Millions of unbanked Pinoys finally got digital accounts thru RCBC’s DiskarTech

By Alithea De Jesus

In Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) report last year, 77 percent of Filipinos are still “unbanked” while only 15.8 million Filipinos having access to banks. Among the 60 percent of the “unbanked”, the reason for not banking is they don’t have enough money to open a bank account.

While there are other surveys conducted about the unbanked and underbanked Filipinos, the advent of financial technology would pave the way for reducing the numbers of unbanked in the country.

DiskarTech, dubbed as a super app has ramped up the push for digital adoption and usage recording more than 1.43 million new accounts onboarded digitally during the lockdown.

This is comprised of at least 610,000 DiskarTech basic deposit accounts who went through the three-minute electronic know-your-customer (KYC) verification from over 2 million who downloaded the mobile app, and 822,720 DiskarTech Lite restricted transactional accounts who received an emergency cash grant from the government’s social amelioration program.

“I welcome the update from RCBC on the 1.43 million new digital accounts created through its DiskarTech “Taglish” inclusion super app. This is a clear indication of how our banks and financial institutions are building on BSP’s policies and regulations to bring financial services closer to the Filipinos,” said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno.

The DiskarTech savings account earns 3.25% interest and requires no opening deposit, maintaining balance, nor dormancy fees. Applicants go through a fast and easy electronic KYC procedure that can conveniently be done anytime, anywhere.

“Real and imagined barriers to banking have been addressed through this unique initiative,” said RCBC President and CEO Eugene Acevedo.

Since its launch in July, DiskarTech has identified most of its users as young adults outside of Metro Manila. Account-holders aged 21 to 30 comprise 60 percent, followed by those between 31 and 40 years old at 25 percent. Meanwhile, only 37 percent reside in Metro Manila and the rest are distributed across all the regions of the country, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) is among the financial services providers tapped by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in quickly disbursing emergency cash subsidy in at least eight regions nationwide. It has disbursed an aggregate total in excess of P8.3 billion utilizing its DiskarTech Lite disbursement platform and handheld ATM Go devices distributed across 72 out of 81 provinces nationwide through its payout partners. The combined number of household beneficiaries served account to more than 2.1 million.

For his part, Lito Villanueva, the executive vice president and chief innovation and inclusion officer of RCBC said, “This was the perfect occasion to show our commitment to financial inclusion and leverage technology for the public good in time of a crisis.”

The DiskarTech Lite restricted transactional accounts are limited to receiving and withdrawing cash subsidy but users may upgrade to a full DiskarTech savings account to enjoy all its features and benefits.

The funds are disbursed on-site through the help of RCBC-DiskarTech’s payout partners composed of rural banks, payment centers, pawnshops, and sari-sari stores.

Aside from a competitive 3.25% annual interest from their savings, account holders also gain access to bills payment, convenient cash in and withdrawal touchpoints, fund transfers, top-up of electronic load and gaming pins, and telemedicine, among others. It recently launched sachet insurance products for as low as P20.00. It will also be offering DiskarTech users access to lending programs through its partnerships with various government and private lenders.

“Microentrepreneurs and smallholder farmers and fishers will be the priority sectors in rolling out the loans marketplace with our lending partners,” Villanueva underscored.

“We look forward to these accounts being fully used by their account holders so that they can truly benefit from being financially included. We are confident that, together, we will achieve our collective goal of bringing 70 percent of adult Filipinos to the formal financial system by 2023 as a means toward a robust, inclusive and sustainable digital economy,” Diokno added.

“We are happy to be a partner of the BSP toward a robust, inclusive and sustainable digital economy. At the same time, we are also glad to be a partner of the unbanked and underserved Filipinos in providing their financial service requirements during this difficult time,” Acevedo added.

RCBC is one of the leading universal banks accelerating digital transformation in the Philippines. It was recently recognized as the best digital bank in the Philippines at the 14th Annual Alpha Southeast Asia Best Financial Institution Awards 2020. Among its digital products include RCBC mobile and online banking, handheld ATM Go mobile POS terminals, and DiskarTech, among others.