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Venio has launched with a timely and relevant, post COVID-19 solution for getting consumers and merchants back to business in the Philippines.
The impact of the pandemic and the resulting changes to the lives of many people are still yet to be fully understood but there are a number of effects already evident. Some, we hope, temporary - obligatory face masks, bans on gatherings, cancelled sporting events, social distancing, others look to be more permanent - awareness of germs and cleanliness, a renewed appreciation of the healthcare sector, and a move away from handling cash.
For instance, banks around the world have even used quarantine measures, designed for humans, for banknotes. The Bank of Korea isolates incoming bank notes for two weeks before going into circulation while the U.S Federal Reserve isolates notes from Asia for seven to ten days.
In many cases we have witnessed the acceleration of financial trends already underway before the pandemic. The move away from cash towards contactless payments is just one example. Elsewhere, in the Philippines which has a mostly young and tech savvy population with a high degree of mobile phone penetration with over 30.4 million people owning smartphones the pace of the country’s digital transformation has been marked.
Governments around the world have been forced to look at rapid responses to the numerous problems impacting society. The speed with which the pandemic became manifest, spreading from continent to continent, meant stark choices had to be made to save lives, businesses, and economies. The real cost of these responses are yet to be fully calculated with bailouts extending from governments, to corporations, to companies and to individuals.
In the post-COVID era access to essential financial services for all must be ensured for the economic development of communities impacted by the pandemic. The cornerstone of Venio’s offering lies in boosting financial inclusion among the unbanked and those without access to traditional banking services - in the wake of COVID-19 disruptions this is more vital than ever. This need is particularly acute in emerging markets such as the Philippines where the promised Government subsidies and emergency funds haven’t been delivered reliably. Fortunately, the advent of new fintech solutions such as Venio and the speed of digital transformation in the Philippines have been able to help bridge the gap and provide financial support for the country’s 54 million unbanked adults.
Globally, restarting economies requires enormous amounts of money: one recent report estimated that 20% of total global GDP had been pumped into the global economy by Central Banks in a matter of weeks. Governments have been analysing various ways to kick start businesses by getting their lifeblood: cash, back into the system. Beyond loans for businesses and furlough for employees, we’re also seeing forms of support and stimulus applied more widely than existing social benefits systems.
Similarly, calls for the implementation of Universal Basic Income (UBI) have been made in many countries, including Germany, where a small trial of UBI is now being rolled out with some individuals now getting $1,400 a month for the next 3 years.
The delivery of these schemes, along with the move towards cashless economies can be enabled through existing technology that has been developed through the boom in fintech solutions. In the Philippines, Venio is helping people who most urgently need access to goods and services via a wide network of merchants and retailers using the Venio App.
Enabling customers to quickly and easily sign-up in store and access a credit facility to ensure they can buy food, medicine, transport and other essentials. These ‘nano’ creditsare throwing a lifeline to customers who have previously been outside of the banking systems.
This same Smartphone App could enable voucher payments for food and other goods or services in a highly targeted and managed way. The same tech could apply to school dinner vouchers for children, in selected restaurants and shops, and in the UK where a stimulus package labelled ‘Eat Out to Help Out' has been unveiled by the Government as a way of getting people back into restaurants. The Venio App would be a significantly more efficient way of not only enabling these vouchers, but knowing what is spent and where, providing powerful insights and data.