How embedded banking drove CIMB to be PH’s top bank

In a country where there are over 500 banks to choose from, standing out can be a real challenge, especially for newer players like CIMB Bank Philippines. The digital-only commercial bank took on the challenge of paving its own road to success through a keen understanding of what consumers truly want alongside the use of newer banking concepts, such as embedded banking. This is how, within four years, CIMB Bank PH has become the country’s best bank, according to Forbes’ 2023 World’s Best Bank ranking, even surpassing longtime industry players.


Exploring new ways to bank


Filipinos have banked the same way for the longest time, as this was the only way they know how. With no alternatives in sight, they made do with how banking was done regardless of how inefficient or tedious it can get. Through pioneering embedded banking in the Philippines, CIMB Bank PH was able to offer a more convenient yet secure alternative for Filipinos to carry out their financial transactions. This gave customers access to banking services directly through non-banking platforms, giving them unparalleled convenience when paying for products and services online.


With embedded banking, financial services are integrated within the digital platforms and super apps of non-financial companies, which means customers do not need to switch between multiple applications or interfaces anymore. Since the financial services are already embedded into these platforms, customers can conveniently access and enjoy these services.


With its growing number of embedded banking partners, CIMB Bank PH helps non-banking entities and retailers to easily offer payment solutions, savings accounts, and lending services to their existing customer bases. Some of CIMB’s key partnerships are with GCash for their GCredit product, as well as for SPayLater on the Shopee e-commerce platform, with more coming soon.


Leveraging the benefits of embedded banking


“Our approach to embedded banking has always been customer centric. We strive to make the lives of our customers simpler through our innovative partnerships. By collaborating with select partners, we create new solutions that help solve customers’ pain points while also supporting our partners’ business needs,” shared Suraj Ramchandani, Chief Growth Officer of CIMB Bank PH. “We work on enhancing customer experiences on our partners’ platforms, examples of which would be the savings account on GCash through GSave, the revolving credit line on GCash through GCredit, the Buy Now, Pay Later loan channeling product in Shopee, as well as new strategic collaborations to be announced soon.”


CIMB Bank PH’s focus on embedded banking is one of the key drivers of its success in the Philippines. Its more than 7 million customers across the country enjoy the unparalleled convenience, ease of use, and security of embedded banking, which is not often offered by other banks. This also helped make financial services more accessible, especially for Filipinos with limited access to banking services through traditional banks. 


By integrating CIMB’s banking services into everyday platforms, customers can seamlessly perform their day-to-day financial transactions with ease, empowering them through personalized, convenient, and inclusive financial services.


On the future of embedded banking for CIMB, Ramchandani shared that the digital-only commercial bank will continue working with carefully chosen partners to offer a differentiated offer for each, depending on their specific business and customer needs. Other things to look out for in the near future are the opportunities to disrupt underserved segments such as small and medium enterprises and the overseas Filipino market.


Aside from working with partners, the recent launch of the CIMB Virtual Debit Card also further fueled the bank’s embedded banking business, as it provided a safe and secure online transaction method for Fast Plus, GSave, and UpSave account holders. To date, CIMB Bank PH has close to 500,000 virtual and physical card customers.


CIMB Bank PH continues its drive to support the further digitalization of the Philippines in line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap and will soon unveil more embedded banking partners that can enable even more Filipinos to live their purpose.