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The banking and not-for-profit sectors may initially seem at odds, but they’re uniting to bring about financial inclusion to the Philippines’ poorest communities through FinTech.

The FinTech for Impact joint initiative between ING and UNICEF is funding startups that can benefit the most financially excluded, by providing up to six equity-free investments of up to $US 100,000 in for-profit technology, focusing on social impact through FinTech development.

The initiative will focus on FinTech startups using blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence technologies.

Filipino FinTech entrepreneur, Jove Tapiador is applying for the program, which he hopes will drive significant social change.

“It’s important to the Philippines' future innovation culture to see banks taking action now to deliver financial literacy and financial inclusion initiatives out to the provinces, where it will make the biggest difference to people living life at the edge,” he says.

In the Philippines more than 52 million adults or 77.4 per cent of the total adult population remain unbanked, according to UNICEF, while more than 10 million children live below the poverty line. 

FinTech for Impact organisers say without services like savings and insurance, families are vulnerable to economic insecurity - which limits their ability to plan, adapt to unexpected events, and provide the best nutrition, health, and education for their children.

The central bank of the Philippines’ Managing Director Pia Bernadette Tayag says it’s vital tech entrepreneurs don’t just innovate for innovation's sake, but deliver real world value.

“Our FinTechs are indeed innovating every step of the financial services value chain,” she says.

“However, there is a need to look past the hype and promise.

“We must see whether these FinTechs have the real connection to solve real financial inclusion problems and the real pain points of exclusion.”

“Even this year, in the midst of all these developments and innovations, more than two-thirds of the Philippines remain on the fringes of the formal financial system.”

ING Philippines Country Manager, Hans Sicat says financial exclusion is a global issue that must be solved.

“There are 1.2 billion adolescents, aged 10 to 19, worldwide left behind,” he says.

“Nearly 90 per cent of the adolescents live in developing countries and they need support to become socially and financially independent.

“ING and UNICEF believe the time to invest in this generation is not when they find themselves unemployed and without prospects, but at an earlier stage when their critical thinking and problem solving skills can be developed and exercised.”

For more information about FinTech for Impact 

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