• Wanted: The perfect rewards card



    At the recent launch of Most Valuable Partner (MVP) Rewards, members of the media and several bloggers were asked, how many rewards cards do you have inside your wallet?

    One blogger said she has five and I tried not to roll my eyes thinking, “Seriously?” But the press conference panel, led by PLDT-Smart Chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan, said she is within average of about three to five rewards cards per person.

    After the event, I checked how many rebate-earning plastics are inside my own wallet and was a bit shocked to find 10 cards.

    Centralized points means more ‘cash’ to spend

    The Visa-powered MVP Rewards card lets you spend your earned points that are as good as cash anywhere where Visa is accepted, as in anywhere in the world. The PayMaya-backed rebate system earns good-as-cash points from enrolling your PLDT Home, Smart, Sun, and TNT accounts. You can also pre-load it with cash to make other purchases and earn more rewards in the process.

    Upon loading the MVP Rewards card with cash, you now have an “instant credit card” minus the hassle of bills piling up. Think SM Advantage card on steroids because points are earned via monthly utility bills plus. You can even use it when you travel abroad. If you have an existing PayMaya card, just link the accounts and earn more points.

    Apart from being able to use this card’s load for online purchases, cashless transactions, toll payments, and the usual discounts and freebies, the best part about this particular card is that the good-as-cash points don’t expire.

    “MVP Rewards is in a category of its own. We’ve taken what is best across industries and put it in one powerful program that offers more than just rewards. And the PLDT Group has the unique ability to provide this level of convergence owing to the breadth of our combined services,” said Pangilinan.

    At the moment, the card has partner merchants that you can check out via www.mvprewards.ph. The idea of a centralized rewards card sounds appealing. Imagine all your points tucked in one plastic.

    But it would really be cool if there is a card that can holds all the points together. This one has that potential.

    The smartphone beyond a telco tool

    The future of ecommerce in the Philippines will be entirely about the phone, said Pangilinan. And it makes perfect sense because everybody knows how to load up prepaid cards so why not push that payment power and make the most out of your phone as a payment device.

    “The penetration of mobile phones in the country is more than 100 percent so the logical device that should be used is the phone. Not only that, 99 plus percent of phone users are prepaid so anybody in this country knows how to load the phones.

    “It’s just a question of enticing the consumer to use the phone beyond the telco requirements loading hundreds to a thousand to let’s say, I’m going to load P5,000 to pay for my Meralco bill or Maynilad. That day will come when we will all enjoy the benefits of cashless transactions,” said Pangilinan.

    At the end of the day, it’s really up to the consumer how he chooses the way he wants to pay but the ease and convenience that these modern payment systems sound very enticing. Once you get beyond that “I’m not a tech person, I’d rather pay using good old cash” mentality, e-commerce might be for everyone after all.

    The author is a former broadsheet entertainment and lifestyle reporter and section editor for an entertainment magazine before crossing over to corporate and marketing PR.


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