Tuesday, March 5, 2024

With new $167-M funding, PayMaya readies expansion into digital banking

Voyager Innovations, the operator of digital wallet PayMaya, has announced that it raised $167 million to fast-track its digital financial services through PayMaya and its soon-to-be-established digital bank.

Photo from PayMaya

Participating in the funding were existing shareholders PLDT, global investment firm KKR, and Chinese tech giant Tencent.

The investment includes $121 million in fresh funding and $46 million from previously committed funds. KKR makes its investment from its Asia private equity fund. IFC Emerging Asia Fund, a fund managed by IFC AMC, is also an investor in Voyager.

The fundraising marks another milestone for Voyager after having grown PayMaya’s mobile wallet, payments processing, and digital remittance businesses.

Voyager said it will use the new funds to expand its PayMaya services and introduce new products such as credit, insurance, savings, and investments through a soon-to-be-established digital bank.

Once granted a digital bank license by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the new entity is expected to provide mobile-first and branchless neo-banking services on the back of PayMaya’s technology platforms.

Orlando B. Vea, Voyager and PayMaya CEO and founder, said: “We have seen a quantum leap for digital payments adoption in the Philippines over the past year, and PayMaya has served as the nexus connecting consumers and enterprises with enriching digital finance experiences. This investment supports the unique value we bring and gives us a natural head start with the target market for the digital banking service.”

In January this year, PayMaya began expanding its digital financial services offerings with “sachet” loans for MSMEs through its lending arm, PayMaya Lending Corp., and health and device protection products with insurance partners.

PayMaya introduced its first lending product called Negosyo Advance last January among its 40,000-strong Smart Padala agent network. Smart Padala agents are typically microentrepreneurs in communities who need short-term working capital loans for their day-to-day businesses.

Shailesh Baidwan, Voyager and PayMaya president, said: “As we did with payments and remittances, we will enable the large masses of Filipinos to leapfrog into a new stage of financial inclusion through integrated digital financial services. Our goal is to continue making lives better for millions of underserved people and small businesses, with cutting edge solutions that are affordable and relevant.”

In the Philippines, only one in three Filipino adults has a formal bank account and has loans. Of those who have loans, only 3% have borrowed from banks, and more than 77% and 75% of the population do not have insurance and investments, respectively.

The BSP aims to digitalize 50% of the total volume of retail payments and expand the financially included to 70% of Filipino adults by 2023.

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