“FinTech” (short for Financial Technology) is an extremely hot industry sector in business today. Talk to any tech investor or Venture Capitalist out there and they will tell you how investment into Fintech companies and start-ups has soared in the past 2 years. In 2016 alone, according to data accumulated by investment bank Financial Technology Partners, FinTech companies globally raised a total of US$36 billion in funding.
FinTech is especially attractive in emerging markets like the Philippines because of the massive opportunity to serve those without access to efficient payments and banking services today. And according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), this number of “underbanked” or “unbanked” Filipinos is still around 70% of working adults today.
However, skim through these FinTech companies and you’ll find that most, if not all, existing FinTech players have a skew towards an app-based service or digital-first business model.
Enter TrueMoney, the latest mobile financial services provider in the market. The company started out with a totally different view of how to provide FinTech services— its focus on face-to-face transactions.
“Our mission is to provide affordable and innovative financial services to those who are underbanked and underserved today,” says TrueMoney Philippines CEO Xavier Marzan. “That means going beyond a purely digital UI (user interface) and being present in the physical world where these segments are transacting today.”
The strategy seems to be working. The company has only been in operations in the Philippines for less than a year and yet has achieved a level of size and scale that some of these FinTech start-ups are still aspiring for. In a matter of months, the company has grown from nothing into an organization with hundreds of employees across the country and with a distribution network comprised of 5,000 TrueMoney Centers which they manage with a high standard. These Centers are currently capable of performing remittance transactions, bills payment, gaming credits, and even payments for e-commerce purchases.
“We need to bring underserved customers who don’t even use banking services today along a customer journey. This requires us to be pervasive across the country and be able to serve customers even in farther-flung areas,” Marzan adds.
“Getting to this point, however, has not been easy,” says Mr. Marzan. “We had to contend with all kinds of challenges that are inherent in a ‘last mile’ business.”
True enough, access to financial services has been hard to come by in majority of places in the Philippines, with nearly 40% of municipalities in the country not having any banking presence, according to a study by the BSP.
Currently, TrueMoney Centers in the Philippines already provide convenient payments and financial services to provinces and far flung areas including Albay, Bataan, Benguet, Bohol, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Ilocos, Isabela, Laguna, La Union, Metro Manila, Misamis Oriental, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, Tarlac, and Zambales and more!
“Where we are today is just the starting point,” Marzan says. “We are constantly growing our network of partner centers to cover more greenfield areas.”
Given its large network today, TrueMoney has also started to offer domestic money remittance services. And true to its mission of providing affordable services, it has come out with one of the lowest sending rates in the country for cash-to-cash remittance services.
While the average rates for domestic remittances today range from 3 percent to more than 10 percent for some providers, TrueMoney rates go as low as only 2 percent of the transaction amount—without any additional charges to the recipient. So say for remittances of P1,000, the total cost of sending is only P20. The recipient also gets the entire amount without any additional charges.
“We are also constantly innovating our services and plan to offer more services in the future,”, says Marzan.
To know more about TrueMoney and how to become a TrueMoney partner agent, visit www.truemoney.com.ph or call (02) 7189999. You may even text them at 09778063775 (Globe) or 0998565999 (Smart).