Why I am an advocate of efficient cashless payments

Ever since this whole quarantine period has started – there should be a counter on the sidebar that tells you how many days it has been – cashless payment systems are gradually being integrated in our “next normal” lives.

I’m going to narrate my stories and experiences about cashless payments, and I hope you get a thing or two from what I’ll share to you.

Transport

I got introduced to cashless transport through beep, the payment system which started from the light rails to e-shuttles and is now integrated with convenience stores like FamilyMart and MiniStop as well as Wendy’s among others.

With banks adding the ability to reload these cards through possible means, I believe this has proven itself useful for the commuting public. Various card designs are available although you can probably stick something on it.

Of course, there’s other systems such as EasyTrip and RFIDs for tollways, but that’s for another story since I don’t drive a car.

Fastfood

We have a recently-built McDonald’s here which is one of their NxtGen stores. This means that they have this touch screen kiosks where we can skip the line and wait for our food.

The kiosk has options to pay through cards – and luckily for me, I use my prepaid card to tap away. This was just before quarantine, mind you.

It’s a hit-or-miss thing though: Sometimes the transactions work well, but most of the time there’s an error between the kiosk and the card terminal, which leads to me approaching the counter.

Now, there’s a newly-built KFC around the area, and I this time, I use PayMaya to scan the QR code and get a cashback for using PayMaya’s QR service, which they launched to convince people to go cashless.

One time I was craving for some Marugame Udon, and I’m happy that they accept GCash. As soon as I am allowed to get in, it was easy to ask for my food and pay for it.

Soapbox: Cancelled Orders and the fear of wasted efforts

This is different from, say, on-demand food deliveries like Foodpanda or GrabFood, where stupid people cancel orders halfway through for all unacceptable reasons. Take time to read my soapbox in the next paragraphs or move to the next section.

I don’t accept any justification as to why some people have to cancel orders halfway. I make it a point that once I committed to an order, I will push all the way through.

Just a few days ago I asked to have a box of food supplements delivered to me. Grab tagged its car-driving partner to fulfill the task, who told me that he needs to park his car first, which I don’t mind.

Unfortunately, my specific requested supplement is not available at that branch, so I asked the clerk to know which branch is it available. “What if there’s no available stock,” the driver asked me. “Let’s get the alternative if that’s the case. You’ll have something delivered to me, don’t worry,” I replied.

In the end, they found what I was looking for at another branch nearby, and I gave the driver a tip.

Funny thing is that the driver missed keying in the cost of the supplement so I sent the payment through GCash, which is a struggle because that’s another top up. Also, don’t ever dare to transfer your GrabPay credits back to your bank account – they have not yet returned my cash even if it says it’s been deducted in my GrabPay account.

I’m not the one who easily cancels orders. Besides, while the driver has fears of having his efforts wasted because of an oopsie, I also have the fear of being shamed publicly – online, just like the others.

While Grab has asked its users to use the app responsibly, the gall of some asshats (including a so-called “blogger” who stole a photo from someone, used it as his own, and told the rider “it’s a prank”) still prevail, which leads groups such as Order Hero to rescue the riders and the food which cannot be returned.

Bear with me as I’ll put a heavier soapbox before we move on: Bruh, you stop using the “blogger” and “prank” tags as an excuse to trample on others who have done nothing wrong to you at all. That’s inexcusably committing a crime.

I’m sick and tired of the “blogger” title getting bastardized ever since Fake News, Political Leaning and Click Farms have escalated in this post-truth era. Tagalugin ko: Pagod na ako mahiya na sabihing blogger ako kasi may mga hayup na bumastos sa titulong ito.

Moving on…

Movies

I think I’ve never told this at length before, but I had my own double movie date on the first Sunday of quarantine, March 15th. I was not planning to do it but the Violet Evergarden side-story film is being screened that day. So is the Konosuba Movie.

I thought I can’t make it to the last screening of Evergarden but I checked the GMovies app inside GCash if I can book a ticket in advance. I’m happy that it’s there!

Perhaps the reason why it’s in GMovies is because it’s not distributed by Viva International Pictures (yes, they’re the one handling the said movie).

I just bought the ticket to the Konosuba Movie at the counter with GrabPay afterwards.

Groceries

Prior to the quarantine, I have often used either PayMaya or GCash to pay for stuff at the nearby Mercury Drug instead of cash. It has become my usual routine to get stuff there before going to work, like a canister of Berocca or a bottle of Red Bull, among others.

I’ve been using cards instead of cash to shop for groceries at the supermarket. To me, doing so won’t give me any way to have spare cash which I will eventually spend along the way.

At one time, I tried GrabMart and got my essential items within the day, which is nice. Given that Grab has its own payment system (with a virtual wallet to boot), I just need to top that up.

Upon further assessment, I still find doing grocery shopping on my own as the much better option, but if I’m too lazy to go downstairs (or if the lockdown is stricter), I’d use my Grab app again.

Recently, major convenience store chain 7-Eleven has enabled GCash users to pay using the app, which is really a big help and a major push for the service.

Money Management

There are times that I have to pitch in for local fan-made flower stands or pay in advance but through a different bank, I just top up my GCash and transfer to bank at less to no charge.

This was made possible as GCash is linked to InstaPay, an electronic retail fund transfer service initiated by the local Central Bank. Almost all major banks and e-wallet providers have InstaPay functions enabled. Here’s a primer on what InstaPay is. (PDF)

As soon as my bank got the ability to transfer to any other bank, I eventually used that function as well. This enables me to skip the line and just send a screenshot of the confirmation receipt online.

Airtime Load

As I only rely on my data connection to proceed with my everyday life online, I need to load myself constantly. After topping up, I just load myself away and continue with that I do.

In case of Globe users, you can access GCash even without data using *143# or through the app which you can access even without data load.

Online Shopping and Parcel Delivery

We’re living at a time where we can just get our stuff through Lazada or Shopee. In my case, I make it a point to pre-pay and avoid committing Cash-on-Delivery as much as possible.

Importance of Efficient Cashless Payments

Thank you for reading all the way through here.

Now, to cap off everything, I advocate for efficient cashless payments where I can move my money through basically any platform available at little to no cost.

Going back to my bad experience with GrabPay, their system still has a lot to work upon in moving money from their platform to other platforms compared to the established GCash or even the less-downtime PayMaya.

PayMaya is gradually moving up to be at par with GCash in terms of transferring cash from the app to the bank, but we will not discount the fact that PayMaya is still useful for those who send Smart Padala transactions.

The way PayMaya integrated its current working Smart Padala system is efficient considering that those in the grassroots can still benefit from it.

Current Case Studies

  • Today, GrabPay is implemented for all transactions inside the Grab app in line with existing quarantine rules. (Prior to this, you can actually use GrabPay at retail outlets)
  • According to the LTFRB, the agency is encouraging the use of contactless payments as a means to prevent the spread COVID-19 once operations of these modes of transport resume. To facilitate this, the agency has been in talks with various cashless payment providers. One of the first to tie-up with government for this purpose is GCash.” (May 22, 2020)
  • ““Cashless payment in taxis and TNVS is part of the ‘new normal,’ and we are glad that our drivers and operators have options such as PayMaya,” noted LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III.” (Manila Bulletin, May 27, 2020)

Overall, cashless payments are here to stay – and we’re just getting started. You can still keep your spare cash with you for now, but expect to hold lesser and lesser cash in the future.

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