3 Factors That Will Accelerate the Cashless Revolution

3 Factors That Will Accelerate the Cashless Revolution

The COVID-19 pandemic has spared practically no one. In all corners of the world, with people from all walks of life, everyone is talking about a new normal, barely less than a year after the crisis starts. One of the most hotly debated topics of late is whether we are now heading towards a fully cashless society. Will 2020 mark the start of a process when we completely banish cash as a medium of value exchange?

Since about 960 AD, when the earliest known paper money began circulating in China, the thought of eliminating cash, in favour of electronic or digital medium, had been inconceivable. Ironically, these days, China is one of the leading countries with the highest volume of cashless transactions. From food to clothing to the latest gadgets and games, people, regardless of age or social status, are using some form of digital medium to pay for goods and services in China.

China is truly a trailblazer in the “cashless” movement. According to figures from eMarketer, “mobile payment users in China will represent 61% of the 947.1 million proximity mobile payment users worldwide.” Furthermore, 577.4 million people in China made a purchase via proximity mobile payment within a six-month period in 2019. “Those users account for 49.6% of the country’s population,” says eMarketer.

This astounding growth is enabled by leading Chinese fintech firms, Alibaba (Alipay) and Tencent (WeChat Pay). Reports from Forbes revealed that “Alibaba’s revenue grew 144% over 2017-2019 to $56 billion.” Meanwhile, Tencent reported a total annual revenue of nearly 377 billion yuan in 2019, an increase by 20 percent compared to the previous year,” according to figures from Statista. Surely, the rate of growth of these companies is reflective of the Chinese population’s fondness for digital medium.

This cashless revolution is no doubt going to be further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many fintech firms and online payment platforms such as PayPal, Venmo, Stripe and Square have never been busier these days.

This cashless revolution is no doubt going to be further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many fintech firms and online payment platforms such as PayPal, Venmo, Stripe and Square have never been busier these days. Merchants are now scrambling to provide digital payment options to customers who seek to avoid, or are simply unable to, pay cash. “Our products have never been more wanted and needed,” said PayPal CEO Dan Schulman in light of the report that PayPal is signing up around 250,000 customers a day with 7.4 million customers activated during April period.

PayPal added that it was growing across all markets including those most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic such as Spain and Italy.

Factors that will affect drive towards cashless society

While all signs point to an inevitable shift to a cashless society, there are real and significant issues that must be addressed first before we declare the death of cash. Some of these are:

Technology

Turning the dream of a cash-free society depends largely on technological readiness. It can be argued that China’s success in the widespread use of digital payment medium is underpinned by its success in setting up an infrastructure that allows collection and processing of enormous amounts of data. In addition, China has also invested significant amount of resources to develop e-RMB, the first digital currency operated by a major economy. Through and through, technology has played a central role in mounting these efforts.

Similarly, in Sweden, a group of six large Swedish banks have joined together to develop Swish, a mobile payment system that boasts of more than 6.5 million users as of 2018. Today, Swish is used by almost all merchants in Sweden as the de facto payment option along with payment by card. Payment by cash, in fact, will earn you some frown as almost very merchant prefers card or payment by Swish mobile app.

In the US, the charge is being led by unicorn fintech companies that have found a way to embed their technology into the lives of online customers locally and abroad. Famous global brands such as Under Armor, Target, Lyft, Grab, Deliveroo, Facebook, Google and Uber, for example, are all using Stripe, an online payments processor for internet businesses.

Turning the dream of a cash-free society depends largely on technological readiness. It can be argued that China’s success in the widespread use of digital payment medium is underpinned by its success in setting up an infrastructure that allows collection and processing of enormous amounts of data.

Culture

For a cashless society to truly thrive, there must be a widespread shift in cultural norms. Whereas some societies have generally been more open with new technology and innovation, some communities are averse to digital technology because due to the inherent security risks involved. Moreover, the digital divide between the highly industrialised and developing nations couldn’t be denied. As such, customs and beliefs among the population on what constitutes ‘value transfer’ may be hard to shift.

