Smile API makes Open Finance breakthrough extending income data service to 40 million Filipinos

One of the latest data that Smile is now able to provide is a worker's identity, employment history and insurance contributions data from the Philippines' social insurance systems.

Barely over a year since Smile API's founding, the company has made a breakthrough in the Open Finance space in the Philippines by expanding its coverage of employment and income data service to 40 million Filipinos. Open Finance framework deals with finance data as a whole instead of just bank data.

Jan Pabellon, Chief Product Officer of Smile API, said the 40 million Filipinos include basically anyone who is employed whether they are a gig worker or salaried employee.

"We have dramatically expanded our footprint as our service now covers 40 million Filipinos consisting of 25 million salaried employees, 11.7 million self-employed individuals, and 4.1 million government employees," Jan disclosed. "We're unlocking better financial opportunities for Filipinos. This is now the major milestone we have reached at Smile."

Smile has so far linked with over 30 employment platforms, covering majority of workers in the Philippines, including several others in Indonesia that the company is able to link to in Smile's Artificial Programming Interface (API). Smile's API functions like a pipeline that allows for the smooth sending or exchange of employment and income data among workers, employers and financial services firms.

As for its business customers, Smile is currently focused on financial services providers who are dependent on employment and income data to deliver their service or to lower their exposure to financial risk.

"Since day one, our vision for Smile API has been clear -- to be the one trusted source for employment and income data in Asia and right now there's a big opportunity here in the Philippines," Jan said.

New Features, New Data

One of the latest data that Smile is now able to provide is a worker's identity, employment history and insurance contributions data from the Philippines' social insurance systems.

What aided the recent development was the creation of several new features to Smile's “Wink Widget” product: a JavaScript SDK (software development kit) to allow Smile customers’ end-users to provide permission for Smile to access their data.

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Smile launched support for file uploads as well as enabling automatic recognition and digital conversion for certain types of documents, like photos, screenshots or scanned copies of documents, converting them into a machine-readable format via OCR or Optical Character Recognition.

Improvements were also made to the API structure itself to accommodate the Wink Widget's features, all designed to help Smile's customers or the various companies and organizations get trusted employment and income information from their end-users.

Benefit From Own Data

Smile API CEO Jerome Eger pointed out that Smile empowers workers by practicing the same principle of Open Finance, and that is information from individuals whether employment or income data are owned and should be controlled by them.

Jerome explains Smile helps workers to benefit from their own data. Whenever they use the Smile API interface it carries the information basically with the consent of the worker to a slew of use cases like cash lenders, buy now pay later, earned wage access, banks, among many others.

"At Smile API, we believe that access to your own data is a basic right,” Jerome said. "We serve as a bridge between you and your financial goals. Because if you have no data, you are excluded from a lot of services that ensure livelihood and improve quality of life which are important for our daily ins and outs. Three out of ten Filipinos don’t get access to credit or financial services at all."

Jerome added: "More data means more information, means less risk, means lower interest rates, and also higher value for workers and society as a whole."