FirstDibs by Amor Maclang • Published 08 August 2019
Technological advances in the financial services field have pervaded many aspects of our lives, making previously tedious tasks simpler and more convenient.
Tasks like paying bills, booking (and paying for) hotel rooms, transferring funds, shopping online, and taking out loans have become so much easier as companies take advantage of the convenience that financial technology can offer.
A new financial service company that uses a digital ecosystem in offering their services is Advance, the country's only online platform providing flexible credit on-demand.
Advance was officially launched in July and was immediately welcomed into the Fintech Philippines Association at the latter's July Fintech Mixer.
Advance CEO and co-founder Jaime de los Angeles said that they created Advance with the mission of assisting the 80% of Filipino employees who live from paycheck to paycheck, most of whom are without access to basic credit services and are unable to rely on their employers for financial assistance.
“Expenses often come at the most inopportune times or the so-called ‘petsa de peligro.’ Advance is solving this problem by allowing employees to access their salaries on-demand, which is critical especially when faced with a sudden, unexpected need for cash,” Jaime said.
He explained that Advance is a flexible credit platform available 24/7, specifically designed so that individuals have ready access to funds that’s essentially theirs. “We know that life doesn’t conveniently revolve around payday, so we wanted to empower employees by giving them the ability to unlock their wages, anytime,” Jaime noted.
Not everyone has access to salary loan programs through banks, and even if they do, it wouldn’t be as fast as what Advance offers because of all the physical requirements and manual processes. Furthermore, approvals aren’t always guaranteed, and loan amounts are usually much larger and for longer tenors.
“A bank typically won’t lend someone P2,000 to pay a utility bill. That’s where Advance comes in— to ensure employees never have to worry about how to cover their daily needs,” revealed Jaime.
Advance aims to provide workers with the ‘peace of mind’ that at any time, they’re able to access their salary and get funds instantly sent to their bank account. But it’s the flexibility of their product that sets them apart from other lenders: they offer lines of credit that can be drawn from as needed instead of a fixed pre-approved amount. Employees can request from P1,000 up to their max credit limit, as often as they need, until they fully utilize their line. “Our model is very much in line with the sachet mentality of Filipinos, making our product really intuitive,” Jaime added.
Despite the ease of use, Jaime stresses that employers need not worry about overexposure as the credit limits are a percentage of an employee’s salary.
“Interestingly, we’ve seen that combining flexibility with controlled limits actually helps promote responsible borrowing with our customers as they draw only what they need, versus having to accept a fixed amount that they’ve been approved for and be forced to draw it all in one shot - even if it means being overleveraged," Jaime stressed.
"We really see ourselves as a financial bridge - providing financial assistance to employees while ensuring they still have enough to take home,” he added. On the client front, Advance works with employers by taking over the informal (and oftentimes very tedious) practice of lending to their employees. “We’re proud to provide our service for free and at no liability to our partners, so they can utilize their cash flow for the operational needs of their business and focus on their core competencies," Jaime said.
"At the same time, they’re still able to provide financial assistance to their employees through us, in a way that’s fair, convenient and designed to really suit their needs," he added.
Compared to other online lenders who charge as much as 80% per month, Advance doesn’t charge any interest (0%), and only issues a small processing fee which is added to the repayment amount.
The launch welcomes Advance to the Fintech Philippines Association, making them one of the many tech firms participating in the FPh ecosystem, but one who is approaching financial inclusion and credit in a truly unique way.
“We are very proud to partner with a one-of-a-kind platform like Advance. I do believe that this is an opportunity for many employees to have more access to financial security than ever before.” FPh Executive Director Amor Maclang noted.
The Fintech Philippines Association is the largest and most inclusive association in the Philippines that promotes digital entrepreneurship.
Companies interested to partner with Advance may visit www.advance.ph to provide this innovative financial service to their employees.
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