Michelle Malaguit has been running a small neighborhood store for 13 years in Pasay City’s Malibay district, a particularly dense and crowded residential area. She has three locations for her store in the same general area.
“People are lazy to go out that’s why they rely on stores like mine,” Malaguit said in Filipino in an interview. “More than that, most are afraid to walk [to where big establishments are] for fear of getting their money stolen from them so they come to my store instead.”
So, when Malaguit added a bills payment service in one of her stores, she knew it would be a hit. Since November 2016, the fortysomething entrepreneur has earned an additional income of Php10,000 on average a month, all thanks to digital services aggregator Pos!ble.net.
The two-year-old Filipino firm enables micro, small and medium enterprises to become payment centers through a special point-of-sale device that can process over 300 services. Costing Php35,000, the wireless device turns ordinary neighborhood stores into digital payment centers that can sell prepaid loads, transmit remittances, accept bills payment of basic utilities and insurance products, process bank deposits, sell provincial bus tickets as well as online game PINs.
“Our partners range from sari-sari stores to carinderias, some are just simply homeowners who purchased a device,” Pos!ble.net CEO JG Puzon said during a press briefing on Wednesday, January 24. “Usually, these partners expect (a payback period) of six to eight months, still, there are some outliers who do it in just a month.”
Pos!ble.net enables MSMEs to become payment centers through a special point-of-sale device that can process over 300 services
Michelle Malagit (left) says she earns an additional income of Php10,000 on average a month thanks to Pos!ble.net
According to Puzon, some of their best-performing partners average around 500 to 700 transactions in a month. While Pos!ble’s system already provides retailers a certain percentage for every transaction made, device owners may also add certain fees of their own. “The more transactions, the better because that’s how you earn,” Puzon said.
Since its launch in 2016, the company has tapped 1,600 retailers, most of whom are in Luzon, processing a cumulative Php1.5-billion worth of transactions as of the end of December 2017. Aside from the relative affordability of the investment package—after buying the device, the only cost is the monthly maintenance fee of Php125—Puzon credits the quick adoption of the service to its user-friendly POS.
The device runs on mobile data, so it may be used anywhere in the country as long as the area has strong and reliable cell site reception. It can also print a receipt as proof of a customer’s transaction.
Of course, Pos!ble.net retail partners also need to stock up on digital money credits to be able to accept cash payments and pay the customers’ bills or remit funds to third parties. Smart device owners place a cap on the maximum value of transactions as fees are fixed per transaction and not pro-rated based on the value of the transaction. Some even customize a loyalty program, an added feature in Pos!ble.net’s POS device.
“Our end goal of course is to be in all barangays nationwide. We just want to accelerate deployment this year,” Puzon added.
Pos!ble.net's wireless device turns ordinary neighborhood stores into digital payment centers
Pos!ble.net was developed by Action.Able Inc., a wholly Filipino-owned firm. Puzon said the company has transformed from being a content provider into a tech firm then eventually delved into financial services over the years.
In 2017, Pos!ble.net was the lone Filipino finalist in the fourth Development Bank of Singapore-National University of Singapore (DBS-NUS) Social Venture Challenge Asia in the best social enterprise category. The Asia-wide competition recognizes social enterprises that have potential to scale and create the most impact in the region.
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepeneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz