Local Fintech Startup To Commence Pilot Tests For Rural Banking Sectors

A logo of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) is seen at their main building in Manila, Philippines March 23, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo)

For the first time in the Philippines' rural banking history, an agreement was struck between local fintech startup PearlPay and BHF Rural Bank, Inc. to commence pilot tests on cloud-based solutions that should provide convenient services for bank clients in rural regions.

According to the Manila Bulletin, PearlPay and BHF Rural Bank signed a deal to provide cloud-based services, including e-Wallet options, for rural bank users who have limited Internet access.

If the deal goes through, it will be the first time a rural bank in the Philippines will feature advanced technologies and banking convenience since the country's rural banks have yet to explore fintech (financial technology).

BHF bank President Armand Bonifacio said that in the past, rural banks struggled to engage in e-money settings due largely to expenses. Through the assistance of PearlPay, BHF is expected to cut down on costs and start transitioning to a more digital system.

"PearlPay is one, if not, the most promising enablers out there," Bonifacio said. He added that the pilot program agreement will serve as an example for the entire rural banking sector to understand that even provincial banks can accomplish great things through proper partnership ventures.

PearlPay CEO Spark Perreras pointed out that many Filipinos don't have access to fintech services and this poses a challenge for local companies and groups to address the issue and help the Philippine people obtain the banking service they deserve.

Through the partnership, BHF Rural Bank and PearlPay are expecting to provide improved services for Filipino bank clients. The fintech startup is also looking to extend its solutions for other sectors such as schools, local stores and businesses, and pawn shops.

Meanwhile, the Philippines' fintech circle is slowly rising in the Southeast Asian region. Earlier in March, it was revealed that joint ventures between banks and fintech firms have increased over the last few months.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a number of factors, including improving incomes, mobile use, and consumption, are driving the Philippines' fintech targets forward. Analysts believe it is the right time to adopt technological solutions.

Industry experts recommend expanding financial solutions as the local finance sector is among the key industries that should propel the Philippine economy. They added that fintech services will help with various aspects of life such as education and emergencies.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) revealed that only 23 percent of Filipinos have access to standard financial services and products but through the rise of fintech in the Philippines, analysts are expecting more people to receive finance-related service.

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