Photo by Gino on UnsplashThe Philippines has seen significant growth in its fintech industry in recent years, with the sector playing a crucial role in driving financial inclusion in the country.According to a report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the number of fintech companies operating in the Philippines has more than tripled over the past three years, from around 100 in 2018 to over 350 in 2021. These companies are providing a range of financial services, including payments, lending, and insurance, to both individuals and small businesses.One of the main ways in which fintech is driving financial inclusion in the Philippines is by providing access to financial services for those who were previously unbanked or underbanked. According to the World Bank, around 25% of the adult population in the Philippines was unbanked in 2017, but this figure has been steadily decreasing in recent years thanks partly to the growth of fintech.Fintech companies can reach these underserved communities through digital platforms and mobile technologies, which enable them to offer financial services remotely and without the need for physical branches. This is particularly important in a country like the Philippines, where traditional financial institutions poorly serve many rural areas.In addition to providing access to financial services, fintech is also helping to drive financial literacy and education in the Philippines. Many fintech companies offer educational resources and tools, such as financial planning and budgeting apps, to help individuals and small businesses better manage their finances.The Opportunities for Financial InclusionThere are a range of financial inclusion business opportunities open for the Philippines, as the country has a large unbanked and underbanked population and a growing fintech industry. Some potential opportunities include:Mobile banking and payments: With a high mobile phone penetration rate, the Philippines is well-positioned to take advantage of the growth of mobile banking and payment services. Companies that can offer these services to underserved communities, either through their own platforms or in partnership with traditional financial institutions, could find a strong market in the Philippines.Lending: Many small businesses and individuals in the Philippines are unable to access traditional forms of credit due to a lack of collateral or credit history. Fintech companies that can offer alternative lending solutions, such as peer-to-peer lending or microfinance, could find a strong market in the country.Insurance: The insurance market in the Philippines is underdeveloped, and there is a significant opportunity for companies that can offer affordable and accessible insurance products to underserved communities. This could include health, life, and property insurance, among others.Financial education and literacy: Providing financial education and literacy resources can help individuals and small businesses better manage their finances and make informed financial decisions. Companies that can offer these resources, either through in-person training or through digital platforms, could find a strong market in the Philippines.The economic impact of Financial InclusionPhoto by Timon Studler on UnsplashOne of the major economic impacts of the fintech industry providing for the Philippines is the creation of jobs. As the sector has grown, it has attracted investment and talent, and this has led to the creation of new employment opportunities. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the fintech industry in the Philippines employed around 20,000 people in 2021, and this number is expected to continue to grow as the sector expands.In addition to creating jobs, the fintech industry is also driving economic growth in the Philippines. The sector is contributing to the country’s GDP, and it is also helping to promote financial inclusion, which can have a range of positive impacts on the economy. For example, by providing access to financial services for previously unbanked or underbanked individuals and small businesses, fintech is helping to increase their financial stability and their ability to participate in the economy.Another opportunity that the fintech industry is providing for the Philippines is the chance to be at the forefront of innovation in financial services. The country has a strong and growing fintech sector, and this is attracting attention from investors and entrepreneurs from around the world. This is helping to put the Philippines on the map as a hub for innovation in the financial industry, and it is also providing opportunities for local companies to partner with and learn from international players.The role of fintech in driving financial inclusion in the Philippines is clear. By providing access to financial services and education, fintech is helping to empower individuals and small businesses to promote inclusive economic growth in the country.References:Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, “Fintech in the Philippines: Status and Trends,” 2021, https://www.bsp.gov.ph/downloads/Publications/2021/fintech_status_trends_2021.pdfWorld Bank, “Financial Inclusion Data,” 2017, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/FX.OWN.TOTL.ZSThe Role of Fintech in Driving Financial Inclusion in the Philippines was originally published in Piccopay Pte. 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