International peer-to-peer payment app TANG app is on a mission to boost financial inclusion for the 70% of Filipinos that don’t have a bank account in the Philippines. Boosted by £1.2million in pre-seed funding, it has unveiled plans to invest in a remittances service while increasing its user base.
There are more than 10 million Filipinos working abroad (known as overseas Filipino workers – OFW), making the Philippines one of the biggest export countries of labour. Remittances are a natural electronic money flow into rural areas where they are currently cashed out as electronic payments adoption is extremely low.
OFWs send home $34billion annually in remittances, which is around 10% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product. TANG app wants to ‘keep this electronic money flow electronic and engage the relatives abroad in driving e-money adoption’.
It raised $1.2million in an oversubscribed angel investor round, including investors from both the Philippines and the US, with the largest investor Katrina Razon from the Philippines. This round brings TANG app’s total funding to $1.5million, with previous funding also including competition grants from the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge, MassChallenge, Acumen Academy, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Adrian Cheng Fellowship and the Harvard Innovation Lab’s Social Impact Fellowship Fund.
Rebecca Kersch, CEO and founder of TANG app, is passionate about improving the lives of migrant workers and unbanked persons. She tells The Fintech Times: “TANG app aims to lessen the stress many Filipinos feel during the Covid-19 pandemic, and empower Filipinos to focus on what matters most: connecting with and supporting their loved ones at home in the Philippines.
“My tita (aunt) has lived and worked outside of the Philippines for decades and also helped raise me, my brother, and sister. We started TANG app so she, and millions of other overseas Filipino workers, have a simpler and quicker way to send phone credit and money back home.”
Peer to peer payments
With TANG app for prepaid phone credit top up, Filipinos abroad can send phone credit by inputting a Filipino phone number, whether manually or populated from their phones’ contacts. Users then select which bundle of airtime they want to send and the transaction is complete. The receiver in the Philippines receives an instantaneous confirmation text as the phone credit top-up arrives and is ready for them to use.
In addition to features such as carrier recognition and immediate receival confirmation, TANG app users can sign in with Apple or Facebook accounts and be quickly onboarded to TANG app. The app also gives the 46 million unbanked adults in the Philippines a financial history by providing them with a bank account.
According to the company, it saw ‘exciting traction and organic growth’ when it launched the mobile app for phone credit top up last year in 92 countries, but it has grander plans following investment.
“Our vision is that sending money or phone credit to the Philippines should be as easy as sending a text message regardless of your location, income level, or currency. We’re achieving that with TANG app,” says Kersch. “Our driving force is to help improve the lives of the unbanked and migrant workers, starting with the Philippines.”
Kersch says the TANG app is poised to take control of a promising market with OFWs and their funds playing a vital role in bringing about financial inclusion back home in the Philippines. Plans are afoot for adding a remittance service on TANG app to offer a faster, more reliable and cheaper digital remittance solution to ‘replace the cash-in and cash-out options largely used today that charge exorbitant fees’.