GCash ramping up efforts to give Filipino youth access to financial services

With a majority of the country’s youth aiming to be financially responsible, GCash, the leading mobile wallet app in the country, continues to find ways to make financial services more accessible to all Filipinos through mobile and online platforms.

Speaking at the Generations of the Future forum organized by ABN Impact, Mynt Chief Marketing Officer Chris Manguera said the company, which runs GCash, is compelled to innovate and improve their products to address the needs of young users who want to be financially responsible.

“How do I start investing? How do I start saving up? When do I know when to get insurance? These are the questions I’m asked,” said Manguera said. “The intention is clear. They all have the intention to save, to be financially ready. But in the end the big gap is between intention and action. It’s our responsibility to bridge the gap.”

Manguera explained that discussions with GCash users aged 18 to 35––which comprise a third of their 20-million user base––revealed that young Filipinos want products that (1) provide a customized or personalized experience; (2) are proven to be the best in the market; and (3) are convenient to use.

“No. 3 is the most important—convenience. This is a daily journey for us, to improve the convenience of our product,” said Manguera. “We have to enable them. How do we give them access to multiple channels?”

One way GCash has done so, he said, is to leverage the steady rise of smartphone use in the country. According to Manguera, there were 48 million smartphone users by the end of 2018, and by the end of 2019, roughly 50-60 million Filipinos will have a smartphone.

“That transforms everything. A smartphone is access to opportunities. It is access to information. It’s also access to financial services,” Manguera said. “The smartphone is becoming a gateway for many opportunities. That is the opportunity that GCash saw.”

Because GCash is a mobile service, the people behind it sought to find out what convinced or discouraged mobile phone users to download the app.

What they discovered was that many Filipinos who download mobile apps check the size of the apps first, as their phones many not have enough storage for it. For most smartphone users, an app that takes up 20-40 MB is okay, but it still depends on how many photos are in their phones.

“They actually care about their storage. They actually care about how many photos they have to delete to install your app,” Manguera said.

Adapting to this reality, GCash decided to use apps already found in most smartphones, like Facebook Messenger, to provide access to GCash’s most popular services: online bills payment, domestic remittances, and the purchase of prepaid load.

With its #PwedePala online campaign touting the benefits of FB Messenger-activated GCash accounts, the company saw a 60% growth in new registrations in the first 60 days of the campaign, many of them young users.

“Different experiences, different motivations. But at the core of it, they all desire to be financially ready. Whether you’re a breadwinner, a fresh graduate living with your parents or wanting to travel the world, or a working student wanting to earn more, to better manage your resources––at the core of it they just want to be financially responsible,” Manguera said.

Since 2015 GCash has been the leading finance app in the Google Play Store. It has received numerous distinctions, such as the Best Mobile Payment App of the Year in 2017 from The Asian Banker and the Best Mobile Payment Service Award from the Telecom Asia Awards in 2018.

The Bangko Sentral ng PIlipinas (BSP) has also recognized GCash as its Outstanding Partner for Digital Transformation and Outstanding Partner for Innovative Financial Services for 2019, citing its innovative and responsive digital financial services.

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Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.