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GCash Takes Swipe at Maya: 'Digital Banking No Silver Bullet to Fintech Success'

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Financial technology platform GCash is throwing shade at rival Maya (formerly Paymaya), which offers crypto trading and digital banking in addition to its basic e-wallet services. In a statement, GCash said a digital bank, which the Ayala-backed does not yet have, is no guarantee to fintech success. 

“We don't believe that having a digital banking license is a silver bullet or magic,” said Martha Sazon, GCash President and CEO. “It's not like a signboard that you just turn on then expect everyone to come in. There's real work to acquire users and educate them on more complex financial services.”

GCash issued the statement after Paymaya rebranded into Maya earlier this month and put the spotlight on additional services in its platform, including crypto trading and its fully digital Maya Bank.

But Mynt highlighted its own financial services, including GSave, a partnership with CIMB Bank that acts like a savings account within the GCash app. GCash claims about one in every five banked Filipinos has a Gsave account. It will also soon partner with fellow Ayala unit Bank of the Philippine Islands “to give consumers more savings and financial product choices.”

GCash said it has also partnered with ATRAM, the leading independent asset manager in the Philippines, for its GInvest investment solutions, which allows users to buy, sell and manage investment products also within the GCash app. The company said about 77 percent of the country’s Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) accounts are now on GInvest.

GCash also created Ginsure, an insurance marketplace where customers can avail of over 24 different traditional life and non-life insurance policies from some of the country's biggest insurance companies. 

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“We're already offering up payment options for various crypto sites," Sazon said. "And I think we lead that space. In terms of offering crypto inside our app, we're making sure that the services we provide within the crypto space are the relevant ones and at a rate that is reasonable. We are working on it, and we'll be able to offer what we think is what the consumers are really looking for.

“We have partnered with the most innovative and the biggest institutions—CIMB, BPI, ATRAM—and various insurance companies,” she added. “So while others are just about to start providing financial services, one-third of our GCash user base are already subscribed to at least one of our financial services products.”

Meanwhile, Maya executives are touting the relaunched app with the tagline “everything and a bank,” after it secured one of a limited number of digital banking licenses from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. In addition, its other verticals include its enterprise payments solutions provider Maya Business (formerly PayMaya Business) and its on-ground agents Maya Center (formerly Smart Padala). 

GCash is ahead of Maya in terms of number of users, with about 55 million versus 47 million as of end-2021. Both companies however are certified tech unicorns, with GCash operator Mynt achieving double unicorn status, reaching a valuation of over $2 billion after securing a fresh $300 million investment deal last November. Meanwhile, Voyager Innovations, which operates Maya, is now valued at around $1.4 billion after raising $210 million in April 2022.

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Paul John Caña
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