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MANILA – In partnership with One Cooperative Technology Service (OCTS), the first and only CDA-registered technology service cooperative in the Philippines, Pouch.ph has launched CoopPay, a mobile wallet app that provides cooperatives, their members and families with a fast, cheap, and secure way to send and receive peso payments and bitcoin payments via the Lightning Network.
To mark National Cooperative Month last October, CoopPay successfully made an initial rollout to 100,000 members of the First Community Cooperative (FICCO), the largest community cooperative in the Philippines headquartered in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, with a presence in Metro Manila, Visayas, and Luzon. Pouch.ph and One Coop Tech will extend the service to other cooperative groups across the country.
OCTS Board Chair Fr. Anton CT. Pascual expressed excitement about the nationwide rollout. He said, “CoopPay is an idea whose time has come! But let us not forget why we are doing this; we are doing this to improve the economic lives of our members and their families.”
Fr. Pascual founded Simbayanan ni Maria Multipurpose Cooperative, the biggest community cooperative in Taguig City. While serving as executive director of Caritas Manila, the Philippines’ largest church NGO, he is also chair of the country’s leading cooperative bank and insurance cooperative federation.
There are 30,606 registered cooperatives serving over 14 million members across diverse industries and sectors based on end-2021 CDA figures.
Pouch.ph is an Operator of Payments System (OPS) licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). OCTS is a special type of cooperative supervised by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and organized under CDA MC 2021-14. As a special cooperative, its membership comes from all types and categories of cooperatives nationwide.
CoopPay offers a range of convenient features, including the ability to deposit and withdraw Philippine pesos, make CoopPay to CoopPay transfers, conduct bank/fund transfers (UnionBank, BPI, BDO, Metrobank, GCash, and Maya, among others), and utilize cash pick-up services.
Unlike other payment service apps, bills payments through CoopPay are generally more affordable as neither Pouch.ph nor the cooperative organizations add any service fees or markups. Bank transfers incur a minimal fee of Php15, which aligns with industry standards. It has no set transfer limits and offers real human support.
The mobile wallet application also includes a shop tab, providing users with options to buy loads for all networks, pay for transportation services (Beep, Autosweep, Easytrip), and pay bills (Meralco, Maynilad, Converge, SkyCable, and many other billers).
Effortless switching from peso to bitcoin
“Our priority is to bring financial access, service, and opportunity to all Filipinos, particularly with a strong focus on customer care and global connectivity. Our collaboration with OCTS to launch CoopPay will enable us to bring better financial services to millions of Filipinos,” said Pouch.ph founder and CEO Ethan Rose, formerly a software engineer for Uber in Seattle and who also worked in the fields of AI and self-driving cars. He has found home in Cagayan de Oro City, being married to a Filipina.
Speaking for One Coop Tech, COO Anna Marin Crisolo envisions CoopPay to provide a medium-term best-practice model for cooperatives in the Philippines and the ASEAN region.
“It has always been our mission at OCTS to facilitate financial empowerment at the grassroots level. We want to show the way for our brother and sister cooperatives in the ASEAN region. After much work, overcoming challenges, we are ready to do that. The CoopPay app, powered by Pouch.ph, is our next step in that direction,” Crisolo said.
Following the strategic roadmap being jointly drafted by Pouch.ph and OCTS, CoopPay is poised to be among the pioneering wallets in the Philippines and ASEAN to seamlessly integrate QR Ph, the national QR code standard, and the Lightning Network.
This advanced integration will empower users to effortlessly switch between peso and bitcoin payments via QR Ph. Additionally, users will have the capability to send and receive bitcoin payments across different wallets that support the Lightning open protocol in Asia and around the world, providing a boon not only to cooperative members, but also to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), seamen and other parts of the famous worldwide Filipino diaspora and their families back home. (/)