It's incredible that in just a short span of time, traditional freelancers and gig workers in the Philippines have rapidly become a force to be reckoned with in today's global freelance industry.
The gig economy in the Philippines was, in fact, already rising a few years ago. The pandemic even accelerated this trend, increasing the ranks of Filipino freelancers in 2020-21, according to The Philippines Freelance Market 2022 Report by American cross-border payment platform Payoneer and Filipino micropayment service firm, Gcash.
Though the overall population of Filipino freelancers has yet to be determined, up to 1.5 million Filipinos were cited to be freelancing overseas. Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) President Paolo Mercado said these freelancers are on international online platforms for freelancing services, most of which constitute creative work, including web design and multimedia content and editing.
Amplifying further the Philippines' gig economy was the recent partnership between Payoneer and Gcash meant to enable freelancers to access global clients and payments in foreign currencies from anywhere in the world to one consolidated place.
Remarkable enough, but there's another exciting reality about all these developments. And this is about the existence of an "invisible bridge" between fintech companies, financial institutions, freelancers, gig workers, online sellers, and digital entrepreneurs. This bridge, called API or Application Programming Interface, can also be likened to a "glue that links technologies."
Here are some of the challenges in the gig economy that an API can help resolve:
Secured, real-time payouts
Gig economy workers rely on payment platforms, and having highly secure and accessible platforms are primary considerations, followed by transaction fees and the convenience of transferring to bank accounts. Financial institutions can make their online apps more accessible by applying APIs in their system, which involves automating data exchange methods, processes, and workflows.
API usage by companies opens a wide variety of opportunities for freelancers and gig economy workers to attain credit and access to lending products.
Companies like Smile API can customize this single API to make accurate data available on e-wallets, e-commerce, and delivery platforms. It can also serve as alternative credit data for traditional sources of proof of income. Underserved segments of the workforce can gain access to financial services by allowing them to share their gig and freelance work history and earnings much more efficiently to prove their financial capacity. Overall, this is how the Open Finance framework works as it deals with financial data as a whole, which is more holistic than its predecessor, Open Banking, which only involves banking data.
Gig worker credibility
Another significant challenge gig workers face in freelancing is getting employers or clients to present their credibility through employment information to applicable institutions. Smile can address this through a single API that is focused on employment data. Smile's API, for instance, provides instant access to the user's identity, employment, and income data from employment documents, HR and payroll systems, and social security systems, including gig economy platforms.
Companies can also achieve faster and more seamless recruitment processes by applying API in their systems. Thousands of applications that used to take weeks to process can be made in seconds. Individuals can register first through the API-using companies they regularly deal with or interact with. They agree to transmit their encrypted employment data, which passes from their employer through the API to the partner agencies in seconds.
Smile API: The Solution Provider
Smile API, as the one trusted source of employment and income data in Asia, offers a win-win solution to the crucial challenges freelancers, gig workers, businesses, and financial institutions face in the gig economy.
As Anamitra Banerji, Managing Partner at Afore Capital puts it: "Smile API empowers a lot of developers, fintech, insurtech and a whole host of other services oriented towards financial inclusion. But providing employment data history in API format makes it very easy for Fintechs to build around and ultimately offer lending and credit products."
Get in touch with us at Smile if these sound interesting or if you want to learn more about integrating this API into your application.