TALA Philippines on Monday inked a partnership with Union Bank of the Philippines, Inc.’s online lender to launch its electronic wallet.

“Tala is strengthening its foothold in the Philippines by partnering with UnionDigital Bank. Tala wallet is powered by UnionDigital, and this signifies a major step forward for Tala toward enabling Filipinos’ financial freedom,” Tala Philippines Chief Product Officer Jori Pearsall said at the signing event.

The new digital wallet will serve as an “all-in-one app that allows our customers to borrow, pay, and send their money free of charge,” Mr. Pearsall added.

“With this partnership, Tala moved from being strictly a lending app to providing a full range of financial services for our customers,” Tala Product Senior Vice-President Nick Norcross said.

He added that through the new app, customers can pay their bills with no transaction fees, send transfers for free, and manage both their credit and funds.

Mr. Norcross told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the event that Tala Philippines is looking to book a million users by the end of this year.

He added that loan demand remains fairly high, noting that for the sector they serve, demand is driven by their customers’ day-to-day needs.

The partnership will also help both Tala Philippines and UnionDigital Bank to expand their customer base as they cater to different market segments.

“They service a lower income segment than we do. We service a middle to higher income segment. There’s potentially a win-win there that we can collaborate,” UnionDigital Bank Chief Commercial and Revenue Officer Mike Singh said at the event.

The digital lender could also provide Tala Philippines with capital once they grow their loan portfolio, Mr. Singh added.

UnionDigital Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Henry R. Aguda said through the partnership, they are looking to help finance underserved or unserved sectors, including agricultural micro, small, and medium enterprises, and overseas Filipino workers.

“Just like Tala, UnionDigital Bank is committed to financial inclusion and is dedicated to empowering those who have been excluded from the formal financial sector. And there’s still a lot of them. Mind you, it’s not just the unbanked, but also the underbanked,” he said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas aims to bring at least 70% of Filipino adults into the financial system and to have 50% of total retail transactions done digitally by this year under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap. — A.M.C. Sy