MANILLA, Philippines–A Worldwide Foundation of Credit Unions’ project aimed at designing interoperable, open-loop, low-cost, real-time payment platforms for its network of credit unions across Asia was the subject of two workshops here and in Indonesia. The workshops were conducted with WOCCU’s technology partner, Paysys Global, as part of it Interoperable Digital Financial Systems for Credit Unions project.
In addition, the World Council said its regional partner, the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), and ModusBox, Inc.—another tech partner—engaged in both workshops. Partners that included the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) and the Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives (PFCCO) participated in Manila, while Credit Union Central of Indonesia (CUCO) took part in the Jakarta workshop, WOCCU said.
WPCCI said the project seeks to build on its wider digitization goals and the mission of its Digital Transformation Lab.
Digital Payments System
“The workshops focused on guiding stakeholders and intended beneficiaries through elements of the project to ultimately help them reach consensus on key design parameters for a scheme that enables interoperable digital payments for credit unions,” WOCCU said. “An interoperable payments scheme offers the potential to increase financial inclusion by enabling cooperatives to expand the reach and quality of digital financial services offered to members, and to people who are currently unserved.”
At right, WOCCU VP of Financial Inclusion Megan O'Donnell (far left) and Project Development Officer Grace Vottero (center) with credit union partners in the Philippines
According to WOCCU, throughout the workshops, participants engaged with numerous elements of the scheme, including:
- Identifying a framework for the implementation of a payment system.
- Understanding a wide range of elements outside of a payment scheme that will be required—such as governance and ownership.
Importantly, WOCCU said, it also utilized the workshop to brief all partners on project activities to date, ongoing work, and remaining short- and long-term project goals. Throughout the workshops, participants were able to take time to discuss the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Level One design principles, with an emphasis on how these principles translate to a real-life payment system, the association reported.
“Throughout the last few days, we explored how our credit union partners can collaborate to design and implement an interoperable digital payments system,” said WOCCU Vice President of Financial Inclusion, Megan O’Donnell. “It was fantastic to have all project partners in one room, allowing us to understand the concerns and key points from our members and intended end-users of this payment system. The workshops have set the stage for future steps of this collaborative process.”
Between the two workshops, WOCCU and Paysys Global reported they also conducted a series of meetings with project stakeholders and local credit unions to gain deeper insight into current challenges and needs.
“Expanding digital access to financial services and automating internal processes enables credit unions to better serve their existing members, and expand their reach,” WOCCU said. “By working together, credit unions can overcome cost and technical capacity concerns to implement important technological innovations that will help ensure their future relevance in the market.”
The next phase of the project—anticipated in early 2020—will launch and scale regionally, developing a blueprint for global expansion, World Council reported.