Philippines-based PLDT’s fintech arm PayMaya received a digital banking licence from the nation’s central bank, supporting a goal to expand financial inclusion.

In a statement, PayMaya explained the new Maya Bank will head PLDT digital unit Voyager Innovations’ push into financial services, in turn supporting a government goal of digitising 50 per cent of retail payments and expanding financial inclusion to 70 per cent of adults by 2023.

PayMaya added Maya Bank’s primary focus will be on unbanked and underserved consumers, and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan stated the digital transformation of the Philippines is at the top of its agenda, adding “this development is a big step forward for Voyager and PayMaya”.

“Maya Bank will be a key vehicle in hastening digital adoption among Filipinos through inclusive financial services.”

Voyager Innovations and PayMaya president Shailesh Baidwan noted: “We will provide a powerhouse suite of intuitive, transparent and readily-accessible digital financial services”.

PayMaya’s total registered users hit 40 million at end-August, more than doubling since the start of 2020. Services include an e-wallet, digital remittance network and non-bank merchant payments processing.

The central bank has awarded six of seven digital bank licences it plans to issue.