Building Trust in Blend PH’s P2P Marketplace
Of late, peer-to-peer or person-to-person marketplaces, also known as P2P, has been exploding in the worldwide e-commerce industry. You have P2P car sharing, where vehicle owners can extend their cars to strangers and get income, usually in order to cover monthly payments, fuel, and car maintenance. You have P2P shared accommodations or flat sharing, where property owners can host people, particularly travellers for certain periods to fulfil their need to socialize and earn money at the same time.
It is also prevalent in the financial sector, of which Blend PH is a part of. P2P in this sense, is a two-sided coin. There will be two facets to every exchange and there’s always the issue of supply and demand. “What’s in it for me?” is a common question.
When strangers decide to transact in any two-way exchange such as P2P, there is always bound to be some form of friction. Therefore, removing this burden is a must. It would require extending quality and trust to both parties, among many other factors.
Creating a framework of trust online
“Trust empowers people to transact with one another,” says Stephen Ufford, the founder of Canadian financial technology company Trulioo. Identity verification is the first step to peel off the mask of anonymity between strangers who want to transact online.
This is why we at Blend PH employs a solid process for verifying identities of both lenders and borrowers. Aside from having a bespoke algorithm that initially assesses a person based on his financial behaviour, we painstakingly look at the background of the person depending on the contact details given by doing some call outs or manual verifications based on the information or documents that he or she has provided.
Brand building and consumer education
A platform like Blend PH is designed to resonate with the market for emotional reasons. We always say that we want to empower Pinoys, and that we want to create a network of responsible borrowers and ethical lenders. But without exerting the effort to tell people why they should make their repayments on time or why Pinoys should save up for emergencies, our endeavors and visions would be put to waste.
Ask yourself these questions: Why should you buy a college textbook when you can have the entire thing photocopied for 1/4 its original price? Why get a professional cleaning service for an office instead of getting the cleaning done by employees on the side? Why should you pay for a room at the Raffles in Singapore when you have hundreds of AirBnB accommodations right across the road? Why should you borrow money from a bank or an alternative financing institution like Blend instead of asking financial support from a relative?
The answer is simple. It’s all about having a feeling of security. When you choose a company with products or services that people know and trust, then you’d have the assurance that you’re in good hands.
Working with like-minded entities to further our goals
Blend works with a variety of companies that share our devotion to empowering Pinoys through financial inclusion and financial freedom. An actual example of this is the partnerships that we build with small business franchise companies in offering finance options to those who want to become entrepreneurs.
One of our long term goals at Blend PH, in addition to powering trusted peer-to-peer transactions in the Philippines, is to help create an ecosystem and economy of trust that includes the reputable institutions that we partner with. Combining these reputation signals with transactional reputation through our borrowers and lenders could be a step towards this direction.
Hopefully, someday, people won’t just be focused at the centralized credit scores that banks and other traditional financial institutions have imposed on people alone, but rather on the greater goal of empowering everyone through financial inclusion and education.