Mobile phone banking merchant partners help ease banking in Surigao

A growing number of store owners are collaborating with rural banks and connecting to the GCASH network from Cantilan to Butuan City and across the region. These store owners are providing cash-in and cash-out services to support mobile phone banking services as well as mobile money transfer in these areas.

The partnership between RBAP-MABS and G-XChange, Inc. (GXI), Globe Telecom’s wholly owned subsidiary, has helped develop and implement mobile phone banking applications and m-commerce services for rural banks and their clients.  Based on a secure GCASH menu, mobile phone banking clients of accredited rural banks can receive loans, make payments and deposits, withdraw funds from their deposit accounts, receive money from relatives and friends, and even buy and sell goods remotely via GCASH.

Merchant-partners provide the opportunity for rural bank clients to conveniently deposit cash into or withdraw cash from their mobile wallets.  While rural banks in turn help to manage the liquidity needs of their merchant-partners.

A local drug store in Cantilan conducts cash-in and cash-out services for rural bank clients and customers via GCASH and utilizes the bank to easily manage its GCASH liquidity needs.  Not only is this store providing cash-in and cash-out services, but it is also training rural bank clients on the uses and benefits of mobile phone banking services.  Educating customers on the benefits and advantages of mobile phone banking and mobile payments is key to reaching more clients.  Realizing this, RBAP, through its USAID-supported MABS program, recently partnered with MasterCard Foundation and Microfinance Opportunities in expanding mobile phone banking education.  This initiative relies heavily on merchant-partners, like this drug store in Cantilan, to expand mobile phone banking throughout the countryside.

Adlao storeOther merchant-partners across the region include Globe sub-distributors like the Adlao Store (left) located in Socorro Island, Surigao Norte. Socorro Island is about an hour and a half boat ride off the mainland. Thus, by providing cash-in and cash-out services to its constituents, Adlao Store enables mobile banking services and money transfers in the island, making banking a lot easier and more convenient to the residents. Cantilan Bank has the only branch operating in this remote island; thus, partnership with sub-distributors of Globe such as the Adlao store becomes crucial.

After being introduced to the benefits of mobile phone banking and GCASH by Cantilan Bank, Loila Llamas (below), the owner of Pawnshop de Madrid in Madrid, Surigao Sur, now accepts GCASH payments for goods. This provides her with a safer and more convenient way to send and receive money.

GCASH partner-merchant Loila Llamas, owner of Pawnshop de Madrid

GCASH partner-merchant Loila Llamas, owner of Pawnshop de Madrid

As one can see, Cantilan Bank is now able to extend banking and financial services beyond the walls of its branches reaching out to sari-sari stores, eateries, small farmers and vendors, who ply their trade along the streets of the countryside towns.   The success of Cantilan Bank in mobile phone banking is just one example of the many GCASH accredited rural banks that have expanded their reach to the most remote areas of the Philippines via mobile money.

RBAP’s future plans with both Globe Telecom and soon, Smart Communications, to expand mobile phone banking and mobile money transfer services will continue to expand the outreach of rural banks. This alliance plans to reach even more microentrepreneurs and low income households in the countryside.

Until next time, Mabuhay ang Mobile Phone Banking!