PayMaya owner raises $167 million for launching digital bank

Karthik Subramanian

Voyager Innovations, the company that is behind the mobile payment app PayMaya in the Phillipines, has announced that it has raised $167 million from investors as it begins preparations for launching a digital bank.

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The latest round of funding was done by the local telco PLDT and investment companies like KKR, Tencent, and others and this would be used to expand the offerings and the services as well.

PayMaya is by far the largest mobile payments app with a mobile wallet and digital remittance being the main features of this app. It is currently being used by over 38 million people in the Philippines which is more than half of the adult population in the country. This shows the size of the market that the company holds.

While it has dominated the retail user industry, over the last few months, it has seen a large uptake among businesses as well who want to use the platform for accepting credit, debit and prepaid cards and this business continues to boom. So, the next logical step for the company is to launch a digital bank so that it can give loans, insurance, and other related products to its users.

Shailesh Baidwan, president, Voyager, and PayMaya, says: “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.”

As we have covered in many recent reports, the payments industry is likely to grow manifold in the coming months as more and more users are getting comfortable in using their mobile phones for their financial transactions. The new generation of users spends most of their time online which is why the banks and many financial firms are shifting their focus to the digital world. Many companies have also started having an online-only model and digital banks rightly fit into such a narrative.

Digital banking provides a win-win situation as the users are very comfortable with that and at the same time, for the bank also, it is easy to manage and regulate things that are fully online and automated. The bank would also be able to save up on a lot of infrastructure costs as far as digital banking is concerned and it is expected that most of the bank branches would disappear a few years down the line as every financial transaction shifts online.

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