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PLDT’s FINTQ forges partnership in ‘sachet banking’ with five banks

FINTQnologies Corp., the financial technology arm of PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications’ Voyager Innovations Inc., is partnering with five local banks in a deal allowing sari-sari stores to serve as cash agents for banking transactions.

“We have first five banks participating in this ‘sachet banking’ initiative,“ FINTQ managing director Lito Villanueva told GMA News Online on the sidelines of the Asia CEO Forum in Pasay City on Wednesday.

Villanueva said sachet banking allows banks to tap micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) such as sari-sari stores to act as cash agents for local banks.

He did not disclose which five banks FINTQ is partnering with, other than saying that the banks would like to reach more customers without spending much on brick-and-mortar branches.

“To build a branch it would cost them around P15 million. But in this model it would only cost them something like P100 per month to maintain one sari-sari store,” he said.

FINTQ is launching the initiative in the second quarter of the year.

With the program in place, people with not financial transaction footprint will be able to open an account with an accredited sari-sari store as retail banking operator.

Villanueva said the banks will use FINTQ’s digital platform for sari-sari stores to make banking transactions using mobile phones.

“We are the enabler. We are not the one taking the deposits, we are just the one providing the platform. The customer engagement would still be between the customer and the bank,” he said.

“The idea ... is any Filipino could now be able to enjoy the benefits of having a micro-savings account and be able to access that at their neighborhood sari-sari store,” he said.

The program is in line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas initiative to support financial inclusion, Villanueva noted. —VDS, GMA News