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Tech News Round-Up: From Digital Finance And Internet Connectivity To Audio Streaming And Online Training

Here are relevant technology updates in the areas of work/business, finance, entertainment, and leisure

One thing the pandemic has made people all over the world realize is the importance of technology. It has always made lives easier pre-COVID, but the fact that it's an essential part of the daily grind in the modern day was established even more in the face of thge global health crisis. 


After more than a year of varying quarantine and lockdown measures in the Philippines, Filipinos have had to adjust and adapt to the virtual ways of the world—be in the aspect of work / business, finance, entertainment, or leisure. 


Here, we've rounded up tech news that can help make your lives easier, more hassle-free, more productive, and more enjoyable even when you're at home: 


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GCash Introduces New In-App Products and Services

From starting out as an e-wallet for making fast and secure online transactions to being the undisputed #1 mobile wallet app in the Philippines, GCash is now transforming itself once again to respond to the call of the times by launching new products and services to further its vision of making Filipino lives better everyday, with finance solutions made for all.


GCash as a platform has enabled Filipinos with digital finance which is easily accessible through their phones. With 1 in 3 Filipinos currently using the app after growing its user base from just more than 20 million in January 2020 to over 40 million to date, GCash is going beyond just providing seamless and secure transactions through cashless payments. The organization has anchored its thrust towards building robust financial services offerings, extending the app capabilities to fit the lifestyle of its users, empower businesses and entrepreneurs across different enterprise sizes, and anchor the app’s ecosystem, partnerships, and capabilities to be a change agent and to commit to doing its part of nation-building. 


How to generate personal QR on GCash
How to generate personal QR on GCash
How to customize personal QR on GCash
How to customize personal QR on GCash


With its new lineup of products and services for 2021, GCash now allows its users to shop, save, invest, get insurance coverage, and more. GInvest, the new easy investment feature found in the GCash app, lets you invest for as low as P50 in professionally-managed local and global funds. GInsure allows consumers to get insurance for medical emergencies such as Dengue, COVID-19, and accidents for as low as P300, as well as financial assistance via Cash For Medical Costs and the recently launched Cash For Income Loss due to any cause. There’s GSave, a fully digital, secure, and hassle-free savings account that was built in partnership with CIMB Bank; the only requirement to start is an ID and a smartphone—no maintaining balance, no fees, and no initial deposit. GCredit serves as a fully-verified user’s personal credit line within the App, with the ability to provide those with high GScores up to P30,000 credit line and up to 3% prorated interest rate; the earlier the due is paid, the lower the interest rate.


GLife is an e-commerce feature within the GCash app that now allows users to shop and avail themselves of exclusive deals from a wide array of merchants, with more than 35 brands across retail, food, gaming, entertainment and transport. For entrepreneurs, GCash QR on Demand has been introduced; it’s a new and better way to securely send and receive money without having to worry about “wrong sends” due to incorrect numbers, or giving away personal information such as their mobile numbers.  GCash also has an upcoming GPadala service that enables OFWs to send money to a non-GCash user for cash pick-up anywhere in the country.


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Tonik Launches as First Neobank in the Philippines

In the first quarter of this year, Tonik, Southeast Asia’s first digital-only bank was launched in the country. This revolutionary proprietary app brings to the market a completely revolutionary and branchless way of banking, providing deposit, payment, and card products to consumers on a highly secure mobile platform. Its deposits are insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).  Tonik’s unique cloud-based solution is powered by global financial technology leaders Mastercard, Finastra, and Amazon Web Services. 


Tonik enables its customers to “Save Big and Dream Bigger” with industry-leading deposit interest rates of up to 6% p.a.  To make saving more relevant, fun, and social, Tonik offers unique Stash and Group Stash features, as well as traditional Term Deposits.   



The customers can open fully functional banking account in under 5 minutes, using only the Tonik App, an ID and a selfie.  Tonik account can be easily topped up in many convenient ways, including interbank, debit card, or in cash at close to 10,000 retail agents across the country.  Immediately upon onboarding, the customer is issued a virtual Mastercard debit card that can be used at a variety of e-merchants.  The product offer will soon be expanded to include a physical debit card or take out an all-digital consumer loan.  Tonik operates out of hubs in Singapore (HQ), Manila, Chennai, and Kyiv.   


Learn more about Tonik and what it offers via http://tonikbank.com.  


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Globe At Home Launches UNLI FIBER UP

While current circumstances have put many dreams on pause, it has not completely stopped Filipinos from moving forward. Powered by Care, leading internet provider Globe At Home celebrates all the small and big wins of every Filipino family. 


The internet has undoubtedly helped netizens thrive even from their homes. It has given them opportunities to earn even at home. During the pandemic, many turned to the internet, and most especially to social media, to look for ways to make extra. Some of the most common endeavours that this gave birth to range from baked goods and fresh produce to arts and crafts and even plants. With the help of the internet, netizens of every age have also picked up a lot of skills that greatly improved every day life—from brewing barista-style coffee to DIY home improvement, and even urban gardening. 


