Any transaction between a buyer and a seller involves some sort of payment, an exchange for a good or service. Even before the emergence of physical money, bartering served as the method that established this particular exchange. Today, payments have evolved to more than goods and physical money- it is now available online via the Internet, making options more flexible and unlimited to customers wherever they are and whenever they please. As the payment experience gets more seamless and invisible, businesses are enabled with opportunities to offer more to customers as they scale and to spend more time innovating. Here’s a rundown of the most common and available payment methods to consider when starting or running a small or medium business in the Philippines:
Traditional Payment Methods
Expect cash, debit and credit cards to be the main payment options when visiting a store or establishment in the country. Having these as payment options for your business must be non-negotiable! Traditional payment methods stand the test of time as these are also the options available both locally and internationally. Learn more about them below:
Cash is an immediate form of payment represented by physical money like bills and coins. The dominance of cash-based transactions is nothing new to Philippine culture. Filipinos heavily use cash when shopping both online and offline. The introduction of Cash on Delivery (COD) was game-changing for eCommerce platforms which helped the adoption of consumers to online shopping. In 2018, 99% of local transactions were cash-based according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Debit and Credit Cards
Debit and credit cards are cashless ways to pay, usually made out of plastic or metal. A debit card immediately withdraws the cost of the goods or service from the bank account of the buyer while a credit card holds off payment until the end of the month with interest for late payments. According to Global Data, there are over 90.5 million debit cards and over 8.5 million for credit and charge cards in circulation in the country with the latter being the preferred payment method for its features such as installments and rewards.
Checks, although considered outdated due to the manual process it requires, are usually used for scheduled transactions of large amounts. Checks are essentially issued by the bank as paper forms to be filled out with necessary information by the bank account holder. The check/s is then given to the bank to be processed where money will be deducted from the user’s bank account.
Online Payment Methods
Online payments started to emerge in the early 1980s during the digital revolution with the rise of technology, automated equipment and the Internet. Transactions via smartphones using QR codes and payment links are becoming normal. The digital adoption in the Philippines started speeding up due to the COVID-19 pandemic as individuals and businesses shifted from cash to cashless as social distancing and other protocols in the new normal were enforced. Below are the most common online payment methods in the Philippines today:
Electronic or e-wallet (also known as digital wallet) is a cashless, online transaction channel where users can store money by linking their debit or credit cards, transfers or over-the-counter (OTC) loading which in turn can be used when shopping online, buying e-load or visiting retail shops. GCash, arguably the most used and largest mobile e-wallet service in the Philippines, has seen unprecedented growth triggered by the pandemic with over 46 million users as of June 2021 according to a report made by Business World.
Banks in the country started polishing their mobile apps and websites as the demand for alternative, cashless and online forms of banking increased tenfold during the pandemic. Online banking provides customers access to banking services such as balance inquiry, transaction history, bank transfers, account opening and bills payment, among others, just by logging in to the bank’s website or app. A visit to the bank is not needed anymore.
Aside from the abovementioned, cash and credit cards can also be used to pay online through payment gateways and over-the-counter channels.
BUx, the leading payment solution in the Philippines, enables businesses by offering multiple payment methods from over 50,000 over-the-counter locations including 7-Eleven and LBC, debit and credit card payments as well as wallet payments via GrabPay and GCash. With over 100,000 sign ups since its launch in 2019, BUx continues to make payments simple and easy with features like payment links, Universal QR code and Buy Now Pay Later.