Government

Governments, and people’s trust in them, play a crucial role in pushing the agenda of a cashless society. A purely digital value exchange requires management and security of enormous amount of data. Hence, the population must be able to see that the ultimate custodian of their financial transactions, are trustworthy and capable. Perhaps it would be good to start building momentum by capitalising on familiar government-led initiatives such as smart-nation. By touting the benefits of smart-nation, an argument for a digital value exchange on a national level can be made.

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Lynette V. Ortiz

President and CEO     
Land Bank of the Philippines

Ma. Lynette V. Ortiz assumed her post as the 11th President and CEO of the Land Bank of the Philippines on 24 May 2023 following her appointment by Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

With over 30 years of experience in banking and finance, Lynette held various senior roles in Risk Management, Treasury, Corporate Finance and Capital Markets in foreign and local institutions. Prior to her appointment, she was the first Filipino CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Philippines. She led strategies to grow the local franchise across the various client segments and deliver sustainable financial performance.

During her tenure in SCB, she spearheaded several landmark transactions in both domestic and international capital markets for Philippine and ASEAN issuers. These include the maiden offerings of both LANDBANK and the Development Bank of the Philippines of Sustainability Bonds. She helped the National Government raise funds through global and domestic bond issues, with SCB serving as book runner for foreign currency denominated offerings of the ROP.

She serves as First Vice President in the Board of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), and is also a member of the BAP Executive Committee.

A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, Lynette was named United Nations 2021 Philippine Women’s Empowerment Principles Awards Champion for Leadership Commitment, for her role in setting strong corporate commitments and inclusive leadership.

Lynette took her MBA in Finance and Investments from the City University of New York, Baruch College, and her degree in BA in Economics, Cum Laude, from the University of the Philippines.

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                  Angelo Madrid

                  President
                  Maya Bank

                  Angelo Madrid is the President of Maya Bank, the no. 1 digital bank in the Philippines.

                  Before joining Maya Bank, Angelo served as the Country Manager of Tala Philippines (Tala PH), a US-based fintech lending startup. He also held various executive leadership roles with Citibank, based in New York, including co-founding a fintech startup with Citi Ventures that uses alternative data to help consumers in the US gain access to credit. ​Early in his career, he practiced law at Baker & McKenzie (QT) and Sycip Law, doing banking, project finance, and M&A transactions.

                  Gelo received his bachelor’s degree in Management and Juris Doctor law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University. He completed his MBA from Duke University – Fuqua School of Business.

                  Eugene S. Acevedo

                  President and Chief Executive Officer
                  Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

                  Eugene Acevedo is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

                  Under his leadership, RCBC accelerated its business and digital transformation, winning multiple awards in innovation including best digital bank and best retail bank. RCBC also took major strides in sustainable finance resulting in landmark green bond is sues, and its upgrade to Single A ESG rating by MSCI.

                  Eugene serves as Chairman of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) for the 2021 – 23 term. In 1987, he graduated from the Asian Institute of Management. He completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

                  An avid learner, he has professional certifications in Clean Power, Customer Experience, User Experience and Digital Marketing from Imperial College London, CX Academy, British Computer Society and Wharton School, respectively.

                  Albert Tinio

                  Co – Chief Executive Officer
                  GoTyme Bank

                  Albert has several years of experience in the fields of fintech, banking, telecommunications, and logistics. He started his career in logistics working for American President Lines and Federal Express. He then moved into telecommunications with two major Philippine telco players, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications. Albert earned Globe’s Leadership Award for significant gains made in growing and expanding broadband services nationwide. He transitioned from telco to fintech after being chosen to lead GCash as President and CEO. During this time, Albert became the founding president of the Philippine E – Money Association.

