Many have said that the Philippines will remain a cash-based society in the foreseeable future. New revelations, however, project a very different tomorrow for the way Filipinos will conduct their financial transactions and handle their money.
In a recent presentation at a Tech Talk of SM Retail Inc., G-Xchange Inc. president Abet Tinio bared that the user base of GCash, the leading mobile payment solution, had expanded from 2 million registered accounts in 2016 to 20 million in 2019—representing a tenfold expansion in only three years.
Answering questions from the audience, Tinio attributed the exponential growth of GCash user accounts to three factors—convenience, confidence, and community.
“We first had to look at the pain points of our target markets and see if our platform provided real solutions. We determined that if real problems were solved, then adoption of GCash will be much easier to promote,” said Tinio, explaining that the mobile payment solution offered a compelling alternative to the inherent inconveniences of using coins or cash on an everyday basis. “That’s the first C—convenience.”
He listed the basic services of GCash. This includes purchasing cellphone load across the different telco providers; sending or receiving money without having to line up at a remittance center; paying bills of up 300 billers such as electricity, water utilities, insurance and even government dues; shopping online especially through partner-vendors like Lazada; paying via QR code, which eliminates the need to carry around cash or coins; and booking movies via GMovies.
Users can also access GCash services via Facebook Messenger, the largest social messaging platform in the Philippines today with up to 60 million users. Tinio added, “As long as my GCash account is linked to Messenger, I can pay my Meralco bill through the latter.”
The second C was “confidence.” Tinio said that people had to view and experience GCash as a trustworthy product. He highlighted that GCash is a licensed Electronic Money Issuer (EMI) and thus, under strict regulation of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Tinio also underscored how the partnership GCash started in 2017 with the world’s largest fintech company, Ant Financial Inc—formerly known as Alipay—provides an extra boost of confidence. He said that Ant Financial has up to a billion users worldwide, with some 600 million in China alone via Alipay, and up to 400 million in India via Paytm.
“Because we’re working with such an experienced partner, GCash is able to build a very robust risk management system. We’re able to identify patterns and mitigate potential risks, especially of online fraud,” said Tinio.