UnionBank, Lazada and Mastercard launch the Philippines’ first e-commerce credit card

Add to card everything you love with exclusive online shopping rewards

Manila, Philippines, August 8 – Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and Lazada Philippines, together with Mastercard, have launched the all new UnionBank Lazada Credit Card, the country’s first e-commerce credit card that makes online shopping even more rewarding.

UnionBank, Lazada and Mastercard launch the Philippines’ first e-commerce credit card

The new UnionBank Lazada Credit Card is the only credit card that allows cardholders to directly earn up to 6x Lazada wallet credits from their online spend at Lazada – the highest earning rate among other credit cards in the market.

Every P200.00 spend at Lazada purchases earns cardholder with P6.00 Lazada credits. Meanwhile, cardholder earns P1.00 for every P200.00 on all other purchases outside Lazada.

“As the country’s leading digital bank, we’re truly excited about this new partnership because we believe the new UnionBank Lazada Credit Card will enable us to serve the growing needs of Filipino shoppers in this rapidly changing digital economy,” said UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista.

During these uncertain times, UnionBank Lazada Credit Card gives customers a new safe and secure payment option for their online transactions. As another testament to UnionBank’s digital banking technology, the UnionBank Lazada credit card also introduces a new virtual credit card – which cardholders can use for online transactions without waiting for the physical card to be issued.

The cardholder will receive the virtual card, activate and use it to make online purchases immediately once application is approved. The virtual card can be viewed safely through the UnionBank Online app, with security controls including biometrics and one-time-password (OTP).

A physical card will also be delivered to cardholders for their face-to-face, point-of-sale transactions.

It is a privilege to collaborate with UnionBank as we work towards creating a secure and inclusive digital economy in the Philippines. With more people turning to the Lazada platform to meet their needs, the new UnionBank Lazada Credit Card will empower Filipino customers to get more value from their purchases as they embrace a cashless digital lifestyle,” said Ray Alimurung, Lazada Philippines’ Chief Executive Officer. 

“We’re excited to partner with Lazada Philippines and launch this newest co-brand credit card with the highest earn rate of up to 6X rewards at Lazada. Especially in this digital age and in the backdrop of limited mobility due to the global pandemic, more and more shopping is done online, and this card is the perfect product to use at Lazada. The more you shop at Lazada, the more you earn credits,” added Ana Delgado, UnionBank Consumer Finance Center head.  “I invite everyone to experience how UnionBank Lazada Credit Mastercard makes adding to cart and checking out a rewarding experience. So add to card now!”

“Mastercard is pleased to partner with the country’s multi-awarded digital bank and the top e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia to deliver more value to Filipino e-customers. The UnionBank-Lazada Credit Card is a demonstration of Mastercard’s global expertise in co-brands and its continuing commitment to bringing digital solutions that enable a seamless and secure shopping experience online,” said Rowell del Fierro, country manager in the Philippines for Mastercard.

On top of that, cardholders need not compute for any point conversion. Earned rewards are in the form of peso value credits, plus earned credits can be conveniently transferred to the cardholder’s Lazada Wallet using their UnionBank Online app with just a few clicks, anytime, anywhere.

Enjoy exclusive shopping benefits at Lazada with the new UnionBank Lazada Credit Card! Get P5,000 Lazada Wallet credits as a welcome gift when application is approved for a UnionBank Lazada Credit Mastercard (Terms & Conditions apply).  Enjoy free monthly shipping of up to P50.00 and free discount vouchers of up to P250.00 during their Mega Sales (birthday sale, mid-year sale, 9.9, 11.11. 12.12). Special discounts and exclusive sales also await cardholders from Lazada.

Apply now and start a new digital shopping experience at Lazada with the new UnionBank Lazada Credit Card at www.unionbankph.com or www.lazada.com.ph. Get ready to #AddToCard everything you love at Lazada’s 8.8 Shop Local Bounce Back Sale on August 6-8 and show your support to homegrown brands!

