Smart Padala aims to launch int’l remittance service by Q1

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PLDT, Inc.’s mobile remittance brand under PayMaya Philippines, Smart Padala, is targeting to launch international remittances by the first quarter of 2019, through a partnership with Western Union.

PayMaya Philippines Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director Paolo Azzola said during the briefing the company is in talks with Western Union to enable foreign money transfers through Smart Padala’s partner agents.

“We’re working with Western Union to potentially have the opportunity… at Smart Padala centers also. As you know, having 26,000 touchpoints, ensuring that all of them are complying with international regulations, all of them are well-funded because international transactions tend to be bigger, it’s a more complicated affair than a domestic basis. So it takes a little more time for us to actually roll it out, but we’re expecting in the future we’ll be partnering with Western Union and others,” he said.

Smart Padala channel head for domestic business Butch C. Conejos said Smart Padala transactions are all domestic at the moment. He noted a week-to-week spike in transactions implies Smart Padala’s common customers are daily wagers sending money from the city to the provinces.

“Actually we’re looking at first quarter next year to have it on international. Western Union pa lang [initially],” Mr. Conejos told reporters on Monday.

Smart Padala’s agent base has grown 73% to 26,000 as of November, from 15,000 as of end-December 2017, fueled by its efforts to expand in Visayas and Mindanao. Smart Padala is now present in 85% of municipalities in the country.

By next year, Smart Padala aims to grow its agent base by 10,000 more.

Ini-expand namin yung [We expanded our] reach in terms of manpower in Visayas and Mindanao… Ang ginawa namin [What we did was], on a certain area of a region for example Mindanao, nagdagdag kami ng mga tao in strategic locations [we added people in strategic locations]… So that alone spurred the growth,” Mr. Conejos said.

Of the 26,000 agents, Mr. Conejos said 70% are in Luzon and only 30% for both Visayas and Mindanao. But with the continued expansion in these regions, the numbers will likely go up next year.

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