financial technology

Manny Pangilinan admits GCash is more popular than Maya

Ralf Rivas

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Manny Pangilinan admits GCash is more popular than Maya

TYCOON. PLDT president and CEO Manny Pangilinan talks to reporters after the company's annual stockholders' meeting on June 11, 2024.

Ralf Rivas/Rappler

But while GCash wins in name recall, Pangilinan and PLDT executives highlight that Maya excels in the backend

When tycoon Manny Pangilinan was once relaxing somewhere in Calatagan, Batangas, he was approached by ice cream vendors, offering him their treats to help him cool off from the summer heat.

But he had a dilemma: he didn’t bring his wallet.

Paano ko kayo babayaran? Wala akong dalang cash (How will I pay you? I don’t have cash),” Pangilinan said. 

Sir, puwede hong GCash (you can use GCash),” the vendor responded.

 “Sabi ko, ‘patay!’ (I said to myself, oh no!)” 

Pangilinan shared this story with reporters just after the conclusion of PLDT’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Tuesday, June 11. Reporters asked him if Maya, PLDT’s digital bank and payments company, is ready to go public, as its competitor, Ayala-led GCash, is simply just waiting for the right time to do so.

Pangilinan admitted that Maya is “way behind in the digital wallet” race.

“What is the vocabulary, the vernacular for digital wallet? Hindi naman Maya, ‘di ba?” Pangilinan said. (It’s not Maya, right?)

Manny Pangilinan admits GCash is more popular than Maya
Maya’s strength

But while GCash wins in name recall, Pangilinan and PLDT executives highlighted how Maya excels in the backend.

Whenever you use QR codes for paying, that’s mostly thanks to Maya. The terminals that you see in stores where you scan QR codes or tap your debit or credit card is also powered by Maya.

Maya Business and PLDT Enterprise provide businesses cashless and digital solutions for businesses, be it online or onsite. The companies also give businesses the ability to release payroll payments and distribute funds to employees or other business partners.

Also, Maya is a digital bank, GCash is not. 

As of end-2023, Maya was the number one fintech ecosystem in the country, boasting of 3.4 million depositors and a million borrowers. It had disbursed a total of P34 billion in loans as of March 2024.

FINANCIALS. Maya’s financial indicators presented during PLDT’s annual stockholders’ meeting on June 11, 2024. Photo by Ralf Rivas/Rappler.

Pangilinan said Maya’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) could turn positive by the fourth quarter of 2024, but would, in no way, be in a position for an IPO (initial public offering) in the near future.

Pangilinan stressed that Maya would have to demonstrate that it can be profitable starting 2025 and be consistently profitable for “at least another year.”

“We have a lot of work ahead of us. To dream of an IPO in the next two years is simply an illusion. Please, don’t talk about it,” Pangilinan said.

We heard you loud and clear Mr. Pangilinan. Reporters in the telco beat won’t be asking you Maya’s IPO prospects again for a while. 

We will, however, continue to hound GCash for its plans to go public, especially since there’s speculation that it could just be an exit plan for an investor who’s itching to take profit. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.