banks in the Philippines

UnionBank to offer mobile crypto trading in Q4 2023

Lance Spencer Yu

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UnionBank to offer mobile crypto trading in Q4 2023


The Aboitiz-led bank becomes the first bank in the Philippines to offer virtual asset exchange services like trading Bitcoin

MANILA, Philippines – Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) users may soon get to trade Bitcoin through their mobile app as soon as the final quarter of 2023.

The Aboitiz-led bank announced on Tuesday, September 19, that it has secured a certificate of authority from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate as a virtual asset service provider (VASP). This means that it can now offer virtual asset exchange services – like trading cryptocurrency – to its customers.

The central bank defines a virtual asset as “any type of digital unit that can be digitally traded, or transferred, and can be used for payment or investment purposes.” In the Philippines, financial institutions must obtain a VASP certificate from the BSP before handling virtual assets for customers.

In the case of UnionBank, it is so far the first and only bank in the Philippines to offer virtual exchange services. Other financial institutions with the VASP license include, Philippine Digital Asset Exchange, and Maya.

The universal bank will gradually roll out the feature in the fourth quarter of 2023. Once it goes live, customers will be able to use the UnionBank Online app to directly buy and sell Bitcoin. So far, only Bitcoin trading is planned for release in 2023, UnionBank’s Emerging Technology Group told Rappler.

“This milestone represents a significant leap forward for UnionBank as we continue to revolutionize the banking landscape. By obtaining this license, we are not only paving the way for even more groundbreaking opportunities, but also enhancing our digital capabilities and further transforming the way our customers interact with us,” said UnionBank president and chief executive officer Edwin Bautista.

In 2019, UnionBank also introduced the country’s first bank-operated ATM that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. The ATM, which is still active, is located at The Ark digital branch in Makati City. –

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.