Leveraging specialized and established software-as-a-service solutions, the incumbent went from blank to bank within mere months.

The Philippines is about to welcome its first digital-only bank.

TONIK Digital Bank Inc, founded in 2018, recently received its banking license from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippines’ Central Bank) in January 2020. Preparing for its imminent launch, TONIK has selected technology solutions provider BPC as its exclusive payment partner using the latter company’s payments processing centre and SmartVista solution.

The Philippines has a population of over 100 million, spread across a vast territory of 7,600 islands but 70% of that population is currently unbanked. TONIK intends to boost financial inclusion. Funded by Forum, a fintech venture capital firm in Southeast Asia, it will focus on retail banking products ranging from deposits to consumer loans. The bank estimates it is addressing an untapped market of US$140 billion for retail deposits, and a US$ 100 billion unsecured consumer lending opportunity.

TONIK has chosen BPC as its exclusive partner for payments processing activities, delivered through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. All payments activities such as payment switching, fraud management and card lifecycle management will be handled from BPC’s global payment processing centre. This will enable TONIK to efficiently route transactions and provide a secure environment for its customers while gaining in speed to market and performance.

From blank to bank within months

TONIK provides a great example of how fast neobanks can go to market—in just a matter of months —using an agile approach. The bank will launch within the year using blocks of best-of-breed solutions to focus solely on delivering a compelling offer and experience to customers.

There were two reasons for BPC to be selected by TONIK. Firstly, BPC showed it can help TONIK operate efficiently and realize economies of scale, in line with the bank’s objective to bring fair banking to Filipinos. Secondly, BPC offers 20 years of experience in handling large payment volumes in over 80 countries, an important criterion when addressing a market as vast and spread as the Philippines.

Greg Krasnov, founder and CEO of TONIK, commented: “The banking sector in the Philippines is ripe for digital disruption. With BPC, we rely on a partner that understands how startup digital banks need to operate and to scale efficiently at a fast pace. With BPC, we add a strong asset to our ecosystem to deliver banking and payments the way customers want, fast, affordable, efficient and highly secure.”

Jane Loginova, Chief Commercial Officer, BPC added: “We are proud to join TONIK in this journey to transform the way we bank in the Philippines. We look forward to making history in the Philippines with TONIK.” BPC’s manage director Peter Theunis added: “TONIK’s retail customers will experience fast and secure payment services, while the bank signs up for a compliant and future-proof platform which continues to evolve as regulatory compliance and consumer needs evolve.”