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CIC, RCBC ink MOU to ramp-up digital financial inclusion to underserved Filipinos

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Screengrab of the CIC, RCBC MOU signing:
From left, Atty. Aileen L. Amor-Bautista, CIC’s OIC President and CEO and Lito Villanueva of  RCBC Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer

By Alithea De Jesus

With so many Filipinos remain unbanked and have limited access to digital financial inclusion according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The estimated underserved number of Filipino adults who remain unbanked is estimated at 51.2 million based on July 2020.

There are many reasons why the financial inclusion of this population remains high and these are not having money, lack of documentary requirements and refusal to open a bank account which is part of the BSP requirement the KYC, Know Your Customers.

But by the end of 2020, there would be a significant increase in people having financial inclusion through the efforts of various companies to embrace digital financial inclusion and even more.

As part of its mandate to promote the benefits of a credit information system to the economy, the state-run Credit Information Corporation (CIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) to promote digital financial inclusion and literacy among the unbanked, underbanked, and underserved population.

“The pandemic did not hinder us from expanding the reach of our database to contribute to improving the overall availability of credit, especially to the Filipino working-class including micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs),” Atty. Aileen L. Amor-Bautista, CIC’s OIC President and CEO, shared during the virtual MOU signing on November 05, 2020.  

RCBC—one of CIC’s submitting entities and soon-to-be accessing entity—likewise expressed its commitment to uplift the Filipino consumers’ financial well-being.

Through the memorandum of understanding, RCBC and CIC will commit to uplift the Filipino consumers’ financial well-being through “DiskarTech”, the first and only Taglish financial inclusion super app in the Philippines. It has a life-changing impact in easing the financial burden of the Filipinos, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds as it positions to be the preferred financial app of the masses.

In the statement sent to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Lito Villanueva, RCBC Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer said, “We want to reach out to the mass market primarily through our “DiskarTech” mobile app. Dubbed as a “financial inclusion super app,” it offers vital financial services needed by the unserved and underserved consumers in every barangay and enables them to be part of the local banking ecosystem. We call it grassroots banking,” 

Aside from a payment tool, DiskarTech is also a digital offering 3.25% per annum interest on savings, cash-in, and cash-out transactions through over 30,000 partner-agent locations, one-stop-shop for utility bills payment. One could also do business through the purchase of mobile phone load and e-gaming pins. What makes Diskartech a standout is that it offers income and life protection through the purchase of affordable insurance products. Also, one of the best and unique features of this super app is the ‘Telemedicine’, where you can avail of online medical services.

“This is also the concept behind RCBC’s DiskarTech super app. Responding to the need to be more relevant amid the “new normal,” we launched this app which offers digital services to empower unbanked Filipinos. The app allows users to create their own basic deposit accounts. They just need to do a one-time registration via an electronic know-your-customer (eKYC) process,” Villanueva explained.

CIC and RCBC’s DiskarTech shall collaborate and jointly publish digital educational materials and conduct virtual events to promote the benefits of credit reports, financial technology (fintech), digital banking, and creditworthiness in the digital age.

“We want to push the idea of “creditworthiness” even amid the pandemic and to continuously raise awareness on the rights of consumers to access their credit reports which may serve as their reputational collateral when they try to secure credit facilities,” the CIC’s OIC PCEO added.

Online credit reports, digital banking services

With the current situation and strict observance of health and safety of individuals, both Bautista and Villanueva believe that with the implementation of various restrictions brought about by COVID-19, going digital is becoming the “new normal.”

“We are happy that CIBI Information Inc., one of CIC’s accredited credit bureaus, recently launched the CIBIApp where individuals may request for their credit report with credit score online through their desktops or mobile phones anytime, anywhere,” Atty. Amor-Bautista relayed.

She added that the main innovation is the online identity verification to help secure the process, especially during this time of restricted travel and social distancing.

“We look forward to a fruitful partnership with RCBC and having them on board as an accessing entity so that they can finally access the CIC’s comprehensive database in assessing an individual’s creditworthiness,” Atty. Amor-Bautista continued. 

She further explained how the CIC database—now with 21 million borrowers and 80 million contract data from across 533 financial institutions—covers the average Filipino when it comes to credit reports.

“Our database includes not just those who have credit cards, but even those who are unbanked and underbanked. Slowly but surely, the CIC is realizing the inclusivity envisioned by the law,” the OIC PCEO concluded.  

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