Mobile remittance brand Smart Padala is expanding its services with a suite of digital services that include bills payment, add money to PayMaya accounts, loans disbursement, and QR payments.
At present, Smart Padala has 26,000 active partners and covers 85 percent of municipalities in the Philippines.
“We want to help micro-entrepreneurs grow their business and improve their lives (in the process) by increasing Smart Padala’s services,” said Paolo Azzola, COO and Managing Director at PayMaya Philippines.
The addition of these digital services is also the answer to the government’s call for the acceleration of financial inclusion among Filipinos. According to the Inclusive Digital Finance Report released by FINTQ in 2017, more than 70 percent of provinces have medium to low access to formal financial services, effectively leaving them out of the growing digital economy.
In the media release provided, Azola calls Smart Padala as a “critical ingredient” in building a cashless Philippines. The new digital services will allow users to maximize the use of smartphones in making financial transactions.
The move transforms Smart Padala’s network of remittance agents into digital community hubs, serving as critical links for consumers at the grassroots level to access digital services.
A significant number of Smart Padala centers or partners are sari-sari stores or neighborhood sundry stores. Remittance is a popular method of sending and receiving money within the country and one of the reasons behind this is its relatively low remittance fee compared to banks. Also, many Filipinos in far-flung areas remain unbanked.
Smart Padala has been focused on serving local remittance industry but Azola revealed that they may be rolling out international remittances soon.
The Christmas season is the peak season of the remittance business as many overseas Filipino workers send money to their families in the Philippines to use for the festivities.