All-digital ING Philippines to offer loans, says still no fees for fund transfers

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2021 04:14 PM

MANILA - ING Philippines will offer loans using its all-digital banking app before the end of the year to make banking even simpler and more accessible, its country manager Hans Sicat said. 

The loan feature on the ING Philippines banking app will be added to its current features which are ING Save and ING Pay. 

"The next module is the ability to borrow from the bank…It’s simply another feature that we think is exciting," Sicat told ABS-CBN News.

ING Philippines said there are over 2 million downloads and almost 1 million sign-ups on the app. 

DEMYSTIFYING BANKING

When asked what makes the ING app different compared to other digital players in the financial sector Sicat said their goal is to make digital banking easier and cheaper.

Its ING Save account offers 4 percent interest for deposits for new clients. Older users still receive above-standard interest rate for deposits at 2.5 percent, he said.

There are also no fees for fund transfers using the app, Sicat said, adding that "our proposition is that we will make money in a different way."

Several banks and mobile wallets have imposed fees when using PESONet and InstaPay. Based on the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas tally, only 3 institutions, namely ING Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and RCBC Diskartech, will waive fees for Instapay until December 31.

The ING Pay feature, launched in November 2020, allows users to pay merchants and transfer funds directly using InstaPay. Users also have virtual and physical ATM cards.

"As more and more people try digital apps, whether it’s because of the pandemic or whether its easier and maybe cheaper, in one sense you don’t have to pay fees or get charged when you transfer money, then I think more people will discover that our proposition meets all of those requirements," Sicat said.

"We try to make it, to demystify using a bank... we are truly the first institution in the Philippines, in this industry that took away the fees that many banks require, in terms of using an app or even moving money around," he added.

All-digital ING Philippines to offer loans, says still no fees for fund transfers 1
ING Philippines country manager Hans Sicat. Handout

The app is able to offer high interest rates and waive fees since it doesn't have to pay for costs involved in running a brick-and-mortar bank, Sicat said. 

"We are now able to give better value to the end consumer, because we don’t have to pay for all this operating cost," said. 

As the former CEO of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Sicat said running a digital bank is a learning journey. He said he signed up for online courses during the pandemic and has been watching YouTube lectures to keep up with the changing times. 

The launch of the Philippine National ID system (PhilSys) will help the unbanked access services, Sicat said, as the digital shift is unlikely to slow down in the coming years. 

"The move to digital interactions will continue, maybe the pandemic just accelerated it for us here in the Philippines," Sicat said.

"To me it's maybe a confirmation that, especially if the younger population grows up the demographic chain, the digital interactions will continue," he added.

The national ID system will provide every Filipino with a government ID which can be used to sign up in banks for its KYC (know-your-customer) verification process. 

Several other platforms such as GCash, PayMaya, CIMB and even traditional banks are offering digital banking services to Filipinos.

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