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The prepaid option
Sep 10, 2012
As a cash alternative, e-wallets and prepaid cards are a growing financial option, especially for the unbanked. Learn how you can use them for your biz.
Cash may be king in business, but lately banks and financial institutions are teaching people not to bring wads of bills when they transact with shops and services, and providing the means to do so. The advent of electronic commerce has also multiplied the means by which businesses can receive payments from their customers.
One of these means is a multi-use prepaid card, also known as an electronic wallet or e-wallet. It works much like a credit card or a debit card, but a prepaid card will never put the cardholder in debt, as it only uses the money that is in its “wallet”—the amount pre-deposited into its account.
The Filipinos’ familiarity with the prepaid concept (which we have experienced since the early 1990s with the cellphone “load” or top-up credits) is one reason why financial services firms are scrambling to offer Pinoys their own versions of a prepaid card. One of them is MoneySwap, a Hong Kong-based firm that has partnered with local bank RCBC and Visa for the MoneySwap Prepaid Card, launched locally in January this year.
Prepaid cards fill a rather large gap in the financial services landscape that credit card and debit card providers in the country cannot cover. “The Philippines is one of those countries that employ a stringent and very strict procedure in issuing credit cards,” says Seng SH Rhee, managing director for MoneySwap Philippines. “It is also a known fact that majority of Filipinos today—more than 80 percent—do not have bank accounts.”
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