• Smart expands e-money services

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    Smart Communications Inc., through its wholly-owned mobile financial service, Smart e-Money Inc. (SMI) will offer “sachet style” payments for utility services starting early next year.

    “[We] will be pushing e-money. Now is the time that e-cash is in,” Benjie Fernandez, Smart e-Money chief operating officer, told reporters.

    He added: “We will not just do the ordinary payment, we have a vision that will allow your daily wage earners to start ‘doing sachet things’ for their monthly electric bills,” for example.

    The company said it is also looking to expand the e-money services to Metro Pacific Investments Corp. companies.

    “Definitely, utility is one of the areas that goes to the masses. So yes, we will process payments for the masses,” Fernandez added.

    The company is looking to implement the service early next year.

    Meanwhile, Smart, through SMI, and in partnership with Zalora Philippines, the fashion brand of Rocket Internet, has launched a breakthrough electronic and mobile payments platform for the unbanked and “uncarded” that will allow users in emerging markets to participate in the digital economy.

    MePay, the new payments platform that only requires any Philippine mobile number upon sign-up, will now allow for secure and convenient online shopping with Zalora even for customers without a credit card.

    Initially available in the Philippines, MePay will soon provide a payment platform for emerging markets like the Philippines, especially those countries with low banking and credit card penetration.

    “The Philippines has one of the highest growth rates for e-commerce in the Southeast Asian region but credit card ownership is still at just around 4 percent of the entire population—a long-time hurdle which MePay intends to address,” Fernandez said.

    Since many Filipinos do not have a bank account or have yet to own a credit card, e-commerce has not flourished in the country as much as everybody expected,” Fernandez said.

    “With MePay, we are expanding the space for e-commerce around the world by enabling secure and convenient online payments through a service that’s easy to use and access. In the next few months, you will see more features added to MePay,” he added.

    MePay can now be used with online lifestyle portal Zalora (www.zalora.com.ph) as part of a series of collaborations with Rocket Internet following PLDT’s strategic investment in the company back in August.

    During this launch “sneak peek” of MePay, Zalora is offering 25 percent off for shoppers if they check out using MePay during the Christmas Season.

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