                  Immediately before joining GoTyme Bank, he was SVP, Digital Payments and Agency Banking for Robinsons Bank. Albert has a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines and completed the Oxford FinTech Program from the University of Oxford Saïd Business School

                  At the launch of GoTyme Bank in October 2022, Albert explained its differentiator which is providing accessible and affordable products and services with a human touch. He mentioned that to keep the human connection always, GoTyme Bank has kiosks supported by bank ambassadors that are strategically located across the Robinsons ecosystem as well as personal bankers who address customer concerns or issues thru phone calls, emails or chats.

                  Greg Krasnov

                  Founder & CEO
                  Tonik Bank

                  As the Founder & CEO of Tonik (www.tonikbank.com), the first neobank in the Philippines, I’m committed to building a trustworthy and simple banking experience to drive financial inclusion in the Philippines, where the majority of the population remains without bank accounts and without access to formal credit. I am a serial entrepreneur, having previously launched and led/co – led FORUM, Credolab, FLOW, AsiaKredit, and Platinum Bank. Ever since starting my first business at 17, I’ve been passionate about entrepreneurship and problem – solving.

                  I appreciate that in life one needs to have balance. During a two – year sabbatical, I skippered my sailboat SV Blues across Asia. I’m also a musician (check me out on Spotify). And as a resident of eight countries across three continents, and a founder of YPO’s Kyiv Chapter I’ve gained a unique understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives.

                  Throughout my career, I’ve received many accolades that I’m proud of, but what truly matters to me at this stage is the impact I make on people’s lives through my managerial and creative problem – solving skills. I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy who values honesty and open communication. I believe in fostering genuine connections and staying true to my principles, both personally and professionally.

                  If you’re not just going to sell me stuff, feel free to reach out to connect, and let’s explore opportunities to create meaningful change together in the world of fintech and beyond.

                  Lito Villanueva

                  Executive Vice President
                  Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer
                  Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

                  Lito Villanueva is the Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer of RCBC, and the Chief Digital Transformation Advisor for the Yuchengco Group of Companies. He is the founding chairman of Fintech Alliance.ph, the Philippines’ largest FinTech organization.

                  He is an award-winning thought leader on digital transformation and financial inclusion with 20 years of experience. He institutionalized the country’s first fintech industry code of conduct and code of ethics to protect consumers and published the first Philippine fintech taxonomy book. His efforts have earned him close to 100 global and regional awards including bagging a three-peat for Best Digital Bank from Asiamoney and back-to-back wins for Best Financial Inclusion App from the Asian Banker for RCBC. Some of these recognitions include being among the Top 100 FinTech Leaders in Asia, Mr FinTech of the Philippines by NewsBiz Asia, Chief Innovation Officer of the Year by the London-based The Banker, and among the Top 100 Filipinos in LinkedIn.

                  He has a regular business column Byte in the Philippine Star. He is the Chairman of the South Africa-based Alliance of Digital Finance Associations and a member of the Global Impact FinTech and AIBP Advisory Board. He is the founding president of the BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. Institute for Growth towards National Inclusion, Transformation, and Empowerment (IGNITE).

                  He finished the Cambridge Intellect Leadership Programme in 2019 on Digital Transformation by Design at the University of Cambridge. He completed a Master of Arts in public administration magna cum laude at the University of Santo Tomas and a Master in National Security Administration at the National Defense College of the Philippines.

                  Patrick M Meneses

                  Senior Vice President
                  Chief Data Officer
                  Security Bank

                  Patrick Meneses is the SVP Chief Data Officer of Security Bank, one of the Philippines’ leading universal banks which strives to be the most customer-centric in the industry. Patrick’s focus is building institutional analytic capabilities that have meaningful impact on SBC customers. He specializes in designing the operationalization of data & analytics at scale.

                  Patrick joined Security Bank from a 26-year data & analytics career spanning Big Tech in Silicon Valley to cutting edge solutions in Automotive through more recently consulting the biggest Global Banks throughout ASEAN.

