MarCoPay, a fintech app targeting Filipino seafarers, has launched an e-market feature with HMO (health maintenance organization), insurance, and loan products.  

“Seafarers are an essential part of the global economy and supply chain… We are trying to solve [their] pain points,” said Toshiaki Fujioka, president and CEO ofBangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-licensed MarCoPay Inc. (MCP), at an April 6 press briefing.  

MarCoPay’s e-market has home and auto loan products through its partner, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). It also has home and car insurance products through BPI MS Insurance (a joint venture of BPI and the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co.), and prepaid HMO products through PhilCare.  

Within the app is a quote calculator for auto and home loans, and a premium calculator for home and family insurance. An application can be completed — and its status subsequently monitored — also within the app.  

Its other features include salary loans, e-money transfers, and foreign exchange converters.  

The company listened to over 3,000 seafarers, their dependents, as well as their manning agencies to help create the app’s features, said Izumi Yamashita, general manager of MCP Innovations, Inc.  

“This was created for seafarers with seafarers,” she said at the briefer. “We are on the ground, so we are confident that we provide the best solutions for [them].”  

One of the app’s over 7,00 registered users is chief mate Calenn F. Cabading, who has been seafaring since 2011. Sending money back home is a common challenge among seafarers, he said.  

“A crew member would save money onboard, and then wait for a crew change schedule before they are able to send money,” he told the audience of the April 6 event. “[Other times], they would need to trust someone else to send money [on their behalf].” 

Sending money in the past was akin to sending physical letters that take months to arrive, he added.  

“Now we have ease-of-use and secure transactions, whether on land or onboard,” said Mr. Cabiling.  

MarCoPay moreover offers free financial literacy webinars, Ms. Yamashita said. 

“We don’t want them to work all their lives, and then lose all they worked hard for when tragedy strikes,” she added. “We also [emphasize preparing for] their retirement and their children’s education.”  

In the pipeline for the app – which launched on August 2021 – is a prepaid Visa card for purchases, as well as an expansion of its target market. 

“We are focused on seafarers in the Philippines, but are planning to enhance our coverage to non-Filipino seafarers and also OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” said Mr. Fujioka. – Patricia B. Mirasol