Digital-only bank tonik, Mastercard tie up to drive financial inclusion

PHILIPPINE digital-only bank tonik and Mastercard have partnered to drive financial inclusion to the underserved and unserved population.

The partnership will enable tonik to issue a range of electronic payments products which tap Mastercard's global network and extensive business intelligence when tonik launches operationally later in 2020, according to a statement on Thursday.

Greg Krasnov, tonik chief executive and founder, said the partnership with Mastercard is about injecting more speed, scale and performance into all facets of tonik's business.

Having immediate access to Mastercard's global payment network, safety and security technology, data and analytics services, artificial intelligence technology and cybersecurity capabilities will be essential to the startup's growth and success in today's digital-first reality, he added.

Mr Krasnov said: "We want to empower the underserved and unserved Filipinos by giving them simple, accessible and fast digital banking experiences."

The partnership was orchestrated by Mastercard Fintech Express, a tailored programme providing fintechs with access to a suite of digital-first products, as well as a cross-functional team of experts to provide strategic counsel and advisory across areas such as product, partnerships, licensing and legal.

The two-year-old startup recently received a bank licence in the Philippines. It will launch a full range of banking services in the third quarter of 2020, which includes a transactional savings account with a debit card, savings and term deposit accounts with attractive interest rates and a range of consumer loans, the statement added.

Rama Sridhar, Mastercard executive vice-president, digital and emerging partnerships and new payment flows, Asia-Pacific, said: "tonik's ability to secure a bank licence as a startup is nothing short of exceptional and Mastercard is delighted to partner with them to enhance the Philippines' digital banking space and to boost the nation's financial inclusion journey."

Just in June 2020, tonik bagged US$21 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital (VC) investors Sequoia India and Point72 Ventures. The funding round also saw "significant participation" from previous investors Insignia Ventures Partners and Credence Partners.

In February 2020, the startup clinched US$6 million in its first institutional round of funding, led by Singapore-based VC firms Insignia and Credence.