PAY:WATCH, a fintech service for gig workers, was selected as one of the 3 winning teams in the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Gig Economy Challenge 2020.
The UNCDF is an international organization that provides financial support for the people of many developing countries who are not provided with financial services such as deposits, savings, insurance, and financial transactions under the management of the UN Development Program.
The Gig Economy Challenge was held in Malaysia for the first time this year to improve the financial situations of gig workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. In March, 110 teams from 21 member countries of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) participated in the competition under the theme “Searching for solutions to improve the financial capabilities of gig workers”.
PAY:WATCH was the only South Korean team to be short-listed in the top 10, and after a total of three rounds in a period of six months, it was selected as one of the 3 winning teams. PAY:WATCH will receive a grant of USD30,000 and will be enrolled in a local pilot program that provides technical assistance worth USD100,000. In addition, it will benefit from establishing partnerships with financial institutions with the help of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
PAY:WATCH provides financial services for gig workers such as part-time workers, freelancers, platform workers, and non-regular workers. It is introducing a salary advance payment service where gig workers record their work hours on the app and earn labor mileage points, which can be easily converted into cash when needed. When the labor mileage points are converted, major banks which have partnered with PAY:WATCH provide low-interest micro-financing to the workers. This prevents gig workers from having to turn to informal lenders that charge excessively high interest rates and fees.
According to UNCDF, “by providing Gig Workers access to low-cost financing from major reputable banks, [workers] will be better positioned to manage their ongoing payments as well as deal with unexpected financial emergencies. We look forward to working together with PAY:WATCH to pilot their solution in Malaysia.”
“I am happy that we were selected as one of the winners in the UNCDF Gig Economy Challenge,” said Richard Kim, CEO of Emmaus, the company that created PAY:WATCH. He added, “While being based in Asia, we want to expand our solutions for the financially underprivileged people around the world. Furthermore, we are positioning ourselves as a global company with the establishment of Paywatch Global Pte Ltd in Singapore and plan to launch in Malaysia in 2021.”
Other top 3 contestants in the challenge are GetHyred, a Malaysian company dedicated to job search and education for youth and Versa, a digital cash management platform in China.
About PAY:WATCH – http://paywatch.co.kr
PAY:WATCH, the product created by Emmaus, is a financial service for gig workers such as part-time workers, freelancers, and platform workers. Employees clocks-in and clocks out of work on the PAY:WATCH app and the employer approves and verifies the attendance record. Based on this data, employees’ wage advance payment service is provided: for every hour of work recorded on the app, employees earn labor mileage points, which can be converted at any time into cash. Emmaus, which demonstrated an inclusive financial model, won the grand prize at the 2019 Maekyung Fintech Awards and was selected into the regulatory sandbox of the Korea Financial Services Commission as an innovative financial service.