Paving the Path to Financial Inclusion in the Philippines
With a median age of 25 and a mobile subscription rate of over 100%, many Filipinos are embracing platforms and solutions like GCash—a micropayment service that transforms the mobile phone into a virtual wallet. GCash is one of two FinTech companies owned and operated by Mynt. It offers a range of payments, transfers, investment, savings, insurance and credit services to its over 33 million registered users and currently has more than 600,000 social sellers & partner merchants across the Philippines.
The Challenge of Rapid User Growth
In the past, GCash struggled with rapid user growth. The company was using an on-premise legacy platform that was not optimized to support user growth. When the platform hit maximum capacity, there were periods of downtime that resulted in missed transactions and customer frustration and service disruptions threatened to damage the brand’s reputation.
Scaling up the legacy platform proved time and cost intensive. Obtaining and installing additional hardware required human resources, while new hardware licenses entailed costly fees. Each time user growth surpassed the platform’s capacity, GCash had to repeat the process. The company needed a cost-efficient solution that enabled them to scale in real time, while mitigating potential security threats.
With insights from millions of users and transactions at hand, GCash also sought a solution that delivered world-class data analytics.
Why Alibaba Cloud
A Successful Partnership with Alibaba Cloud
GCash partnered with Alibaba Cloud to overcome those challenges. It adopted a mix of solutions including IaaS, ApsaraDB RDS databases, ApsaraDB for OceanBase, Financial distributed PaaS for SOFAStack, Elastic Compute Service, MaxCompute, Object Storage Service, Alipay+ Wallet, ZOLOZ Real ID, and security products such as Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Anti-DDoS. With guidance from Alibaba Cloud’s engineers, GCash deployed those solutions while following three golden principles: develop in grayscale; monitor deployments and create a contingency plan.
The partnership not just empowered GCash with the ability to scale infrastructure real-time, but also intelligently defend their application from any type of cyber vulnerability. This paid off last year when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global economy. GCash became a lifeline to many Filipinos. Monthly Active Users (MAU) have grown 3.7x from the previous year and transactions increased up to 1,000% as people sought new ways to transact amid strict lockdown measures. With Alibaba Cloud’s solutions in place, GCash never had to worry if its system could handle the increase in new users, traffic, and security threats.
For example, ZOLOZ helps GCash significantly reduce turnaround time when verifying customer accounts with a world-leading, proprietary, anti-spoofing algorithm for authentication. And the Anti-DDoS service, combined with intelligent DDoS detection and protection systems developed at Alibaba, automatically mitigates sophisticated DDoS attacks and reinforce the security of GCash’s application, reducing the threat of malicious attacks. Paired up with WAF, Alibaba Cloud's security offering prevents a wide range of web-based attacks and automatically fixes zero-day vulnerabilities at the earliest opportunity through virtual patching.
When facing the challenges of increasing data and high concurrency requests, OceanBase helps GCash improve the performance significantly and reduce the overall cost on database storage. OceanBase also provides GCash with AZ-level disaster tolerance, which is critical to the financial industry.
Furthermore, SOFAStack provides distributed middleware such as microservices and message queues to help GCash build a unified technology middle-end and architecture governance, and improve its R&D efficiency. The comprehensive lifecycle management, as well as real-time business monitoring, enhances the financial risk capabilities of GCash.
Alibaba Cloud’s enterprise-grade services ensure data security, while the ability to add and remove services through the cloud reduced operating and maintenance costs.
Going forward, GCash plans to extend its partnership with Alibaba Cloud to make good on its mission of making the lives of Filipinos across the country better every day.