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TrueMoney supports sari-sari stores via Dagdag Puhunan

Sari-sari store owner Amy Garcia is thankful that TrueMoney is giving her convenient access to essential food and non-food products.
Sari-sari store owner Amy Garcia is thankful that TrueMoney is giving her convenient access to essential food and non-food products.

Amy Garcia, a sari-sari store owner for more than two decades, is one of the many beneficiaries of the low touch economy innovations of the award-winning Dagdag Puhunan program of TrueMoney Philippines.

“In these extraordinary times, TrueMoney Philippines accepts the challenge of helping the simple Filipino sari-sari store owner to thrive and survive,” TrueMoney Philippines CEO and Country Managing Director Eugene Go told Digital Life Asia.

Cashless access

TrueMoney, a payments and remittance network, has rolled out Dagdag Puhunan for the benefit of local communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Unilever, it enables cashless payment for the purchase of essential food and non-food products.

“The sari-sari store is now more important than ever to supply the basic needs of the neighborhood given the mobility constraints and health safety precautions that everyone needs to observe in this time of the pandemic. While online groceries are now gaining popularity, a large number of consumers will most likely spend the money for delivery fees on their basic necessities instead,” TrueMoney Loans Business Unit Head Rocio-An Rentuza said.

“Instead of paying for products in cash, sari-sari store owners can transact through the secure Dagdag Puhunan platform, using their UnionBank credit line to directly purchase stocks from TrueMoney’s FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) partner. It eliminates the need for physical cash transactions and ensures the safety of retailers and distributors on the road,” Rentuza added.

As a sari-sari owner, Garcia said she appreciates the convenience of having a fixed retail budget and direct access to big FMCG companies like Unilever.

“There is no need to go out and close my store to stock up on goods,” she said in a press statement.

Partnership with Unilever

At present, sari-sari store customers of Unilever’s distributors can purchase additional stocks on affordable credit. They do not have to worry about running out stock before the next Unilever salesman’s visit or the inconvenience and cost of replenishing stock at the wholesaler.

“This partnership with TrueMoney is about bridging the gap and providing our customers access to financial solutions that otherwise could not be provided by the traditional banking industry. This is attributed to stringent documentary requirements and other barriers in accessing capital,” Unilever iDT Executive Val Gran said in a press statement.

In the course of the two-year partnership, the TrueMoney platform comprises 77 percent of the Unilever loyalty program customer base, made up of its distributors and their sari-sari store customers. The inclusion of the Dagdag Puhunan credit facility expanded this partnership.

Helping more sari-sari store owners

To date, TrueMoney has 11,000 active stores and targets to acquire 120,000 unique sari-sari stores by the end of the year.

What initiatives will the company launch to achieve this target?

“TrueMoney’s Dagdag Puhunan retailer loans’ growth strategy is its key partnerships with Unilever, Monde Nissin, URC, and Megasoft. These supportive partners help drive adoption of their own sari-sari store customers to the TrueMoney Dagdag Puhunan facility,” Rentuza said.

The maximum short term working capital amount for sari-sari stores is P10,000, which may increase over time depending on the retailer’s usage or credit standing.

“With the program, TrueMoney hopes to bridge access of sari-sari stores to UnionBank’s affordable credit in order to give them an alternative to the usurious rates of informal lenders,” Rentuza said.

Last year, the Dagdag Puhunan program won the Social, Sustainable & Responsible Banking award at the 2019 Efma Retail Banking Summit Asia Awards. The category recognizes innovations that address social concerns, support SME growth, and help promote environment-friendly policies.

TrueMoney Philippines, which operates under Ascend Money, is the largest fintech company in Southeast Asia and a digital finance joint venture of the C.P. Group and Ant Financial. The company has over 70,000 financial services locations in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. TrueMoney aims to drive financial inclusion across the various countries by offering innovative and affordable financial services to the masses.


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