MAYA BANK hopes at least a million of PayMaya Philippines’ 47-million strong customer base will tap its services following the e-wallet’s rebranding for the digital lender’s launch.

About six months after PayMaya was granted a digital banking license by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Maya Bank was launched on Friday night alongside the rebrand of the PayMaya platform to Maya to include online banking services.

Prior to the launch of Maya Bank, PayMaya had more than 47 million users as of March.

“I really want one million [of PayMaya’s users] to love the product. I think that is something that we will really go after this year,” Maya Bank Angelo Madrid said in a news conference in Makati on Friday night at the launch event.

Aside from the app’s new look and inclusion of digital banking services alongside the e-wallet, cryptocurrency trading and micro-investments that were already available via PayMaya, the Maya brand will apply to PayMaya’s entire ecosystem. PayMaya Business will now be Maya Business, while Smart Padala agents will become the on-ground network of Maya Center.

“Over the past years, PayMaya has evolved to adapt to the ever-changing market needs of consumers and enterprises. We are leaping forward with a new experience by building the country’s all-in-one money platform under Maya,” PayMaya President and Maya Bank Co-founder and Board Director Shailesh Baidwan said.

Among Maya Bank’s initial products is Maya Credit, which will have a cap of P15,000 for clients, Mr. Madrid said.

“What’s good about the lending [product] is that it’s instant. You’ll just have to go through the verification process. It’s something you can be able to disburse to your wallet, which you can use for bills payment,” he said.

Maya Credit is meant for general purpose loans, Mr. Madrid said. He added that they are looking to craft specific loan products, like buy now, pay later options, as they gather more information about their users’ needs.

The digital bank also wants to cater to small businesses’ need for credit, Mr. Madrid said.

“We want to accelerate the success of our merchants and our small businesses so they can…make us their partner in growing their businesses,” he said.

Meanwhile, the digital bank’s savings account offering called Maya Savings will offer an introductory deposit rate of 6% annually, the highest in the market to date.

Users can also buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency starting at P1 via the app’s Maya Crypto feature. Mr. Baidwan said they hope this could help Filipinos learn about and test their appetite for cryptocurrencies.

“We’ve introduced it in such a way that is instant, intuitive and they can sign in with low balances. What we want is for people to start saving, investing, but we also want to make sure that they’re doing with established [crypto]currencies, and they do it in a way that they can do it with very small amounts,” Mr. Baidwan said.

Meanwhile, PayMaya’s e-wallet and bills payment features are now under Maya Wallet.

Voyager Innovations, Inc., owner of PayMaya and Maya Bank, in April raised an additional $210 million from its latest funding round to fund the launch of its digital lender.

Maya Bank is one of the six entities that were granted digital banking licenses by the BSP. The central bank has imposed a moratorium on the grant of online banking permits as it wants to ensure healthy competition among the new players and monitor their development.

Digital banks, which offer their services via online platforms and are not required to set up physical branches, are expected to help the BSP achieve its twin goals to have 50% of retail payments done digitally and 70% of adult Filipinos become part of the formal financial system by 2023.

PLDT, Inc. is Voyager’s main shareholder. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — L.W.T. Noble