Microentrepreneurs in a Filipino market are saving time and money by accepting payments using their mobile phones.
Turning sideways to squeeze between the tightly packed stalls, customers stop to admire strings of white, pink, and green pearls displayed by Cairon Macmac and her family. The family runs a pearl business in the bustling Greenhills Shopping Center in Manila, Philippines, where customers seek out their unique designs. After years of managing the business, Ms. Macmac wanted to look for new ways to sell her products. She also grew tired of frequent trips to the bank to deposit cash or send money to family in Mindanao.
The innovative solution was for Ms. Macmac’s customers to pay her using mobile money. This is possible due to the collaboration between Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Program, which is supported by USAID/Philippines, and Globe Telecom’s G-Xchange Inc. (GXI), which operates the GCASH platform. Utilizing the GCASH platform, RBAP-MABS participating rural bank, Philippine Rural Banking Corporation (PR Bank), introduced mobile banking and mobile commerce services to microenterprise clients in Greenhills Shopping Center. Ms. Macmac is now able to sell pearls to customers while accepting GCASH for payment. She can then use her mobile wallet to deposit money to her bank account remotely, pay bills, make purchases, and send money to relatives and friends via a network of rural banks that have been accredited with the support of the RBAP-MABS program to provide cash-in and cash-out services for GCASH clients.
Ms. Macmac now has “more time because I don’t need to run errands like going to the bank.” Additionally, Ms. Macmac mentioned that “once people pay me in GCASH, I can send that money to my family who live far away – I don’t see them often and am now able to help them. Also, I pay my water bills with GCASH, so I don’t have to spend hours in line anymore.”
With the support of the RBAP-MABS participating rural bank partner, PR Bank, many small merchants in Greenhills now make use of mobile commerce opportunities by accepting payment via GCASH. The bank’s Mobile Phone Banking Marketers, such as Sheryll Tarrayo sign up clients, which, according to Ms. Tarrayo, “are excited to try GCASH because they realize it will bring new customers. Many also like the safety factor of not having so much cash on hand – they are able to convert electronic funds to cash when they need to.” Adds Ms. Tarrayo, “mobile wallets are simple – they make business easier.”