FFE Magazine

Moneyless, cardless transactions from BPI in a ‘tap’

MANILA, Philippines – Accidentally leaving your wallet at home as you speed off for work isn’t such a, well, devastating event anymore.

Folks at the Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) say there’s no need to worry about going thirsty or hungry for the day sans pity from your colleagues. The bank’s latest innovation, the BPI Mobile Wallet, lets consumers make cashless, cardless over-the-counter purchases by simply tapping their mobile phone on a so-called ‘tap terminal’ located at accredited partner merchants or establishments.

The BPI Mobile Wallet, unveiled recently as a pilot program, joins a number of firsts for the banking giant. Said Noel Tagaza, BPI SVP and Electronic Channels head, at the product launch: “The bank prides itself (in a) tradition of leadership in banking and payment innovations’ such as pioneering the 24-hour ATM, debit card, fully automated telephone banking system, and mobile applications.”

“It has always been our commitment to put together advanced mobile services to meet the changing needs of today’s consumers,” he said. “(This) is another service that will make everyday transactions easy for our clients.”

This time, the bank piggybacks on Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. After a client installs an appropriate application, his or her smartphone turns into a ‘virtual wallet’ that can be credited with up to P10,000 (through BPI’s Express Mobile service) for use in select stores.

Initially, the BPI Mobile Wallet can be enjoyed by account holders owning any of the following smartphone models: BlackBerry Bold 9780, BlackBerry Bold 9700, BlackBerry Curve 8520, and iPhone 4S with iOS 4 or 5. An SD card with antenna and range extender is provided in the BPI Mobile Wallet kit for BlackBerry users, while iPhone owners can expect an ‘iCaisse’ to activate the service.

Both Globe and Smart subscribers will have access to the service. The bank is currently working on providing the service for owners of other smartphone brands.

At present, consumers can easily pay with one tap in all Metro Manila Serenitea and Banapple branches and participating branches of Kenny Rogers, Seattle’s Best, Healthy Options, Fully Booked, Evita Peroni, and Mango stores.

“We have made it a point to put mobile technology as one of our priorities for innovations,” said BPI AVP and division head of Channels Marketing and Sales Division Carlo Gatuslao. “(This) is an exciting new step for the industry, and promises so much potential for the future.”

How big a promise? BPI senior manager Erich Faustino reported that a staggering 88 million, or 94 percent of 94 million Filipinos, are cellphone users. Of these, 70 percent use basic text-and-call phones while a crucial 30 percent (and rising) already own smartphones.

“We have recognized both ends of the market,” he said. “BPI (continues to) come out with offerings that cover both.”

Remember when mobile phones first became such a hit because you could ‘text’ anytime? Now, the BPI Mobile Wallet is working toward letting you ‘tap’ anytime, anywhere. That surely sounds like a hit as well.

Philstar || By Kap Maceda Aguila – Nov. 26, 2012

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