Strategy Note /
Philippines

Philippines fintechs project a faster route to profitability than EM peers

  • A higher proportion of Philippines fintechs expect to become profitable within a year than the broader EM population

  • Key performance indicators they are targeting include profitability metrics, transaction value and bottom line growth

  • Philippines fintechs’ emphasis on becoming financially strong contrasts with other EM firms’ focus on product innovation

Philippines fintechs project a faster route to profitability than EM peers
Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar

Global Financials/Thematics

Contributors
Rahul Shah
Rabail Adwani
Tellimer Research
22 March 2022
Published by

Our proprietary global survey of 215 unlisted fintech firms helps to position the Philippines' fintech ecosystem in a broader emerging markets context. Approximately 60% of surveyed Philippines fintechs say they are currently profitable, which is broadly in line with emerging markets peers. However, over one-third are expecting to become profitable within the next year, which is a higher proportion than for EMs, meaning that the path to profitability for Philippines fintechs should be quicker than in other markets.

Fintech profitability survey

In this report, we take a detailed look at the key performance indicators fintechs are targeting, their customer-value proposition and the competitive environment in the Philippines.

Targeted KPIs: Profitability measures, transaction value, and bottom line growth

According to our survey, Philippines fintechs are targeting profitability measures, transaction value and bottom-line growth. The focus on transaction value is in line with EMs, but Philippines fintechs’ emphasis on becoming financially strong contrasts with other EM firms that are typically more focused on product and service innovation, and enhancing their user numbers.

Profitability measures (such as ROE or ROIC)

Once a certain level of scale is achieved, fintechs can typically then focus more on generating returns for their investors. Firms targeting ROE/ROIC improvement include Starpay (Payments) and MyTrade (Investech).

Transaction value

This is one of the most frequently targeted KPIs cited by Philippines fintechs and is also one of the key metrics used by investors to assess operators, particularly in the payments segment. Firms actively targeting transaction value growth include Coinage (Blockchain) and TrueMoney (Payments).

Bottom line growth

Bottom line/profit growth can be achieved by better monetisation of the userbase and increasing operational efficiency. Fintechs targeting bottom line growth includes MoneySmart (Comparison platform) and Cloudstaff (Fintech software solutions).

The KPIs most targeted by Philippines fintechs

The competitive landscape for Philippines fintechs

Philippines fintechs consider incumbent/traditional financial services firms as their biggest competitors. Many people either do not trust fintechs or prefer to rely on existing providers (eg informal arrangements), which may carry lower costs and prove to be more convenient. Combining the responses of the informal sector and family/friends (for example, personal lending, remittances) shows this to also be a major competitor, cited by 29% of surveyed respondents.

Main competitors of Philippines fintechs

Philippines fintechs’ customer-value proposition: Convenience, security, and seamless execution

According to Philippines fintechs, the top values they provide to their customers are convenience, security, and seamless execution. Compared to fintechs in other EMs, those in the Philippines are less focused on providing unique offerings and personalised services.

Convenience

Accessing financial services from their smartphones is much easier for customers than visiting brick-and-mortar channels such as branches, or even ATMs. This could be a key area of differentiation, given that EM fintechs place less emphasis on this area than their customers. Fintechs that cite convenience as their key value include Akulaku (Lending) and SAVii (Lending).

Security

Cybersecurity is a key concern for the financial services industry; both fintechs and incumbents need to continually enhance their security protocols to protect consumer data. Blockchain technology can improve transaction security, making it more difficult for hackers. Fintechs that mentioned increased security as one of their key values include Cashalo (Lending) and BeepToPay (Payments).

Philippines fintechs' key values

Related reading:

The ultimate guide to Philippines fintech