Mobile app Cashalo, a joint venture between JG Summit subsidiary Express Holdings and Oriente of Skype and LU.com, is scouting for more partners to boost its fintech business and to become one of the biggest in the country.
Just months old, the company said in a press release that it has already “elevated the economic well-being of tens of thousands Filipinos” and “to serve more communities (Cashalo) is actively seeking strategic partners to add to its existing list”. At the moment, they are partnered with Vivo, IMI Global, Philippine Airport Group Support Solutions, and JG Summit companies such as Cebu Pacific.
Cashalo General Manager Hamilton Angluben said the company is all about inclusion and innovation and for a “lasting, positive social impact” through proprietary technology.
Angluben said the fintech firm fully supports the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) mission to provide more financial access for underserved communities and small/micro businesses since even as the economy have sustainable growth of above six percent, Filipinos still suffer from income inequality.
Citing the BSP’s Financial Inclusion Survey (2017) that more than 77 percent of Filipino adults are unbanked, Cashalo finds this an “alarmingly high number that calls for an immediate evolution of existing financial systems to help bridge these gaps that continue to be major roadblocks to the growth of the Philippine economy.”
The BSP survey also indicated other concerns for low financial inclusion access, such as lack of funds to open a bank account, not having the required documents, joblessness, limited access to affordable credit, and low awareness.
“We firmly believe that a financially inclusive Filipino society can empower and transform the lives of the underbanked and underserved,” said Angluben. “The Philippines is primed to affectively address the challenges. In large part, because of the BSP’s forward-looking ‘sandbox’ approach to regulating the new wave of fintechs as well as highly proficient local talent pool that is eager to affect positive change.”
Cashalo’s mobile-app is designed to complement existing systems and to “bring greater benefits to more individuals and MSMEs by using next generation mobile and data technology.”
Cashalo said it took them months to develop a proprietary infrastructure for mobile, social and behavioral data, proprietary credit engine and risk models for an alternative credit assessment and financial identity for customers. “To put into context, almost 90 percent of Filipino adults have no formal credit score and are considered financially underserved,” it said.
Companies like Cashalo are quickly becoming essential in all facets of financial services from payments to remittances to online lending and insurance. “We look to empower millions of Filipinos with no credit history to build financial identities and allow them to participate in the global economy,” said Angluben.
At the end of 2017, 60 local fintech startups have emerged, according to an industry report cited by Cashalo, and these companies have transaction value of $5.7 billion so far for this year. By 2022, the fintech sector will be worth $10.5 billion.