MANILA, Philippines – “This is way bigger than any of us within this room. Today is about a movement –a bold ambition with a humble mission – to change the saving behavior of Filipino people.” With these words, GCash Assistant Vice President for Financial Services Kim Seng opened the launch of mobile wallet brand GCash’s newest campaign, #LetsSaveTogether.
The event was held last October 10 at Manila House, Bonifacio Global City. Key influencers, brand ambassadors such as television host Robi Domingo, as well as select individuals from industries such as advertising, medicine, and law, all gathered to share their own stories of financial mistakes and their own inability to save.
According to the World Bank’s 2017 Global Findex Database, 66% of Filipinos do not have any formal savings account.
A week before the launch event, GCash sparked conversations online by urging netizens to share their own financial woes via the hashtag #PlsSaveMe.
“Just like any problem, the first step to change is acceptance,” said Seng. “When we open the gates of acceptance, then people become less shy to talk about saving. [Talking about] money problems become less of a taboo.”
Via online conversations, which led social media abuzz, GCash aimed to illustrate how this reality when it comes to personal finance hits close to home for many Filipinos, no matter their situation in life.
“We took a risk and steered the conversation from just being about ‘why we should save’ and ‘how to save’ to understanding Filipinos when it comes to not saving,” Seng emphasized.
Various walks of life
“Kailangan kasi paning-paniwala [I need to look believable]. Accessories, shoes, bags, etc.,” explained Lourdes Serrano, an actress who often plays dońa roles in local soap operas.
To her, her financial problems are a bit cyclical. Having to support her family on her own, especially with a child still in college, she has to audition for work regularly. And for her to win roles, she has to invest in looking the part. This leads to her depleting her savings.
Even with a career in law that looks seemingly lucrative, Atty. Maria Lucia Fernandez finds herself struggling with the same problems regarding saving.
“I never really had the opportunity to enjoy my early 20s. After college, I went straight to law school,” she said. “When I started earning, I think I got too excited. So, I traveled from one place to another. I never got to save what I earned at that time.”
Today though, Atty. Fernandez finds herself at a life stage where all her peers are starting to get married, have their own families, buy their own houses and cars. Now, she finds the need to grow up, even a little, and start saving. However, the struggle is still real, she says.
“The good news is that it’s never too late to get in the habit of saving,” said Kim Seng. “We hope to be able to show Filipinos that it’s not too late to start on the journey to financial wellness and that there are modern, digital innovations that will enable them to achieve their financial goals.”
GCash’s campaign #LetsSaveTogether is a call to achieve financial wellness through the basic financial concept of saving. And to empower users to take better control of their finances, GCash is introducing a digital savings account available on their platform.
In partnership with digital-first Malaysian Bank CIMB, GCash lets users set aside money which can earn up to 12 times higher than current industry rates, without a minimum deposit or a required maintaining balance. All users need to open a savings account in GCash is one valid identification card.
“Our country is known as the top mobile and Internet users in the whole world. With this latest feature, we are taking advantage of this situation by bringing basic financial concepts such as saving on a digital platform in order to empower more Filipinos,” said GCash president and chief executive officer Anthony Thomas.
Just in time for World Savings Day on October 31, numerous companies and private groups from the private sector have pledged to support GCash’s initiative. Some partners include Shakey’s Philippines, FooDee Global Concepts, Bench, Memo Express, Sun Life, Ayala Land, Concentrix, Lalamove, Transportify, Quad X, and Globe.
Cebu-based firm and Qualfon and Davao-based Dok Alternatibo and Focus, Inc. Group have also joined in support.
GCash is a mobile wallet application that has 20 million users and over 70,000 partner merchants. It is owned by Mynt, the fintech arm of Globe Telecom, Ayala Corp., and Ant Financial, an affiliate of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group. GCash Save is a PDIC-insured savings account within the GCash application and is powered by CIMB Bank Philippines, one of the largest banks in the ASEAN region. Through this partnership, GCash and CIMB Bank Philippines are able to offer the highest interest rates in savings in the country, all within an all-digital experience. GCash Save was made available to the public last April 2019 and was able to open 500,000 accounts by August 2019, less than half a year later. Both GCash and CIMB Bank Philippines are regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.