BDO Unibank Inc., the country’s largest lender, said it is giving at least half of the fees to its partners for a new service that allows its account holders to withdraw money from key establishments even in far-flung areas.
Jim Nasol, BDO senior vice president for consumer banking group, said it is giving half of the fees that it charges to its customers to its partners in its new service called Cash Agad and up to 60 percent for establishments in far-flung areas.
“The smallest split that we give [to the partner] is 50 percent, the others we give 60 percent. And they don’t pay anything for the equipment. That’s our help to the community,” Nasol said.
The Cash Agad partner agents’ network is comprised of small and medium businesses from which a BDO account holder may withdraw their money, including overseas remittances. These may include water refilling stations, hardware store or even sari-sari stores as long as they have a business permit.
The new service currently has about 8,000 partners in the country. BDO rolled it out early this year.
The bank provides out point-of-sale device which its partners can use in transacting with customers. The establishment can either use their sales money whenever someone withdraws. They can replenish their cash when they go to the bank for the reconciliation of their accounts.
This service aims to provide ready access to cash for distant communities, especially those who are not so easily reached by public transportation without going to the ATM, the company said.
The said service, however, is not new. As early as 2017 an Irish company called Fexco Philippines introduced EasyDebit in December 2017, marketed as a MicroATM to augment the lack of ATMs in the country. The said system works exactly the same way as BDO’s service as it also uses the point-of-sale device.
BDO said the pandemic has trained the spotlight on its new service, which was used by local government units to deliver financial aid beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
“For example, the beneficiaries of 4Ps withdraw their monthly cash assistance from Cash Agad. Even the IPs or members of the indigenous people’s communities are able to get their financial aid through Cash Agad,” it said.
Fees range from P15 to P30 for within-the-city transactions and P30 to P50 for those outside the city.
“Our partners prepare at least one day before say, every pay day. They go to our branch. If they needed more cash we help them by calling the branch to inform them that one of our partners will withdraw this amount of cash because we need to support the partners,” Nasol said.
“This pandemic, we consider them as heroes. Because they were the ones who go to the city to get cash replenishment to serve the communities that needed the cash the most.”