Smile API announced the launch of a new digital platform designed to facilitate loan application approval (or rejection) within just a few seconds. Smile API has built a platform from the ground up to provide a seamless process when applying for loans or financing that eliminates the tedious, time-consuming process that requires the heavy involvement of the applicant, their employer, and the concerned financial institution or vendor.
As a result, it delivers significant value to workers who need to secure financial and related services; employers who can recover operational time lost to cumbersome paper trail; and banks and financial institutions that can experience fast, secure transactions in the many moribund application procedures.
Smile API CEO Jerome Eger explained during the launch, “We did a survey and found that on average, for every 100 employees in any given company, there are three to five requests for certificates of employment per week. A person in HR handles this, and it takes manhour critical for other business matters. While they need to do this, this process has no value for the employers.”
Individuals register first through the Smile-API using companies they regularly deal with or interact with. They agree to transmit their encrypted employment data, which then passes from their employer through Smile API to the bank or vendor in seconds when they apply for loans, financing, deferred payment terms, employment, or financial services.
Eger added, “What we offer becomes not just a win but a win-win-win solution for businesses, their employees, and mostly for third-party providers like banks, financial institutions, and other vendors whose services are made more accessible to potential customers.”
It is important to note that this is a one-time transaction. Smile API gets the encrypted data from the employer and passes it on to the institution or the vendor. It does not hold on to the data afterward. This process happens in seconds, and the applicant, employer, and the related banks are spared the loss of unnecessary manhours and effort and the stress that comes with waiting for (or working towards) the approval, which may or may not be given.
Smile API’s platform was conceived from a simple yet essential truth that affects virtually everyone, especially the workforce, without their knowing it. People can never fully control their personal and employee data. Their employment data — the most relevant to financial institutions, vendors, or even potential new employers — will have to be obtained from and verified by third parties through documentation, like certificates of employment, payslips, proofs of billing, bank statements, credit card statements, or even academic transcript of records.
Eger asserts that the individual must realize that “having access to data is a basic right to escape this cycle of inefficiency. Your data is crucial, as data is the oil of the 21st century. The difference is: Then few people had oil, now, everyone has data.” In contrast, he adds, “Smile API empowers people to have their data, and to use that data for their good.”
Eger likens Smile API to infrastructure that connects, using technology: “We provide bridges that allow data to move quickly between employer to bank or vendor, but the user has complete control of whether or not they cross the bridge. The customer has to grant explicit consent for each transaction and decides what data is shared with whom and at what time.”
Still relatively new, Smile API aims to provide a service unlike any in the country. They recently received funding from two established fintech investors: Credit Ease, a diversified conglomerate with a global footprint, and Plug and Play Singapore, a global venture capital firm with a solid regional presence.
Kevin Aok, Head of Strategic Investment and Mergers and Aquisitions from Credit Ease, explains why Smile API is eyeing the Philippines first: “We are looking for markets with a higher potential growth rate. Many Filipinos have a stable income, and the Philippines is largely English-speaking.”
Ziheng Li, Senior Ventures Analyst at Plug and Play Singapore, stated Smile API is the correct API for the region at this time: “Unlike other global markets such as the US and China, where employer data API are common, there is no API or service similar to Smile API in the region.”