Tonik debuts as ‘first neobank’ in PH

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Tonik, which brands itself as Southeast Asia’s first digital-only bank, has formally launched as the “first neobank” in the Philippines.  A neobank is a type of bank that operates exclusively online without traditional physical branch networks.

Tonik Digital Bank president Long Pineda (left) discusses the offerings of the bank during its virtual launch

Tonik said it aims to disrupt the Filipino retail banking industry by bringing to the market a revolutionary and completely branchless way of banking on a secure mobile platform.  

Tonik said it is supervised by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and its deposits are insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC). The bank said its unique cloud-based solution is powered by global financial technology firms Mastercard, Finastra, and Amazon Web Services. 

The company said customers can open a functional banking account in under five minutes using the Tonik App, an ID and a selfie. Tonik account can then be  topped up in various ways, including interbank, debit card, or in cash at different retail agents across the country. 

Immediately upon onboarding, the customer is issued a virtual Mastercard debit card that can be used at a variety of e-merchants.  The product offer will soon be expanded to include a physical debit card or take out an all-digital consumer loan, the bank said. 

“We started Tonik because we were fed up with how traditional banks mistreat their customers.  The fact that 70% of the Filipinos remain unbanked shows that the tedious onboarding process of traditional banks and their ridiculously low interest rates do nothing to satisfy the needs of the consumers.  We believe that banking should be easy, fun, and – like most services these days – right there, in the palm of your hand.  We are using world-class technology to dramatically cut operating costs, which allows us to offer game-changing interest rates and not to charge unfair fees to our customers,” said Tonik founder and CEO Greg Krasnov in a statement. 

“Sadly, traditional banks have completely forgotten how to listen to their customer.  So, we are on a quest to become the first bank brand in the Philippines with a sense of humor and an actual personality that consumers can relate to.  Our mission is to trigger a wave of #NeoBankingRomance in the Philippines.  We expect our proposition for the #NeoNormal to resonate particularly strongly with the ‘digital natives’ in the Philippines, who constitute most of the population,” said Long Pineda, president of Tonik Digital Bank Inc., Tonik’s regulated bank subsidiary in the Philippines.   

Although aiming for a friendly and humorous personality, one of the things that Tonik said it takes seriously is the security of the client’s funds and transactions on its systems. 

Tonik said it is the first bank in the Philippines certified as compliant with PCIDSS, the “gold standard” in payment card security.  Tonik’s systems are also certified by CISA, the authority in global IT security audits. 

The bank said client’s access is protected by the highest level of safety through server-based biometrics, while all passwords and OTPs are subject to military-grade encryption. 

As a major lure, Tonik said it offers deposit interest rates of up to 6% per annum.  To make saving more relevant, fun, and social, Tonik said it also offers unique Stash and Group Stash features, as well as traditional Term Deposits.   

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