Entrepreneur to launch new money transfer business in Philippines

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and FXC Intelligence and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors.… Read more
  • Randy Prado set to launch “PhonePera” to improve access for unbanked people
  • “People at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder” will be targeted first, he said
  • Ideas for expansion across Asia are also being considered

An Australian mobile money entrepreneur is set to start a new online money transfer business in the Philippines.

Randy Prado, who used to work at both Nokia and Portitech, will now set up a firm called PhonePera in the southeast Asian country.

The new service will be aimed at those who are currently “unbanked”, or who have little access to normal financial services.

It will be both a sending and receiving service, and it is expected to be anchored primarily around mobile phones.

Prado, who also has a number of other leadership positions under his belt including his current position as CEO of Republisys, gave an interview in which he covered some of what he sees as the major benefits of his new project.

He previously split his time between the Philippines and Australia, although now he works in the country full time.

In the interview, he focused at first on what he described as the “socio-economic” aspects of the issue.

“In the early stages, PhonePera will be designed for people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, people who don’t have access to bank accounts or a simple debit card”, he said.

“We will initially focus on that market segment and then as that market segment adopts our application, the rest of the market should slowly begin to adopt it too.”

However, there is also an international money transfer aspect to project.

“I want to see PhonePera be the first mobile payment technology developed in the Philippines expanding globally to the huge Filipino communities and foreign workers deployed around the world in Australia, Europe, North America, and other neighboring Asian countries”, he added.

Part of the reason why the project has been launched in the Philippines, in particular, is due to the potential size of the market there.

The country has around 100m mobile phone users – and almost two-fifths of that number have smartphones.

In his interview, Prado also touched on some of the other Asian nations in which he believes the business model could work.

“Countries in Asia like India, Indonesia, Bangladesh are very much within our grasps geographically, so if we were to follow the same Socio-Economic modeling we employed in the Philippines, I think we can expand PhonePera in those countries”, he argued.

Ease of use is also a key factor.

“The key success factor for PhonePera is the eventual massive distribution network, where the ordinary person, if he/she receives money or wants to send money, can just walk down the street stores (sari-sari store as they’re called in the Philippines) that offers them this cash-in, cash-out facility”, he said.

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