PayMaya eyes test launch of 'crypto-ready' Maya Bank in late March

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2022 04:11 PM | Updated as of Mar 03 2022 07:08 PM

MANILA - PayMaya's digital bank Maya Bank will begin its test launch later this month, less than 6 months after it secured a digital banking license from the central bank, its president Shailesh Baidwan said Thursday.

Maya Bank secured its digital banking license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in September 2021. It is among the 6 licensed digital banks in the country. 

Digital banks are designed to make onboarding faster and cheaper to help boost financial inclusion in the country. 

"We are working towards the last stretches to be able to test launch the bank by the end of the month," Baidwan told reporters in a briefing. 

Baidwan said the digital bank will offer savings, credit, insurance as well as cryptocurrency investments. PayMaya has also secured a Virtual Asset Service Provider license from the BSP, he added.

Its upcoming rival GoTyme, the digital bank of the Gokongwei Group, is also eyeing to launch in the middle of 2022. 

Meanwhile, PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan said PayMaya's Maya Bank could become a significant part of PLDT's digital arm Voyager Innovations. 

"Maya Bank, I think that would be a game-changer for PayMaya itself. We anticipate it will be a serious component of the Voyager business," Pangilinan said. 

In June 2021, Voyager secured an investment from the IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund, which is part of the World Bank Group for PayMaya's expansion, PLDT earlier said.

Other Voyager shareholders include PLDT, KKR and Tencent. 

By the end of 2021, PayMaya said it has reached a total of 44 million registered customers as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of e-commerce and digital payments. 

So far, at least 1 in 5 payment made is already digital, according to the BSP report released in October. 

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