Maya’s recent debut into the Philippines’ digital banking and cryptocurrency space might be seen as a threat to GCash’s dominance, but GCash is unfazed.
GCash president Martha Sazon has stated that having licenses for such services is not a guarantee of success. She believes that what matters more is how well a company can execute its plans.
“We don’t believe that having a digital banking license is a silver bullet or magic. It’s not like a signboard that you just turn on then expect everyone to come in. There’s real work to acquire users and educate them on more complex financial services,” she said.
Maya is the rebranded version of Paymaya, a financial services platform founded in the Philippines in 2007. Maya launched last week, offering new services such as savings, credit, and investments. It also offers crypto trading services, allowing customers to invest in cryptocurrencies for as little as 1 peso ($0.019).
During the launch, PayMaya founder and CEO Orlando Vea announced that the company is planning to “democratize financial services as you have never seen before.”
In September last year, Maya Bank secured a digital banking license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The digital bank powers all the digital bank services across the Maya app, Maya Business, and Maya Center.
The launch of Maya Bank comes at a time when the Philippines is emerging as a key market for digital banking and cryptocurrency services. According to a report by Global Data, the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing digital banking and alternative payments markets in Asia-Pacific. In 2021, alternative payment tools accounted for 30.7% of the total e-commerce value in the Philippines.
“Although ‘cash on delivery’ continues to remain one of the preferred payment methods for Filipinos, alternative payment solutions have surpassed cash to become the most preferred payment tools for e-commerce purchases over the last few years,” said Nikhil Reddy, payments senior analyst at GlobalData. “This is supported by the rising internet and smartphone penetration, growing consumer preference and rising merchant acceptance.”
GCash, Maya’s top competitor, has been in the digital banking and payments space for much longer, having been founded in 2004. It started out as a mobile wallet service before expanding its reach to include other services such as bills payment, remittances, and even airtime top-ups.
In recent years, GCash has also ventured into the lending space with the launch of its own microloans service. It has also partnered with banks and other financial institutions to offer loans and other services to its users.
Currently, GCash is working with CIMB Bank to offer savings accounts that can be opened and managed through the GCash app.