Philippine Bureau of the Treasury is among Asia’s pioneers in leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) for bond distribution

The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), together with Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) – a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) licensed entity, is the first in Asia to launch an app for the distribution of government bonds enabled by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

Philippine Bureau of the Treasury is among Asia’s pioneers in leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) for bond distribution

National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon said, “The launch of Bonds.PH paves the way for all Filipinos, particularly the unbanked, to easily and affordably invest in the BTr’s newest retail treasury bond, RTB-24. The mobile app presents a compelling opportunity for all to invest and help the Republic raise funds for economic recovery and COVID-19 response.”

Bonds.PH makes bond investing easy. It’s completely digital and available 24/7. Filipinos can invest in retail treasury bonds by downloading the app and pay, for as low as PHP 5,000.00, using InstaPay, GCash, Paymaya, and digital as well as over-the-counter at UnionBank.

Treasurer De Leon, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and UnionBank Vice Chair Justo Ortiz onsite, together with BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua virtually, did a demo of the Bonds.PH app at the official launch held yesterday.

“This is the first retail treasury bond issuance to leverage on blockchain technology – in Asia, and likely the world,” said Edwin R. Bautista, UnionBank President and CEO. “The Philippines is ready to lead the way into the future and tech up the nation with innovative, inclusive opportunities, powered by emerging technologies, for the benefit of all Filipinos.”

Bonds.PH is blockchain-enabled as transactions are recorded in a DLT-based registry in addition to the existing NROSS system. DLT enables immutable and tamper-proof record-keeping as it is recorded on the blockchain.

According to Nichel Gaba, Founder and CEO of PDAX – a fintech investment of UBX (a UnionBank subsidiary), “DLT or blockchain technology is governance by design with its cryptography and programmable smart contracts. This advantage allows the blockchain not only to preserve truth, but also to automate payments, enforce rules, and facilitate complex transactions via smart contracts at little to no cost.”

As such, DLT reduces manual verification and simplifies reconciliation bringing down processing time and costs. This is why the BTr sanctioned the pioneering effort so that through the pilot it can determine if leveraging DLT makes retail treasury bond distribution to the unbanked feasible and economically viable.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) commended the groundbreaking endeavor.

“I want to congratulate the Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) for this important milestone,” said MAS Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty.

He added that, “2020 will be the year of commercialization of blockchain technology in the ASEAN region, and BTr’s efforts to build a DLT registry for bond issuance accelerates the success of the most exciting technology of our time. The blockchain community in Singapore will work together with the Philippines to share learnings, open-source resources and also facilitate connecting corresponding nodes to integrate market infrastructure for transparency and interoperability. The recently released Project Ubin Phase 5 findings by MAS will facilitate the creation of robust blockchain rails for future value creation.”

Chia Hock Lai, Co-Chairman of the Blockchain Association Singapore (BAS) and Chairman of the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) said BAS and SFA are one with the MAS in fully supporting the Philippines and UnionBank in utilizing blockchain for financial inclusion.

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) likewise offered its support.

“With our mandate to facilitate financial inclusion while maintaining investor protection, we support this initiative, which makes use of Distributed Ledger Technology,” said SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong. “We look forward to the results from this initiative, which will contribute greatly to future DLT use cases for capital markets,” he added. The Philippine SEC is among the more progressive regulators in the world having released rules on crowdfunding, as well as draft rules on digital assets and digital exchanges.

Meanwhile, the BSP lauded the initiative for its impact on inclusive prosperity, “Given our advocacy to accelerate the digital delivery of financial services while deepening financial inclusion, we view Bonds.PH as a welcome addition to the expanding suite of available financial products serving wide market segments via innovative delivery channels and bridging the financially excluded,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

“From the basic easing of the public’s access to transaction accounts to now this offering of retail treasury bonds to the masses in a simplified yet secure manner, shows the remarkable progress of our shared financial inclusion agenda. This surely marks the transition of blockchain technology from its buzzword status to a feasible, production grade solution capable of democratizing access to digital financial services,” said the Central Bank Chief.

“We look forward to the expansive adoption and success of this initiative and the public can always count on the BSP to remain supportive of responsible digital financial innovations,” he added.

