Starpay to expand market presence in online lending | Inquirer Business
BNPL scheme for essential expenses

Starpay to expand market presence in online lending

E-wallet services platform Starpay Corp. aims to establish its presence in the local online lending scene to provide financing for the underserved and unserved segments of the country.

Jan Adrian Chan, Starpay head of strategy, told the Inquirer they were eyeing to offer a borrowing service similar to the buy now, pay later (BNPL) scheme or online installment, but the focus would be on essential payments like utility bills.

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“To some extent, it is almost a BNPL scheme but we’re removing that from the current play of BNPL where they are encouraging you to purchase discretionary items like gadgets or clothing. Let’s bring back that to essentials because sometimes, the people don’t even have enough to pay for the essentials,” he said.

Chan said this was crucial for consumers who generally pay off loans on time but sometimes deal with delay with settling obligations due to other more pressing financial liabilities like tuition fees. He noted this financing service would also benefit those consumers whose wages sometimes do not come on time, thus requiring additional funding to plug their budget gaps.

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Strong demand for services

“We see that there is a very strong need to provide additional financial services to the marginalized,” he said.

Chan said they were in talks with some credit scoring companies and potential partner financial institutions to realize this plan.

Currently, Starpay director Ryan Uy said they have about 6.8 million users, which are projected to grow to around 8 million by the end of the year.

“In order to be able to grow the user base, we need to target users at a community level,” he said. But he stressed the need to access digitalization in such locations, which are usually far-flung areas, to make financial technology accessible to them.

Among its key projects in recent years include the cash distribution under the government’s social amelioration program and livelihood programs, among others.

“Those are really the immediate plans right now, scaling on that government side, as well as improving the experience. That is really the first point of interaction for our users,” he added.

Starpay, a platform that enables money transfer, mobile loading and bills payment, secured its electronic money issuer license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 2017. INQ

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