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Considering the effects of COVID-19, people have also been constantly searching for ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and the internet makes helpful, practical, and essential information easily accessible to everyone. It has also been noticeable how the young ones have been dabbling in various creative pursuits. Many of today’s youths have turned to doing creative work recently to let out steam and earn extra cash. Aside from photography and graphics design, many are also venturing into writing. Thanks to the internet, giving back has become easier as well, and many of those who actively participate in outreach programs online can’t help but be astounded by the positive effects of altruism to their mental health.  


To ensure that Filipinos always have access to the information they need from the internet so they can continue winning at home, Globe At Home recently launched UNLI FIBER UP, a new line of fast, unli fiber postpaid plans. Each UNLI FIBER UP plan not only has upgraded speed of up to 25Mbps for only Php1699 per month, but also comes with a myriad of free modern essentials, including: free Covid-19 and Dengue medical insurance worth up to Php140,500; free access to 24/7 on-demand online doctor consultation via KonsultaMD, and; 3-month subscription to Viu Premium, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime Video. And if you switch now, you can enjoy a 50% discount on the first 6 months of your new subscription. And it comes with all the freebies mentioned above (exclusive promo for non-Globe At Home and Bayan subscribers). 


To learn more about Globe At Home’s new UNLI FIBER UP plans, you may visit glbe.co/UnliFiberUp.

 

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Spotify Premium Launches New Offers For Free and First-Time Users

Every summer deserves the perfect soundtrack. While we’re hoping this year is much more Hot Girl Summer and less Summertime Sadness, Spotify Premium’s latest offer is here to make sure your summer sounds just the way you want it. 


Last May 27, Spotify Premium began offering three months free to eligible free and first time-users for the Individual Premium plan. For those who are missing their Individual Premium plan and cancelled for one reason or another, Spotify Premium is offering three months for just Php129.00.


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Both offers are available for the Individual Premium plan beginning on May 27 to June 22, 2021. To be eligible for the Php129.00 offer, subscribers must have cancelled their Premium plan on or before 26 April 2021. Spotify Premium gives subscribers an audio streaming experience with ad-free music listening, and on-demand audio anytime. On Spotify, users get access to more than 70 million tracks and more than 2.6 million podcast titles right at your fingertips.


So whether you’re poolside listening to your top songs of the summer or binging your favorite wellness podcast during a workout, Spotify has got you covered. For an even more endless discovery that makes it easier to find music, listeners can check out their very own personalized playlists like Discover Weekly, Spotify Mixes, Time Capsule and more.


For more details, head to Spotify.com/Premium to sign up. 


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Pinoys With Disabilities Gain New Employment Opportunities Through Microsoft's Enabler Program

Participants of Microsoft's Enabler Program are proving that with strong support and equal access to employment, Persons with Disabilities can contribute meaningfully to the Philippines’ economy and society.


The Microsoft Enabler Program was launched in September 2020 to pioneer disability inclusive workplaces across Asia-Pacific by removing the barriers for a more diverse workforce. A first of its kind globally, the program provides cloud and AI training for Persons with Disabilities, accessibility education for employer partners and inclusive hiring from non-profit organizations (NPOs) supporting Persons with Disabilities.


"There are 650 million Persons with Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region alone, making accessibility and providing inclusive opportunities absolutely critical,” said Fides Ricasa, Microsoft Philippines Chief Partner Officer. “This is imperative to us as an organization, especially in the world we live in today. Access to digital skills and employment opportunities must be given to every community and individual as we look to rebuild our economies.”


Microsoft Enabler Program
Microsoft Enabler Program


In addition to training and resources, the program provides Tech Consult sessions that Persons with Disabilities can join to be connected to Microsoft volunteer technical subject matter experts to enhance their knowledge and skills. Key to the Microsoft Enabler Program’s efforts in the Philippines is Microsoft’s partnership with local non-profit social enterprise, Virtualahan. They are a for-impact organization that provides training to commercial partners on how to become inclusive employers and pools potential candidates for vacancies within the organization. 


In the Philippines, the Microsoft Enabler Program has successfully provided full-time employment opportunities for three individuals: Ritchell Anne de Loyola (who was diagnosed with a chronic illness that resulted in a physical disability), Zeus Exequiel Seth Oliveros (who has an orthopedic condition that causes mobility dysfunctions), and Jefferson Cortez (an Accessibility Engineer who is Hard-of-Hearing). 


Currently, the Microsoft Enabler Program has eight commercial partners in the Philippines: Cognizant Technology Solutions, ePLDT, HCL Technologies, Nexus Tech, NTT Data, Wipro, Crayon and the newest addition, DDLS Philippines. 




Lead photos from Spotify, GCash, and Tonik