UnionBank Vice Chair Ortiz, who also serves as Chairman of the Distributed Ledger Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP) and the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI) added that, “Democratizing investment through digital channels and Distributed Ledger Technology allows all Filipinos to contribute to and accrue the benefits of nation building. Every Aling Belen and Mang Juan can save and invest. Download Bonds.PH now from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and invest in our country!”

Union Bank of the Philippines Bridges the Gap for Unbanked Filipinos through Cash-out via 11,000 Remittance Outlets Nationwide

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently rolled out more cash-out options for customers via 11,000 remittance counters across the Philippines, including in rural areas where most of the unbanked and underserved population are located.

Union Bank of the Filippines

This makes UnionBank the first Philippine bank to launch the largest cash-out network in the country – a crucial step seen to significantly improve access to financial services for communities amidst the current pandemic.

Recognizing that sending funds to families and relatives living in provinces has been challenging, especially in far-flung areas where ATMs and bank branches are scarce or unavailable, UnionBank identified that the best course of action to address this concern was to enable customers to send money from home via its app to remittance counters in underserved areas.

The Bank leveraged existing partnerships with top Philippine fintechs such as Dragonpay and Coins.ph, as well as remittance centers Cebuana Lhuillier, LBC, PeraHub and Palawan Express. Integrating the service on UnionBank’s app was made possible in a short amount of time through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) exposed on the Bank’s API Developer Portal/ Marketplace. This also enabled rural banks, who are currently on the UnionBank’s i2i network, to connect to the payout counters, allowing their account holders to send or withdraw funds from these non-traditional outlets.

In just a couple of weeks, UnionBank secured approval from the Central Bank of the Philippines, to perform a live pilot remittance and roll out the feature in the UnionBank Online app.

“With the onset of this pandemic, it has become crucial that our products and services quickly adapt to the challenges presented in this new digital normal,” said Edwin Bautista, UnionBank President and Chief Executive Officer. “This cash-out service is just one way for UnionBank to demonstrate its commitment to financial inclusion as we continue venturing forth in tech-ing up the Philippines.”

Upon the launch of this service, UnionBank noted an immediate high uptake by its customers. At the end of April 2020, with all major remittance centers available through the service, transactions have more than doubled. The Bank also recorded a 20% increase in daily digital account opening as a result of this feature.

“Through collaboration with various UnionBank teams and our fintech partners, we have demonstrated that the spirit of community is very much alive as we address the needs of our countrymen,” said Arvie de Vera, UnionBank Senior Vice President and Fintech Group Head. “This is a testament that we can use technology and digital services to ensure that no one gets left behind, especially as we weather through this ongoing crisis.”

Pent-up desire for holidays drives spike in demand for multi-currency cards

There has been a “sudden surge” in the demand for multi-currency cards as holidays and overseas trips are planned and as the pound remains weak, reveals the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The observation from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, which in 2017 launched the pioneering global e-money app and multi-currency card, deVere Vault, comes as international borders are gradually re-opened around the world following the pandemic and ahead of the busiest time for holiday travel.

Mr Green comments: “There’s been a sudden surge in the last week from clients looking to use our e-money app and multi-currency payment card.

“This spike, we believe, is due to a steady relaxation of travel restrictions releasing a pent-up desire to escape lockdown, take a summer holiday, and/or see friends and relatives overseas as the world gradually gets back on its feet after a highly unusual few months.”

He continues: “But the fragile global economy together with the weakness of the pound, which is making almost every destination in the world more expensive for Brits, are making people even more pro-active in searching low-cost exchange rates and low-cost banking.

“The pound continues to be one of the worst-performing currencies in the world as we head into peak summer holiday season – and it could get further battered should the current Brexit negotiations fail.

“Against this backdrop, it is sensible that people are seeing the value in managing, spending and receiving money anywhere in the world without hassle and excessive exchange rates by using deVere Vault.”

Launched shortly after the Brexit referendum caused a significant drop in the value of the pound, deVere Vault is a trailblazing app and its Prepaid Mastercard®️ allows clients to spend, receive, store and transfer money in up to 27 different currencies.

Added to holidaymakers’ exchange rate concerns are excessive bank charges.
 
Mr Green says: “When you use your debit or credit card abroad in anything other than your destination’s local currency, you could be paying excessive exchange fees.
 
 “Typically, an extra 6% is added on top, but these fees can be up to 10%.  All too often the customer is completely unaware of these costs.
 
“This is simply not on. In an increasingly globalised world, people have the right to expect hassle-free, borderless access to and use of their money, without over-the-top charges.
 
“deVere Vault addresses these issues.” 

It automatically pays in Sterling in the UK, U.S. Dollars in the States, Euros in the eurozone, and Swiss Francs in Switzerland, for example.

The multi-currency account also allows you to withdraw and spend money anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted.

The deVere CEO concludes: “The world is beginning to re-open, but, more than ever, those planning trips abroad don’t want to get caught out. They need and want to protect their holiday cash from excessive exchange rate and banking fees.”

How Many Bank Accounts Should I Have? (At Least Three)

In the past, people had a checking account and a single savings account. But those were the days when you paid by check and had to go into the branch to do any banking.

Times have changed! We can now send and receive money with a click of a button on your smartphones. So why are we still stuck in the same account habits? 

If you’ve asked yourself, “how many bank accounts should I have?” read on. We’ve got all the answers. 

How Many Bank Accounts Should I Have?

The average American has between $6000-$9000 in their checking accounts. But if you are one of those people, your money isn’t working as hard for you as it could be.  

The great thing about multiple bank accounts is that you can separate your money for different purposes.

You can keep your money that is reserved for a vacation or emergency car and home repairs separate from your account that pays your monthly bills.
When your money is altogether in one lump sum, it is easier to spend money on things it wasn’t intended for.

Keep in mind that having multiple accounts is only beneficial if you aren’t paying a lot in fees and if the account doesn’t have minimum balance requirements. 
Here are some of the best ways you can separate your money into various accounts. 

Accounts for Saving

A savings account has many useful benefits. For one thing, these accounts tend to offer you higher interest rates.

Sometimes, these accounts place limits on how often you can withdraw from them. This might help you think twice about taking money out of your savings.
A lot of people have two different bank accounts: one savings and one checking.

But, two or more savings accounts are very useful for people who live paycheck to paycheck. Two or more savings accounts is a digital version of the jar saving system.

But instead of separating your savings into a jar labelled, car, school, and vacation, you have multiple accounts.
Here are some of the saving accounts you might have. 

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is a separate saving account that you use to save for unexpected costs.

For example, you could stash some funds in this account to save for job loss, unexpected car repairs and so on. Experts recommend 3-6 months of income be saved in this account. 

Treat this account like a fire extinguisher in a glass case. You only break the glass and take out your money in a true emergency.

To grow this account, set an automatic transfer from your checking account on payday. It’s fine if you only deposit a little bit into this account each time you get paid. Over time, this fund will grow.

Short-Term Savings

A separate savings account can be set-up for your short term saving goals such as money for Christmas presents, a holiday or specific expenses like new tires for your car.

The goal of this account is to keep your money safe from accidental spending. You might have one for all your short-term saving goals, or you may prefer to have one for each goal.

The great thing about online banking is that you can name your accounts whatever you want. So you can make it clear what the purpose of each account is. Try to put a set amount into this account each pay period.

One way to help you stay on track is to figure out the total amount you need and when you need it by. Then divide that number by how many paychecks you’ll get until the goal date. This helps you figure out exactly how much money you need to set aside each pay to reach your goal on time.

Like the emergency fund, you do not use this money for bills, going out to eat or other superfluous expenses.

Long-Term Savings

You should also have an account for your long-term savings. You can save for things such as retirement or post-secondary education.
A regular savings account might not be the best place to grow your money.

Learn about investment management to help your money the most.

How Many Checking Accounts Should I have?

Now let’s talk about checking accounts. These accounts allow unlimited transactions such as withdrawals and purchases.

You may opt to have one checking account where you do all your spending. This means your paycheck gets deposited into this account. You also pay your bills from this account and buy groceries, gas for your car and go out to dinner from this account.

You can see how this may be problematic. The last thing you want is to spend money only to realize that now you don’t have enough for your rent or mortgage.
One of the best ways to avoid this is by having two checking accounts.

One account should be for your incoming funds such as paychecks. You should keep the funds you need for all your monthly bills in here.

Then, move the remainder of your money to a separate checking account. This is the account you can use for day-to-day spending. By doing this, you avoid spending money meant for your bills.

Final Words

There you have it. A complete guide to help you answer the question: “how many bank accounts should I have?”

Keep in mind that you may need to adjust this guide to suit your specific financial situation. You might find you need fewer accounts than we’ve suggested.

As long as you have a system that lets you divide your money into manageable and purposeful ways, that’s all that matters.

At CFI.co, we report on business, economics and finance to give you the information you need. Learn more about CFI here.

Cardstream Works With Banking Circle To Create Unique Lending Service

Joint white label solution allows Cardstream’s Partners to offer their merchants flexible and affordable business loans

www.bankingcircle.com

London, November 2019 – Independent payment solutions provider, Cardstream, has partnered with Banking Circle to pioneer a unique joint white label lending solution. Each of Cardstream’s more than 200 Partners provides payment services to many hundreds of SME merchants. Now, with the launch of this new initiative, they can offer these merchants access to affordable, flexible business loans which could make the difference between their success or failure.

To help smaller businesses access essential business financing more easily, Banking Circle entered the SME lending sector in 2018, launching Banking Circle Lending and Banking Circle Instant Settlement. These revolutionary new solutions were built in response to an SME study involving more than 500 businesses, which revealed the impact of high interest rates, high arrangement fees and inflexible repayment options when accessing funding through traditional lenders.

Cardstream identified that the Banking Circle Lending solutions would provide an important added-value for its Partners as CEO Adam Sharpe explained:

“Cardstream’s Partners enjoy strong and trusted relationships with the merchants to whom they provide our white labelled payment gateway service under their own trusted brand. Now, with this new service developed with Banking Circle, they can offer loans to any of their merchant customer businesses based on their online payments revenue.

“The loans are risk free to the Partner, who is able to retain a share of the revenue generated if this falls within its business model and merchant agreement. We believe it’s a win-win for both sides.  The Partner enhances its merchant relationships and the merchants have quick access to valuable funding, whether to fill a cashflow gap or to support business growth.”

Anders la Cour, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Banking Circle added: “Banking Circle is committed to providing market infrastructure as a real alternative to traditional banking solutions, with the aim of increasing financial inclusion. As part of this, we wanted to deliver a more accessible lending solution for businesses in need of a financial boost.

“Now, through our partnership with Cardstream, more than 200 payment providers have access to our unique lending solution, meaning tens of thousands of small businesses can access the cash they need to expand, restock or simply survive a quiet period. In the past, these SMEs would have been unable to borrow the vital funds, which could have meant letting employees go or even business failure.”

About Banking Circle

Banking Circle is a next-generation provider of mission-critical financial services infrastructure leading the rise of a super-correspondent banking network. Banking Circle empowers banks and financial tech businesses to support customers’ trading ambitions – domestic and global – whilst reducing risk and the operational cost of transactions. Banking Circle solutions are increasing financial inclusion by helping thousands of businesses transact across borders in a way that was previously not possible.

In 2013 Saxo Bank formed a new entity, Saxo Payments A/S, with the purpose of using Saxo Bank’s core capabilities within the non-cash payments market. In October 2015 the company launched the Banking Circle – its ground-breaking product for payments and FX to the Financial Tech industry. In October 2017, the company launched its new identity for Banking Circle, to reflect its position as a financial utility, servicing Financial Tech businesses and banks. In September 2018, Banking Circle was acquired by EQT VIII and EQT Ventures, in partnership with Banking Circle’s founders.