                  Patrick is a featured speaker and thought leader in events throughout ASEAN. He is active in shaping academic curriculum in the Philippines and enjoys mentoring the next generation of Analytic Professionals.

                  Rico Bautista

                  President and CEO
                  Etiqa Life & General Assurance

                  Mr. Rico T. Bautista is currently the President and CEO of Etiqa Life and General Assurance Philippines, one of the few insurance companies in the country with a composite license. With its composite license, Etiqa Philippines is able to offer both life and non-life products in the Philippines market.

                  Mr. Bautista has been in charge of the transformation of Etiqa Philippines since 2019, after the re-branding exercise it did from its former corporate name, AsianLife. Since his joining, he has been in charge of delivering positive growth rates both in the topline and bottomline revenues of the company. He has led the company in fulfilling its promises to its clients, despite the challenging years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

                  He has more than two and a half decades of experience in the insurance (and pre-need) industry focused on strategic direction setting, sales and marketing, distribution management, business building, corporate governance and employee empowerment. His career is marked by his affiliations with PhilamPlans (now PhilPlans), Insular Life, Pru Like UK, Philam Life (now AIA Philippines) and BPI-Philam (now BPI-AIA Philippines).

                  In 2022, Mr. Bautista was elected the President of the Philippine Life Insurance Association (PLIA), the umbrella organization of all life insurance companies operating in the Philippines. He was re-elected as the PLIA President for a second term in 2023. He is also a member of the Philippine Insurance and Reinsurance Association (PIRA), the industry organization of the non-life companies in the Philippines and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), the premier management organization in the Philippines. He finished his AB Philosophy degree at the University of Santo Tomas.

                  John Januszczak

                  President & CEO
                  UBX Philippines Corp

                  Edison Tsai

                  President and CEO
                  Seedin Technology

                  As the Executive Director of Seedin Technology Inc., Edison is responsible for managing and developing the Philippines finance market and works closely with other overseas counterparts to ensure the successful expansion and implementation of SeedIn in the Philippines. Edison has over 20 years of experience in the development, management, operations, and consultation of Information Management Projects for major private companies and government agencies in the Philippines. He is also on the Board of Directors of ExpressPay Inc., one of the leaders in Payment Services franchising with over 800 franchised branches since 2016.

                  As an art enthusiast, Edison also founded Unit 256 Ventures Inc., a startup that operates the Artifract.io NFT Marketplace, a pioneer of Fine Arts NFT in Asia that focuses on helping art estates, museums, private collectors, and artists in the preservation of Fine Arts, ensuring copyright of every piece, and future-proofing collections. The platform brings Master-art to the public through NFTs and Fractional Ownership. In his work, he focuses on how through royalty programs, artists can directly profit from their work and have a sustainable perpetual income.

                  He is currently the Chair of Strategic Partnerships for FinTechAlliance.ph to foster and strengthen relationships with other Fintech Organizations in and outside of the Philippines, and the Chair of the Membership Committee and Board Member of Fintech Philippines Association (FPA) in its mission to promote the Philippines as a global leader in FinTech innovation and expanding its membership base.

                  Prior to SeedIn, he worked with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as its Chief IT Consultant for implementation of key IT projects involving business registrations. This includes collaborations with various government agencies such as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Social Security System (SSS), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Local Government Units (LGUs) and other permit/license-issuing agencies.

                  He is also the founding CEO of Sigmasoft Technologies, that was acquired by Touch Solutions in 2011, before the company went public on the Philippine Stock Exchange. Edison holds a degree in Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) from De La Salle University.

                  Manish Bhai

                  Manish Bhai

                  Founder & CEO
                  UNO Digital Bank

                  UNO Digital Bank

                  Manish Bhai is the Founder, President & CEO at UNO Digital Bank (UNObank Inc.), one of the six licensed and operating Digital Banks in The Philippines and also the Founder at UNOAsia Pte Ltd., the Singapore based fintech that is the primary incorporator of UNO Digital Bank. UNOAsia is the first fintech company in the South & South East Asia region to receive a license outright to operate a digital bank.

