Tonik Digital BankCloud

Tonik taps Google Cloud to scale up fintech infrastructure

Neobank Tonik Digital Bank (Tonik) has tapped Google Cloud’s advanced platform to scale its financial technology infrastructure to build on application programming interface (API) management, machine learning (ML) and data analytics.

Tonik, which is part of Singapore-headquartered fintech firm Tonik Financial Pte. Ltd., was launched in March 2021 after obtaining an initial rural bank license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Its digital platform provides core services like deposits with interest rates of up to 6% per annum. There are also unique features for customers to create separate pockets of savings to meet specific goals over time called “Stashes,” such as affording a vacation, a college education, or accumulating an emergency fund.

“Google Cloud has enabled us to deliver frictionless and customer-centric services that allow Filipinos to easily embrace the financial system,” said Greg Krasnov, founder and CEO, Tonik. “This collaboration will empower us to continue expanding our product portfolio and drive real societal impact across the region.”

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With the BSP requiring banks to conduct due diligence by verifying each customer’s identity to prevent fraud and money laundering, applying for an account traditionally involves individuals having to first visit a physical branch to present valid government-issued identification (ID) to an officer. This makes it difficult for millions of Filipinos to open accounts or make deposits. Unlike urban cities that have bank branches or ATMs at every corner, the people in rural Philippines must travel long distances and arrive before the branch closes.

API

By using Google Cloud’s Apigee API Management platform to build and scale open banking APIs, Tonik could quickly integrate its mobile application with capabilities from third-party providers to make account opening and cash deposits fast, seamless and convenient.

To help Filipinos set up accounts in under five minutes, instead of hours or days, Tonik interoperates with Daon, its partner for automated customer onboarding and biometric authentication. The process starts with Tonik asking the customer for a selfie and a scanned copy of their ID. Tonik extracts text from these images through Google Cloud’s optical character recognition (OCR) APIs and shares the information with Daon through another trusted API. Daon then cross-checks the customer’s identity against official sources that issued the ID. This complex data flow is invisible to the user, who only needs to download the Tonik mobile application, verify their identity for account opening, and start banking.

Using APIs, Tonik also exchanges data securely with authorized ecosystem partners like 7-Eleven convenience stores and pawn shops to capture transactions in real-time. When a user makes a deposit at a 7-Eleven, which are readily available across the Philippines, they would see the completed transaction on their Tonik application and start earning interest immediately.

Google Cloud Storage

Tonik currently serves more than 190,000 customers. To further advance financial inclusion and achieve its target of growing its active customer base to a million users by December 2022, the bank has built an intelligent data lake using Cloud Storage on Google Cloud and BigQuery to provide hyper personalized customer experiences and help many Filipinos access loans for the first time.

With data generated from every event along the customer journey and residing across systems, connecting datasets and analyzing them manually is an uphill task. A cloud-based contact center software, for example, captures customer interactions and feedback across channels, while a core banking system captures deposits and withdrawals.

By unifying data across systems and applying machine learning, Tonik can, for instance, implement quick and accurate alternative credit scoring methods. This enables it to serve individuals who have not formally engaged with financial institutions in the past, have no credit histories, and do not qualify for traditional bank loans as a result. Tonik has recently pioneered a consumer lending product called “Quick Loan” without the need for credit histories or collateral, followed by approvals within 30 minutes and real-time disbursement.