Last January 17, PLDT-backed mobile wallet operator PayMaya formally launched a partnership with The SM Store, the department store unit of mall operator SM Prime Holdings, allowing consumers to use the app’s scan-to-pay feature when buying from the retailer. Though PayMaya began rolling out the technology into the store last December, the formal launch announced that users can now scan quick response (QR) codes to pay for their purchases in all 59 The SM Store branches across the country.
“More and more Filipinos are using cashless payments with PayMaya, and we’re excited to work with like-minded companies such as SM in innovating on the retail shopping experience with the help of our payment technologies,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT and PayMaya, in a statement.
PayMaya’s QR codes are displayed in specific cashiers within The SM Store's branches called mobile pay lanes, which are the stores’ dedicated terminals to accept mobile payments. Users will be able to scan the QR code in a feature within the PayMaya app and pay using their mobile wallet’s credits.
But PayMaya’s QR code won’t be the only one customers will see in these cashiers. In a press release dated December 1, 2017, Globe Telecom’s mobile wallet unit, GCash, wrote that its “scan to pay feature is now available at all SM Stores nationwide and at information booths of SM malls.” In a similar way, GCash users are now able to pay for their purchases in The SM Store through the mobile app and its own scan-to-pay option.
The two mobile wallet platforms’ respective partnerships with the country’s largest mall operator highlight the aggressive approaches both companies have taken in distributing their payment technologies. Since the scan-to-pay feature of both apps were formally launched in October 2017, both GCash and PayMaya have partnered with some of the country’s largest and most prominent retailers to add QR code scanning as a mode of payment for their products.
For GCash, it has leveraged the wide retail footprint of sister company Ayala Land and installed QR codes in the storefronts of several Ayala Mall retailers. As well, it has partnered with other mall operators such as Robinsons Retail Holdings and Megaworld to enable QR code payments in some of their units, most notably convenience store chain Ministop. Most recently, the mobile wallet platform announced a partnership with clothing retailer Bench that will place its QR codes at the storefronts of Bench’s entire brand portfolio.
On the other hand, PayMaya announced last week that it has partnered with fast-food giant McDonald’s to roll out its scan-to-pay technology to 42 branches. While the company did not specify when its QR codes would reach the rest of McDonald’s branch network, PayMaya did reveal that they will be adding the option to pay for McDonald’s delivery transactions through their mobile app later this year. In addition, PayMaya has also rolled out the technology in food parks, hotels and other merchants and establishments across the country.
Both GCash and PayMaya are actively promoting their respective scan-to-pay features as a faster and more secure payment method than cash. It relieves consumers of the burden of carrying too much cash and dealing with change in their purchases, while it gives merchants and retailers a more effective method of tracking orders and payments.
“GCash is here to ensure that customers are given the convenience and security they deserve when paying for goods and services,” said Ernest Cu, president and CEO of Globe, in a press release dated January 11. “There is no longer any need to wait for loose change or pay in smaller denominations, or even stand in line for a long time.”
As well, this QR code rollout is a big part of both mobile wallets’ contributions to one of the central goals of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The BSP is aiming to increase the scope of electronic payments from only one percent of transactions in 2015 to 20 percent by 2020. And with more GCash and PayMaya users scanning QR codes to pay for their shopping sprees, favorite meals and even daily needs, BSP’s 20-percent aim is slowly but surely becoming a reality.
Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH