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.