                  Manish left Citigroup in mid 2019 to start his entrepreneurial pursuit around digitalisation Manish is a financial services and banking veteran with 30 years of industry expertise, and C-level engagement across the ecosystem. He has extensive experience of clients, products and regulatory landscape in Asia by being in regional and country head roles in multiple locations. He has built and managed diverse businesses including Asia Institutional Sales, Global Markets Indonesia and Singapore, Country Treasury Indonesia and Corporate Structuring & Sales, South Asia. An industry innovator with expertise across Investments, FX & Derivatives, Balance Sheet management, Credit, Sales & Execution, Manish is very passionate about digitalisation and building new solutions.

                  Manish is a HBS alumni, a Fellow Chartered Accountant, Associate Cost Accountant and a qualified Company Secretary with a number of university level and All-India Rank recognitions. He was recognised as the Top 10 Fintech Leaders in the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) Global Fintech Awards 2022, and more recently as the CEO of the Year, Asia 2023 by IDC.

                  Renren Reyes

                  Ren-ren Reyes

                  President & CEO
                  G-Xchange Inc.

                  Ren-ren Reyes is the President & CEO of G-Xchange, Inc., responsible for the mobile wallet operations of GCash. He oversees all business units that cover GCash’s Payment and Transfer products. Previous to the role, he was the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for the country’s flag carrier, Philippines Airlines, and formerly a Director, SVP & Head of the Consumer Business for PLDT and SMART.

                  He has had extensive experience across a broad spectrum of business challenges – from driving new sources of growth from a dominant position in the foods industry with Nutri Asia, pivoting a legacy business into the digital landscape with PLDT, to successfully turning around the biggest and most well-loved business in the Philippines and the region – SMART, Philippine Airlines, L’Oreal’s Consumer Business, Dove Hair in Southeast Asia and Sunsilk in the Philippines. Ren-ren obtains his Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Engineering from Ateneo De Manila University and attended an executive course on Culture Building in CEDEP, INSEAD and General Management in France.

                  Mike Singh

                  Mike Singh

                  Chief Commercial and Revenue Officer
                  UnionDigital Bank Inc.

                  Mike Singh brings a wealth of experience to the table, with a background in both financial services and entrepreneurship.

                  He has successfully founded multiple businesses, and his atest venture, Pera247, a digital lending app, was acquired by Grab Finance in 2021, marking his third successful exit. Mike also spent almost a decade at HSBC Finance North America, where he played a key role in launching Best Buy’s Private Label credit card in China and Mexico, and oversaw General Motors’ co-branded credit card. which had a portfolio of over US$7 billion.

                  Mike holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the renowned Kellogg School of Management in Illinois, USA.

                  Jean-Marc Arbogast

                  Jean-Marc Arbogast

                  Country Manager – Philippines
                  International Finance Corporation

                  Jean-Marc Arbogast is the newly appointed Country Manager for the Philippine office of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group.

                  Jean-Marc, a French national, was formerly the Adviser to the Vice-President Corporate Strategy and Resources, where he helped formulate and articulate IFC’s strategic priorities while aligning resources to deliver on our ambitious agenda. Prior to that, Jean-Marc was a Senior Investment Officer in the Global Water team where he led origination and execution of transactions in the sector globally, in close coordination with regional infrastructure colleagues. Before joining IFC in 2012, Jean-Marc worked as an investment banker at BofA Merrill Lynch in New York City, advising industrial and agribusiness companies globally on mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions.

                  In his new role, Jean-Marc is responsible for all IFC activities in the Philippines, including leading efforts to build its portfolio, developing new upstream opportunities and enhancing its impact.

                  He holds an MBA from Yale University and a Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering from ENSICA, a French engineering school.

