services of GCash minimised the carbon footprints of customers. This is augmented by GCash’s GForest feature, which allows users to plant trees on the app, which the company then plants in reality. The company has planted one million trees nationwide as of 2021.

GCash has more than 60 million subscribers as of March 2022 and has recorded 17 million peak daily transactions in 2021. This strong performance indicates the reliance of many people on the e-wallet platform, which is not an easy feat considering it was just recently introduced.

The company’s strong performance has been recognised by Asian Technology Excellence Awards, as it clinches the Philippines Technology Excellence Award for E-Wallet - Financial Technology.

The prestigious awards programme aims to recognise exceptional companies that are riding the digital disruption wave and leading the technological revolution and digital transformation journeys in their respective industries.

The Asian Technology Excellence Awards is presented by Asian Business Review. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's outstanding retail initiatives, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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