TELCO mogul Manuel V. Pangilinan said the Philippine market is now ready to enter a digitalized economy, making this pronouncement at the launch of PLDT Group’s converged rewards-card program, called Most Valuable Partner (MVP), at Makati Shangri-La on February 7.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reports that as of 2017, the majority of transactions in the country are still cash- and paper-based, but new systems are being created to facilitate cashless transactions to “potentially supplant the traditional check payment system.”
“The starting point is to give the Filipino customer as many options as possible with respect to these cashless payments,” Pangilinan said. “The penetration of cellphones in the country is more than 100 percent, and 99 percent of those phone users are on prepaid [subscription]. Everyone in this country knows how to load their phone. It’s merely a question of enticing the customer to load the phone beyond their telco requirements to say, ‘I’ve got to load P5,000 and use it to pay my Meralco or Maynilad bill.’ Ultimately, that day will come.”
According to Pangilinan, this was the inspiration behind the concept of a single rewards card that also functions as a Visa card.
The MVP card benefits PLDT, Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers whenever they pay their monthly bills on time and in full, or whenever they load their prepaid accounts. Points earned are as good as cash, and are consolidated in a single rewards wallet which comes with a virtual card powered by PayMaya.
Members can also get a physical card, which they can link to their wallet and use to swipe or dip at point-of-sale terminals when they go out to shop and dine at local and international establishments.
“We’re benchmarking on how India did it, as well as other emerging markets. With the use of the MVP card, sooner or later we’ll be completely cashless moving forward,” said Dindo Marzan, vice president and managing director of Voyager Innovations Inc., as he discussed projections of a digital ecosystem with the PLDT Group taking the lead in the telco-media market.
“We are actually bridging a digital environment,” PLDT and Smart CRO Eric Alberto added. “If you look at the financial market, we’ve already developed a group base that actually participates in the niche of e-commerce. By way of descending the cards through PayPal [is] how we socialize our ability, and why segments of the market participate in the inevitable future that is e-commerce.”
Given that the MVP reward points are regulated by PayMaya, it follows the same regulations as with any other banks mandated by the BSP.
“It’s very much secure just like any e-wallet available in the country. In terms of loading your PayMaya e-wallet, you can use Unionbank, 7-Eleven, and Robinsons and SM business centers. We have 15,000 centers where you can load up your PayMaya account which, in effect, is your MVP e-wallet. The goal is to also make it available in other banks because that’s how we own the digital economy,” Marzan said.
Existing rewards from PLDT and Smart subscriptions can still be enjoyed by consumers. Customers can enroll via www.mvprewards.com.ph their PLDT Home, Smart, TNT and Sun accounts, and then link their card to their PayMaya accounts.
FVP and Group Head of Loyalty and Rewards Anette Tirol, on the other hand, shared that there will be a 24/7 support team to assist cardholders regarding concerns through different channels like e-mail, landline and SMS.
Any transaction made while using the card also warrants a notification from both the MVP Rewards program and PayMaya to ensure the security of the consumers.
“We designed the card with one audience in mind—our customers. By providing them with their own virtual card powered by PayMaya, we are giving our customers more value and convenience in their rewards card. All you need now is in your mobile phone: one wallet where rewards are credited, seamlessly combined with the most convenient way to shop, dine and pay bills at your fingertips,” Tirol stressed.
“This is just the beginning of an even stronger partnership with our PLDT Group customers. We are opening up the MVP Rewards program to include more merchants and services this year,” Pangilinan said. As PLDT celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, with the MVP Rewards program at its helm, it ushers in a new era of a cashless service/retail market.
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