ING gears up for increased competition in digital space

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
ING gears up for increased competition in digital space
In a virtual press briefing, ING Philippine country manager Hans Sicat told reporters the first all-digital and mobile bank in the country continues to focus on customers in delivering financial services.
AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — Dutch financial giant ING Bank is gearing up for increased competition in the digital space as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is finalizing the framework for the new bank classification.

In a virtual press briefing, ING Philippine country manager Hans Sicat told reporters the first all-digital and mobile bank in the country continues to focus on customers in delivering financial services.

“I think it goes without saying that customer service is probably our main differentiator with respect to our peer bank group and we continue to innovate in that direction,” Sicat said.

Sicat said the bank continues to work with the BSP and other regulators in trying to figure out the appropriate framework for digital banks.

ING started as a representative office in the Philippines in 1990, eventually becoming the first foreign bank in the country to be upgraded into a universal bank. It launched the first all-digital retail banking platform in the country in November 2018.

Sicat said ING Bank is a well-capitalized bank and even overly capitalized in the Philippines based on observations from its peer banks.

“We’re hoping to be in as many digital products suite and all these interactions so that we probably are not your basic bank at the end of the day,” Sicat said.

The proposed framework of the BSP, which introduces digital banks as a new bank classification, would base the capitalization on activities and risks taken.

“Obviously, the concept that they are trying to move over, is the issue of kind of risk-based capital. The more you do and the more activities to have, the higher capital you need,” Sicat said.

The bank yesterday launched ING Pay, giving customers more flexibility and security in managing their finances, offering them a solution to transact and keep their debit cards securely via the ING mobile app.

The new payment account provides an easy way to transact with pre-enrolled billers and free instant fund transfers. It also offers five percent cash back on all valid purchases using the ING Pay cards until end-December this year.

Sicat said the bank received encouraging results since the launch of its entry product, ING Save Account, in 2018.

“The launch of ING Pay today further demonstrates our commitment to empowering customers as they look for a safer and more efficient way to make payments and transactions in the midst of the pandemic. Now, ING customers can transact digitally at the convenience of their home. We take the hassle out of payments so our customers can spend more time on the things that matter to them,” Sicat said.

ING customers enjoy a fully mobile account opening experience with just one government-issued ID and having multiple digital ways to fund the ING Pay and ING Save accounts using PESONet, InstaPay or mobile check deposit via the ING app.

Mohamed Keraine, head of retail at ING Philippines, said ING Pay provides a differentiating experience.

“With a strong focus on customer-centricity, we are able to leverage technology and make banking processes easy, so customers do not have to spend more time than necessary. We deliver personal and instant insights so customers can take actions or just have a peace of mind that their finances are being taken care of,” Karaine said.

ING Pay features more than 70 pre-enrolled billers and merchants, including major utilities, credit cards, insurance and telecommunication companies.

“A non-negotiable aspect is to keep our customer’s account and information safe. We offer every ING Pay customer a free virtual debit card where the details are only accessible via the ING mobile app, so they do not have to worry about card details falling into the wrong hands,” Karaine added.

With the ING Pay physical debit card, customers would be able to withdraw cash at any local BancNet ATMs. Both the virtual and physical cards can be used for purchases and transactions at online or physical stores.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the launch of ING Pay is a positive development towards the goal of the central bank to shift at least 50 percent of retail payment transactions to digital channels and ensuring 70 percent of Filipino adults have transactional accounts by 2023.

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