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PayMaya sees pandemic bolstering case for more digital payments

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DIGITAL payments firm PayMaya Philippines, Inc. is hoping that the momentum driving cashless payments during the coronavirus pandemic will ultimately translate to profitability.

“There are a lot of realizations that digital is the way, and we are here to provide financial operating systems for this new kind of economy. So if that translates to accelerated profitability, we hope that helps in the cause,” Voyager Innovations, Inc. Chief Executive Officer and Founder Orlando B. Vea said during a virtual briefing Thursday.

PayMaya is a subsidiary of Voyager Innovations, Inc., the digital arm of PLDT, Inc.

Mr. Vea added: “As of now, our efforts are more focused on helping the government and society to take advantage of the digital leapfrog.”

“Our numbers are up, even in previously challenged areas like online commerce. Lazada is coming back up. It’s almost at the level of pre-COVID. Other commerce sites are back as well.”

He said PayMaya is also seeing new opportunities in health and education.

Tele-consultations are now very active and doctors are receiving more payments through PayMaya, Mr. Vea said.

PLDT Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan has said he expects PayMaya to be profitable by 2024.

Mr. Vea noted that Paymaya user registrations have doubled during the pandemic as more people turned to online transactions.

“COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) for us is both a challenge and a blessing as we have areas with a lot of activity, which have increased, and some areas with challenges. As far as the opportunities are concerned, we’ve seen registrations doubling from last year,” he said.

PLDT, China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), International Finance Corp. (IFC), and IFC Emerging Asia Fund signed agreements last month to commit up to $120 million in new funding towards Voyager’s expansion efforts.

The fresh funding will enable PayMaya to accelerate digital and financial inclusion, PLDT said.

In 2018, PLDT sold more than 50% of its stake in Voyager for $215 million (about P10.91 billion) to Tencent, KKR, IFC, and IFC Emerging Asia Fund. PLDT remains the single largest shareholder in the technology firm.

Voyager’s portfolio, aside from the PayMaya e-wallet and app for consumers, includes PayMaya Enterprise for end-to-end merchant-acquiring solutions and Smart Padala, which has over 30,000 partner agent touchpoints nationwide.

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. — Arjay L. Balinbin





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