Mobile wallet service GCash said on Tuesday that it is adopting the cashless payments model of popular Chinese mobile and online payments platform Alipay, months after the Chinese firm and Ayala Corporation announced they were investing in GCash's parent company.
The move towards financial inclusion will "give people ease, convenience, and security when purchasing goods and services from lowly street vendors to high-end shops," said Globe in a statement on Tuesday.
Mobile and online payments are touted for their apparent security and ease of use, since "merchants and buyers don't have to prepare change, e-money cannot be easily stolen, payments can easily be tracked, among other things," said Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu.
Aside from scan-to-pay transactions, customers can use the GCash application to "cash in, top up their prepaid credit, borrow load, book movies, transfer money, and pay bills," the telco noted.
Alipay is operated by Ant Financial and is the mobile and online payment platform of the Alibaba Group, founded by Chinese business magnate Jack Ma, who urged for the transformation of the Philippines into a cashless society when he visited the country late last month.
Seven of out 10 Filipinos are currently not connected to banking services, while nine out of 10 do not have access to formal credit, giving way to a largely cash-based economy, according to Globe.
The opposite is true for China, where "cash is becoming obsolete as people are doing away with paper money and coins to pay for just about everything," the company added.
Instead of cash, the Chinese reportedly use their smartphones to scan electronic barcodes or QR codes and pay from their electronic wallets, it said.
At present, over half a billion Chinese are using Alipay’s e-payment system, and a similar trend is taking place in India, Globe noted.
Eric Jing, CEO of Ant Financial Services Group, said they are leveraging technology to allow Filipinos to conveniently pay for their shopping and food using their mobile phones.
"We will use technology to make financial services more transparent and easier to access especially for those who are underserved or unserved. Digital payments with GCash is only the beginning of many new things," he said.
"I am looking forward to GCash creating more benefits for the individuals and micro and small businesses in the Philippines and to provide financial inclusion for everyone," he added.
In February this year, Ant Financial and Globe parent Ayala entered into a joint venture by investing in Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), which operates GCash and Fuse Lending, a mobile loans service for unbanked Filipinos. — Nicole-Anne Lagrimas/VDS, GMA News