According to Miguel Warren, VP and regional head for Southeast Asia at Payoneer, there are roughly 1.5 million freelancers in the Philippines and before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The country ranked first 1st among the fastest-growing gig-economy markets in the world with a remarkable 208% year-on-year growth.
Gig economy or short-term contracts or freelance work for different types of services. Payoneer said that “the youth movement is led by freelancers in Asia, where 82% of the survey respondents are under 35, compared to only 47% in North America.”
Payoneer started offering its services in the Philippines in 2009 and Warren was named country manager in 2016 tasked to build the Philippine team and to grow the business and the market “by introducing Payoneer to all of the different stakeholders involved.”
Payoneer recently undertook a brand refresh to reflect its promise “to be for everyone everywhere.” Based on its data, the company posted a triple-digit growth or in the last five years.
“Since setting up shop locally, Payoneer has helped millions of freelancers and small businesses tap into the global economy, enabling them to send and receive hundreds of millions of dollars in payments between different countries, a feat almost unheard of decades ago,” the company said in a statement.
Payoneer said that it has been actively working with local businesses of all sizes — from emerging BPO’s, small businesses that provide services to customers in different countries, to sellers who sell on Amazon and on eBay — a clear boon in these times.
“For freelancers in the Philippines, they now gain access to clients from all over the world,” Warren said. “They also enjoy the ability to work in either a marketplace or through a platform like Upwork that connects potential employers with potential freelancers. They also can choose to go directly to clients.”
To do this, users simply have to connect their Payoneer account to, say, Upwork which will then allow them to receive money on their account. If they have a direct client, they can send an invoice directly and get paid (in different currencies) through the platform.
”If I wanted to use the funds, I could connect it to my local bank and withdraw in pesos at fair and competitive exchange rates. We can also provide a card for online transactions or ATM withdrawals,” Warren said. “Or, you can use the money in your Payoneer account to transfer to other Payoneer users.”
Warren said that when the pandemic hit in 2020, the business and the fintech space as a whole were not spared its debilitating effects especially given the disruption to the global supply chains and e-commerce.
These days, however, Warren noted a steady industry turnaround toward growth and recovery compared to last year, thanks in part to strategic partnerships with firms like GCash, a mobile wallet in the Philippines, a move that gives freelancers and MSMEs access to seamless global to local payment transactions.
“We’d like our customers (freelancers and entrepreneurs) to enjoy meaningful engagements with us, to gain from our product offerings,” Warren said. “Through the additional services we have on offer, we’d like to improve not just the way they do business, but also to help them grow.”