Domiciled  in the European Union, Banking Circle specialises in providing global banking services including accounts, payments, lending and foreign exchange services to financial institutions, including FinTechs, banks, acquirers, payment service providers, FX brokers, money transfer businesses, e-wallets, and alternative payment providers.

About Cardstream

FinTech success Cardstream is the UK’s largest independent provider of white label payment software and services. Its mission is to become the global standard for white label payment provision. Everything the company does is designed to give its partners the freedom, flexibility and control to deliver the unhindered achievement of their business objectives.

Cardstream’s breadth of relationships, advanced portfolio of features and acquirer independence ensures that its partners can build a payment proposition they control and that delivers the maximum financial return.

For further information and inteviews please contcat the Cardstream Press Office:

Leon Lee – Commercial Director

T: 0345 0099575

E: [email protected]

Atos and Fintech Circeo develop innovative loan management solution for major worldwide retailer

A solution to help run Loan Management from a hybrid cloud leveraging Google Cloud Platform

November 20, 2019 Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, and Circeo, a leading Fintech in developing next-generation retail loans software, today announce the development of an innovative loan management solution built with Google Cloud Platform. Developed initially for the bank subsidiary of a major worldwide retailer, Atos and Circeo will soon begin bringing the solution to market for other customers.

This offering is based on a hybrid cloud solution which combines Google Cloud Platform (GCP) together with Atos’ expertise in end-to-end cloud orchestration and management, and infrastructure services and support. It enables users to benefit from the advantages of a fully-managed and secure cloud service which is seamlessly integrated with Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

With this joint solution, clients can run Fintech software built on Oracle technologies on hybrid cloud infrastructures, and thereby benefit from elasticity, resilience, innovation and pay-per-use models – without the need to redevelop their existing systems. The Google Cloud Atos partnership ensures that the client benefits from direct, secure and high-performance network connectivity, for faster and optimised access to Google Cloud resources.

This new solution from Atos and Circeo will help the end-customer manage peaks of activity in Loans, particularly during sales and specific events such as black Friday thanks to the elasticity and resilience of GCP.

Circeo is an innovative Fintech delivering a next generation flexible digital lending platform, based in the Cloud, which enables tailor-made financial products to be made within just a few days. It is part of Atos’ FinTech Partner Program and one of Atos’ most dynamic Fintech partners.

“This solution demonstrates the unique value we deliver to our customers thanks to our ambitious Fintech Engagement program which aims to bridge the gap between banks and Fintech.” says Wim Los, SVP, global Head of Atos and Google Cloud enhanced Alliance at Atos. “Developed by Atos and Circeo, it is a framework which will be replicated for other clients, on other markets”.

“We are glad for this unique opportunity leverage our global partnership with Atos to promote and implement the Atos-Circeo Retail Lending Factory platform” says Laurent Clerc, Founder and CEO at Circeo“By delivering unique value with Atos, we expand existing client portfolios and onboard new clients into production.”

We’re delighted that Atos and Circeo chose to develop this solution with Google Cloud Platform,” said Rayn Veerubhotla, Director, Partnerships at Google Cloud. “With this solution, customers can modernise their existing infrastructure and begin to take advantage of the core capabilities of Google Cloud.”

Atos was recently recognised as ‘Global breakthrough partner of the year’ by Google Cloud.

About Atos

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with over 110,000 employees in 73 countries and annual revenue of over € 11 billion. European number one in Cloud, Cybersecurity and High-Performance Computing, the Group provides end-to-end Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud, Big Data, Business Applications and Digital Workplace solutions. The group is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games and operates under the brands Atos, Atos Syntel, and Unify. Atos is a SE (Societas Europaea), listed on the CAC40 Paris stock index.

The purpose of Atos is to help design the future of the information technology space. Its expertise and services support the development of knowledge, education as well as multicultural and pluralistic approaches to research that contribute to scientific and technological excellence. Across the world, the group enables its customers, employees and collaborators, and members of societies at large to live, work and develop sustainably and confidently in the information technology space.