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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Credit Card to G-Cash

I got hold of a wallet-size codigo of G-Cash. It’s available at Globe stalls and fits snugly inside your pocket or wallet. Not a bad idea. It’s an alternative to texting “info” to 2882 to receive a list of keywords for G-Cash transactions.

They have the list of transactions starting with Registration, Cash-in, Cash-out, person-to-person transfer (P2P), payment at partner merchants, domestic and international remittance, load, bills payment, payment for food deliveries, donations to charity and purchasing G-Cash using credit cards.

That’s nice, quite a full menu of services.

The last item is rather interesting. G-Cash subscribers can use their Visa, Mastercard or JCB credit cards to buy G-Cash.

Up-side, it’s an addition to the currently limited number of ways of getting G-Cash into your phone (known as “Cash-in”). I'm sure that there's a way to enhance this service such that it becomes useful.

Down-sides: uhm, how much time do you have?
• Users need to fill-out a paper application form. I guess this so that Globe gets the authority to charge your credit card.
• Aside from the paper application form, subscribers will need to make an SMS registration.
• The SMS registration uses an un-familiar access code, 2201, which is different from the usual 2882 access code used in almost all other G-Cash transactions. This just adds unnecessary confusion. Why kaya did Globe use 2201 when they could have used 2882?
• The G-Cash you buy with your credit card will be charged. (kaching kaching, another charge?)
• I was assisted by Jay and JD of the G-Cash hotline in my inquiries. They told me that the charges are Php 49 for “cash advance” (buying G-Cash using your credit card).
• JD said that this Php49 will be charged to the user’s G-Cash account. I doubt if this is correct. My logic tells me that the credit card company will be the right group to charge me that Php49.
• JD added that this Php49 is low compared to a Php500 cash-advance charge if a customer uses an ATM cash-advance. Pwede.
• Lastly, JD told me that this service was on a promo only until August 31, 2005. Yipes! I just found out about the service and the promo period is over?! Well, I’m quite sure they’ll “re-instate” this promo.
Credit card system and G-Cash
Frankly, I was expecting to see Cash-in using ATMs before seeing Cash-in using credit cards.

So, what do we make of this creditcard-to-G-Cash service?

Call me a skeptic, but I don’t see this service flying. At least not the way it’s currently designed.

Who would be patient enough to go through a paper registration and an SMS registration to be able to use a credit card to buy G-Cash? Well, some, but not many. I think this service can use some revisiting. The technology is there (creditcard-to-G-Cash), but it needs a little more imagination before we find a more useful way of using the service.

Another thing. Customers who use a credit card – these are customers who already have access to many other financial tools. These are customers who can do most of their financial needs using the ATM, the credit card, the phone, the internet. These are customers who have many other alternatives to G-Cash.

What’s key? I think that people behind G-Cash need to compare G-Cash to other financial tools such as the ATM, credit card, online banking, regular banking, remittance centers and, of course, cash (!). Given this comparison, there is a fundamental question that begs to be answered:
What can G-Cash deliver for a customer that other financial tools cannot?
When that question has been answered, that’s the start of designing G-Cash applications that are compelling and useful for customers.

I have my own answers to this fundamental question. I’ve written about some of them before. I’ll share them again in this blog in an upcoming article.

ka edong


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