Microsoft, ItsLikeCash sign deal promoting financial inclusion

MICROSOFT Philippines has partnered with mobile money solutions provider ItsLikeCash to take advantage of the accelerating shift to the digital lifestyle among Filipinos and contribute to the so-called inclusive growth program of regulators such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The alliance is in line with the United States Agency for International Development’s ongoing e-Payments ecosystem or e-Peso project that encourages both the public and private sectors to promote electronic payment usage.

In the long run, it is aimed at implementing a single and interoperable e-payment channel for all transactions in the country.

Based on the Philippine Development Plan, the government identified financial inclusion, where as many Filipinos as possible have easy access to the various financial services, as a necessary component for real and sustainable growth.

It focuses on the segment of the population with limited access to income opportunities and technology support.

Approximately, two-thirds of the population remains unbanked and has no access to financial services.

ItsLikeCash, together with Microsoft, hopes to change this via an easy-to-use mobile payments platform and e-payment ecosystem that extends monetary services to low income and unbanked Filipinos.

“Our partnership with ItsLikeCash reflects our belief at Microsoft in harnessing the power of technology to improve communities,” Karrie Ilagan, general manager for Microsoft Philippines, said.

ItsLikeCash is a cloud-based alternative cash storage and payment method housed on Microsoft Azure.

Akin to mobile-phone prepaid cards, it uses digital codes that allow users to withdraw or deposit from their ItsLikeCash accounts through short message service and over the phone.

With it, they make transactions with the use of digital codes and not pay cash in exchange for goods.

The Asian Development Bank revealed in a study that high-cost transactions and low levels of financial literacy are the obstacles to the quantity and quality of financial products and services that may be accessed by the poor.