KKR And IFC Fuel Payments Technology In The Philippines

While Filipinos still prefer to have cash on hand, many are getting comfortable with at least testing the waters with alternative payment options. A 2018 study by Visa found that almost eight out of 10 Filipinos planned on using their cards for payments instead of cash, while two out of three have tried going cashless. 

In addition, 70 percent said they have gone cashless for at least a few days, citing convenience (58 percent) and safety (47 percent) as the main reasons. And 82 percent of Filipinos surveyed were aware of contactless card payments, up from 71 percent.

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Recently, Philippines payments startup Voyager Innovations announced it is receiving additional support from existing investors, securing $120 million in new funding.

Existing investors — Voyager’s parent company PLDT, China’s Tencent, International Finance Corp (IFC), private equity firm KKR and IFC Emerging Asia Fund — all participated in this latest fundraise. The infusion follows on a previous $215 million investment in Voyager in 2018.

“This fresh round of investment is a testament to Voyager’s success in providing Filipinos with access to convenient, relevant and inclusive digital financial services through PayMaya. This is also a recognition of the significant role that the Philippine financial technology industry can play in providing meaningful digital solutions to many of the crucial and very-human challenges that the Philippine community faces today,” the investors said in a joint statement.

This current round is part of a broader fundraise, with Voyager in discussions with other investors. The money will be used to expand Voyager’s payments platform PayMaya further into the Philippines.

Founded in 2013, Voyager offers mobile money and payments under the PayMaya brand, which is the only end-to-end digital payments ecosystem enabler in the Philippines. The company also enables mobile-based remittances through Smart Padala.

The emergence of COVID-9, which has arrived in the Philippines, has also led FinTechs to ramp up their awareness campaign on the benefits of going cashless—especially after the World Health Organization revealed that paper money can carry the viruses and bacteria that they come in contact with for several days. 

With that in mind, FinTechs including GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, are encouraging Filipinos to use digital payments for everything from buying vitamins and medicine to buying food at markets and restaurants to remove any “potential health risks related to cash handling.”