                  TG Limcaoco

                  President & CEO
                  Bank of the Philippine Islands

                  Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco (TG Limcaoco) is the President and CEO of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) – the oldest bank in both the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and one of the most established financial institutions in the country. TG was appointed as BPI President and CEO on April 22, 2021. He has served as a Director of the Board and a Member of the Bank’s Executive Committee since February 2019.

                  He is Chairman of BPI Wealth – A Trust Corporation, Bank of the Philippine Islands (Europe) Plc., BPI Capital Corporation, BPI/MS Insurance Corporation, and BPI AIA Life Assurance Corporation. He is Vice Chairman of BPI Century Tokyo Lease & Finance Corporation and BPI Century Tokyo Rental Corporation. He is President and Vice Chairman of BPI Foundation, Inc.

                  Outside of BPI, he is President of the Bankers Association of the Philippines, Chairman of Philippine Payments Management Inc., a Trustee of the Asian Institute of Management, and a Director of AC Mobility Holdings, Inc. He is also a current member of the Management Association of the Philippines, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), and the Rotary Club of Makati West (where he is a Past President). Lastly, TG is a Director of Just for Kids, Inc., a homegrown business of his family.

                  In recognition of his outstanding leadership and exemplary communication skills, TG was bestowed the prestigious 2023 Communicator of the Year award under the Executive Leader Category by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Asia Pacific. This award underscores his ability to effectively convey complex ideas and foster meaningful connections within the business community. He also earned the Gold Award in the Best CEO category for the Philippines in Asia’s Best Managed Companies 2023 poll of FinanceAsia. This accolade serves as a testament to his exceptional stewardship and strategic vision, further solidifying his reputation as an exceptional leader in the financial industry.

                  Before coming to BPI, he was the Chief Finance Officer, Chief Risk Officer, and Chief Sustainability Officer of Ayala Corporation, a Philippine Stock Exchange-listed company. He was also the Chairman of AC Energy International, Inc. (formerly Presage Corporation) and the President and CEO of AC Ventures Holding Corp. He was also a Director of the Board of several Ayala companies, including publicly-listed Globe Telecom and Integrated Micro-electronics Inc, and the energy, infrastructure, industrials and healthcare companies of the Ayala group. He was also a director of the companies that operated G-Cash and Zalora Philippines.

                  Previously, he served as President of BPI Family Savings Bank from 2010-2015 and President of BPI Capital Corporation from 2007- 2010. He also served as Officer-in-Charge for Ayala Life Assurance, Inc. and as Director and Chairman of Ayala Plans, Inc.

                  Mr. Limcaoco joined Ayala Corporation as a Managing Director in 1998. Prior to his appointment as Chief Finance Officer in April 2015, he held various responsibilities including Trustee and Treasurer of Ayala Foundation, Inc., President of myAyala.com, and CFO of Azalea Technology Investments, Inc. He served as the President of the Chamber of Thrift Banks from 2013-2015. He was named as the ING-Finex CFO of the Year in 2018. He has held prior positions with JP Morgan & Co. in Singapore and New York and with BZW Asia.

                  He graduated from Stanford University with a BS Mathematical Sciences degree (Honors Program) in 1984 and from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA (Finance and Investment Management) in 1988.

                  Hamilton Angluben

                  Founder & CEO
                  Kwik.insure

                  Hamilton Angluben is the Founder and CEO of Kwik.insure, an insurtech which digitalizes insurance and healthcare distribution. He was previously General Manager of Cashalo, one of the Philippine’s first and largest digital lending apps. He was also a General Manager of Cebuana Lhuilllier, the largest pawnshop chain in the world, where he sold microinsurance and bundled them with bill payments and remittance products.

                  Hamilton is a founding member of the Fintech Alliance Philippines. His education comes from Oxford University, University of the Philippines, and Ateneo de Manila. He holds a Level 3 Certificate in Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute.

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