Going cashless is going to be a public focus sooner than later. China is already there with Alipay and WeChat, which are both wildly popular, and used even by roadside carts and noodle stands. In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to ban 85% of all circulating money only boosted the already-humming cashless platform by Aadhaar. The US, Japan, and Hong Kong are all playing catch-up, but it won’t be hard for these first-world countries to make the switch.
You, then, would think that the Philippines will have to make do with cash payments because it can’t move as quick as other countries in going cashless. Anyone who goes to the city knows that they need cash because most vendors only accept physical payments, and it’s easier.
But the truth is the cashless revolution is rolling in the country. With the number of options available, you’d think that the Philippines is heading in the same direction as its neighboring countries.
Going About Without Cash
Despite the popularity of cashless payments, carrying cash still makes the most sense. Most Filipinos can’t really use cards or cashless payment systems in buying meals, paying for transportation, and other transactions where cash is king. More than that, the cash payment system is well integrated with old and new services because people simply prefer them.
So, where does cashless come in?
Let’s start with shopping and paying bills. PayMaya, GCash Beep Mastercard, Coins.ph, and other cashless platforms do what they promise to do. But just being able to eliminate the need to queue to pay bills, that’s already a big convenience. Since these are also accepted forms of payment in many online shopping sites, you can practically buy anything.
Even if you prefer going to physical stores, how much cash do you really need? Fare doesn’t cost much, and these places accept electronic payment systems (EPS) anyway.
Why the Cashless Platforms Exist
Each platform has their unique take on going cashless, despite having many of the same features. GCash Beep Mastercard may be the most practical platform for most people. PayMaya, with its wide acceptance, is useful for people who buy a lot of things from different places.
On the other hand, Coins positioned itself as an all-inclusive financial solution for consumers, business owners, and even government agencies. More than that, if you’re a proponent of digital currencies, Coins is a very attractive option.
Unique Selling Proposition
But the underlying brilliance between these cashless options is they’re loadable. In Manila’s landscape, still being able to use your own money while going cashless makes the whole thing tick. You don’t borrow like you do with credit cards, but as long as you can load money into them, you can use them like one. Swipe them in stores, go online shopping, or use them to load your smartphone and transfer money. It’s so quick and easy!
It would still be practical to carry some cash. If you ride buses, FX shuttles, or tricycles on your way to and from work, you don’t really have a choice. But with one of these cards or their accompanying apps, it’s possible to go cashless in the city.