With its 20-million user base composed mostly of young, working Filipinos, GCash has tailored its mobile financial platform to fuel the growth of the country’s gig economy.
The company sees a huge opportunity in the gig economy and continually innovates to address the needs of freelancers and micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), according to Anthony Thomas, president and chief executive of Mynt (Globe Innovations, Inc.) which operates GCash
“Most of our businesses are micro-businesses, and the gig economy is alive and well. A lot of opportunity comes from freelancers or businesses that employ just a few people. GCash could be a very convenient disbursement platform for them,” Thomas said at the IN_PACT Asia 2019 forum held on May 28 at the ADB headquarters in Manila.
The Philippines’ leading mobile wallet and a pioneer in fintech services, GCash provides an efficient end-to-end payroll to payout solution for Filipinos operating outside the usual employment schemes, Thomas said. It also allows payment acceptance through QR transactions, and InstaPay transfers, which lets users send money to any banks in the Philippines for free.
“We make it very easy to accept payments offline through QR codes, or online with minimum to no cost so entrepreneurs, small businesses and freelancers can really focus on what they need to do rather than worrying about administrative problems in their lives and businesses,” Thomas said.
The Mynt chief executive was one of the speakers representing the fintech sector at the IN_PACT Asia forum, which this year centered on “Convening for Collective Impact.” The event gathered more than 300 social designers and innovators, and over 30 thought leaders and experts on social innovation and impact.
The Philippines, which has one of the youngest workforces in Asia, is an emerging hub for social entrepreneurs, numbering nearly 165,000, and online freelancers, estimated to be around 1.5 million. Self-employed Filipinos make up 26.9% of the country’s 41.2 million labor force, the second biggest category of employed workers, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Still, financial inclusion remains a challenge as 2 out of 3 Filipinos do not have access to bank accounts, and 9 out of 10 do not have access to loan credit.
“But the smartphone penetration is good, and the Philippines is an increasingly social media savvy country… What we’re doing is incentivizing people to go online,” Thomas said, presenting GCash’s financial services, which include GScore, GCredit, GSave and GInvest.
“We’re not stopping at just creating payment convenience in your day-to-day lives. We are ultimately a financial services platform where we collaborate with lenders, asset managers, banks, and insurance companies. And we’ve already launched a way where we’re giving people a digital identity,” Thomas said.
UNDP resident representative Titon Mitra, who was also a guest speaker at the forum, recognized that the most impressive social innovations were coming from emerging economies, citing fintech companies like GCash.
“In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, innovations are imperative,” Mitra said. “It’s not just about fostering social innovations but fostering social innovations with a coherent purpose. If we’re going to drive social innovations the right way, we have to make it everyone’s responsibility.”