Philippines unveils Higala: A beacon of financial inclusion

The Philippines has taken a significant step forward in its journey toward financial inclusion with the introduction of Higala, the nation's pioneering Inclusive Instant Payment System (IIPS). This landmark initiative, spearheaded by Talino Venture Studios and Chemonics International, promises to revolutionize the financial landscape by fostering greater financial inclusion for Filipinos nationwide. Higala's arrival addresses a long-standing challenge in the Philippines, where a significant portion of the population remains unbanked or underbanked due to limited access to traditional financial institutions. This financial disparity is particularly acute in geographically isolated areas, where rural banks and microfinance institutions often struggle to compete with larger players. Higala seeks to bridge this gap by creating a level playing field and empowering these smaller institutions to participate in a more inclusive financial ecosystem.


BobReyes.COM Higala Logo.jpg


Higala functions as a critical bridge, connecting thrift banks, rural banks, and microfinance institutions that have traditionally been excluded from mainstream payment networks due to the high costs of integration. This financial disparity is evident in the mere 18 out of 400 rural banks nationwide that are currently linked to InstaPay, the existing electronic fund transfer service. Higala seeks to dismantle these barriers, paving the way for a more interconnected financial system.


"At Talino, we are driven by the vision of inclusive development that benefits everyone, particularly the unbanked population. Higala represents the synergy between impactful venture investing and global development efforts. By providing seed funding, we aim to extend the reach of financial services to those who need them the most,” according to Winston Damarillo, CEO of Talino Venture Studios.


The fintech service prioritizes reducing the cost of real-time transactions, enabling financial institutions to offer affordable instant payment services. This not only empowers individuals with the convenience of digital payments but also streamlines the process for merchants to accept digital transactions.


A core strength of Higala lies in its technology infrastructure, designed to cater to financial institutions of all sizes. Through white-label app solutions, Higala empowers traditional banks to transform into digital entities, expanding the reach of financial services throughout the Philippines.


"We are thrilled to partner with Higala, a testament to our dedication to innovation and financial inclusion in the Philippines and beyond. Higala embodies our vision for accessible and affordable real-time transactions for all Filipino communities, leveraging our experience in driving economic growth in the Philippines,” said Jamey Butcher, President and CEO of Chemonics.


Higala's innovative approach hinges on its collaboration with Mojaloop Foundation, a non-profit championing financial inclusion through its open-source software, Mojaloop. By leveraging this platform, Higala fosters seamless connections between various financial institutions like banks, payment gateways, and merchants, alongside regulatory bodies like the central bank. This collaborative ecosystem fosters affordability and accessibility of financial transactions, laying the groundwork for a more inclusive financial landscape in the Philippines.


It is worth noting that Higala has garnered widespread support from key industry players like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Xendit, FinTech Alliance.Ph, and the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines. These partnerships underscore the collective commitment to democratizing access to financial services across the nation.


The launch of Higala signifies a pivotal step towards a more inclusive financial future for the Philippines. By bridging the gap between traditional and digital financial ecosystems, Higala empowers individuals and businesses alike, paving the way for a more robust and equitable financial landscape.