Australia-based Peppermint Innovation has secured a licence to operate as an electronic money issuer (EMI) in the Philippines.
In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Peppermint says the licence granted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will allow the company to deliver e-wallet services in the country through its bizmoto mobile application.
“The digital revolution is with us and the bizmoto platform can now facilitate any e-money transaction and service open-loop e-wallet accounts, providing Filipinos with a convenient and secure way to receive digital money and services,” says Peppermint CEO and managing director Chris Kain.
In what it considers as one of the biggest regulatory milestones it has achieved thus far, Peppermint says it was able to obtain the licence despite a pronouncement from the BSP last December that it would impose a two-year ban on issuing any further non-bank or bank-owned EMIs to ensure a "liquidity-strong" digital payments sector.
Kain says the company is excited to contribute towards the regulator's goal of digitizing at least 50% of all retail transactions in the country by 2023. The BSP also aims for 70% of Filipino adults to have formal accounts by the same year.
"The BSP says this shift can be made by offering customers faster and more affordable payment options that provide greater convenience – which is exactly what the Peppermint-powered bizmoto platform is all about," he adds.
Peppermint is targeting marginalized Filipinos such as farmers, fishermen and owners of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as people living on day-to-day pay cheques. With the service, the company hopes that members of these sectors “can safely and more quickly receive their salaries, pension, social security benefits and other government financial assistance monies”.
The bizmoto app will also allow users to apply for a bizmoPay loan, which gets paid directly to their bizmoto e-wallet to enable seamless transactions across the bizmoto ecosystem, Kain says. Merchants can also purchase bizmoProtect micro-insurance policies and future bizmoto platform products and services on the app.
The company is working on a pilot programme to encourage marginalized Filipinos to become bizmoto users so they can access digital and mobile payments as an alternative to cash transactions within their community.