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Friday, July 08, 2005

m-Commerce: G-Cash Revisited (Part 3)

I've written a lot about G-Cash in the past. It started in October 2004 when G-Cash first came out. I tried using G-Cash in the malls and I talked about the difficulties I encountered. I also talked about what I thought were the areas of improvement for G-Cash.

One reason I studied G-Cash so closely was because I used it in my study of m-Commerce for Microfinance. And while I was busy completing my study, there were some developments with G-Cash that came out which I did not write about. This is the time to write about those developments.

In Part 3 of this m-Commerce series, we'll revist what G-Cash has been doing in the past months: (1) building its network of partner merchants and (2) bringing more new G-Cash users onboard. Let's also kilatis the growth of G-Cash further ...

Building a wider network of partner merchants

G-Cash usage: stories from field
It's painless to find out what G-Cash has been up to in the past months. Just visit their G-Cash News page and you'll get a hang of their new partners and services.

You'll find new partners such as Gold's Gym, Cris Sport, Urban Spa etc.

What's interesting is that they have a few non-commercial partners. These include International organization UNICEF as well as Philippine NGOs Kythe Foundation and Children's Hour.

Some government agencies are also onboard. BIR payments can be made via G-Cash as well as Business renewal payments.

Ragnarok is there too. You can top-up on Ragnarok pre-paid credits using G-Cash. (I had a different concept before when I discussed how Ragnarok players could use G-Cash to trade gaming weapons/potions etc.)

G-Cash can also be used to buy Globe load. Whew! A bit late, but at least quite expected.

*shhhh....* Victoria Court is another G-Cash partner *whisper* ... But, who would like to pay Victoria Court via G-Cash when G-Cash tracks all transactions, huh? 'Di ba non-trackable cash ang karaniwang pambayad sa motel, right?

And yes, G-Cash for schools! I wonder which schools are actually using this now. Concept is, let parents pay school fees through G-Cash directly from the parent's phone to the school. I had discussed this before in an article about mobile services for OFWs.

There's a service that didn't catch my attention until today. I found out that you can actually include a message when you send G-Cash. This introduces a lot of possibilities which I will discuss next week in this m-Commerce series.

More G-Cash users

G-Cash has been creating new users through a high-touch marketing campaign of G-Cash stalls in SM Malls. At these stalls, there is a G-Cash representative who can explain things to anybody interested and guide people in registering G-Cash on their cellphone.

This could be a good step because subscribers need to hear explanations. G-Cash is not an easy technology to understand.

One time I spoke to a G-Cash representative in SM Beguio, she told me that she gets around 20-50 new G-Cash registrants per day. My perception is, this isn't contributing much to the number of users. Perhaps the bigger impact of these stalls is the visibility, rather than the number of added users to the network.

Growing, are we?

With the highly versatile payment system that G-Cash is, my question is: is G-Cash growing fast enough and as fast as it can?

I hear that there were around 100,000 G-Cash users as of May 2005. That's 100,000 G-Cash users within just 8 months. Not bad. But I think it could be better. What's the problem then?

I've identified two major barriers to the wide adoption of G-Cash.

First is the lack of m-commerce awareness of subscribers. In a survey I conducted in Laguna in connection with my study on m-Commerce for Microfinance, I found that very few people knew about G-Cash. Some even claim to have never heard about it before, this despite the big billboard at one of their town's major street intersections. m-Commerce just hasn't reached the awareness of most people.

Second is the lack of infrastructure. The main peice of infrastructure lacking is the places where anybody could exchange Cash for G-Cash (Cash-in) or the other way around (Cash-out). For example, if I went to, say...., a gig at Malate, I would be totally unsure of where I could Cash-in. In contrast, I would be very sure that I can get Globe load at a nearby corner store or ambulant vendor in Malate. In other words, there just isn't enough places where I could get or give G-Cash.

G-Cash ATM. Click here to see more photosOne of Globe's solutions to this infrastructure problem is what they call eNCash, a G-Cash ATM. You can "deposit" cash into the ATM and receive G-Cash on your cellphone (Cash-in). You can also "withdraw" G-Cash from your cellphone and receive cash from the ATM (Cash-out).

This is an expensive solution to the infrastructure problem. How much money and how long will it take to install a substantial number of these machines in key cities in the country? It will cost Globe some manufacturing expenses, real-estate expenses and maintenance expenses. Nonetheless, it is a good addition to the technologies that Globe can use to serve its clients. But it will not be the key solution to the lack of Cash-in/Cash-out points in the country.

Now what?
In part 4 of this m-Commerce series: Mano y Mano

Ah, that's the tricky part. There is lots to do. And the sooner we do it, the better. Thus lays the theme of my upcoming articles in this m-Commerce series.

The next articles will tackle how to deploy m-Commerce more effectively. Another topic I will discuss is what the impact of m-Commerce will have on the Philippine economy especially for the little businessmen/businesswomen (pc tayo dito *smile*) and for the ordinary Filipino.

ka edong
da emkonomist

Read: m-Commerce: Smart Money Revisited (Part 1),
m-Commerce: Smart Money Revisited again (Part 2),
Adbertisement Muna
Search Technobiography:
Smart Padala, Smart Money, G-Cash


  • At 9:48 am, Blogger monicai said…

    can't wait to read your comparisons.

  • At 1:27 pm, Blogger Jepoy said…

    gcash should just partner with BPI to offer ATM withdrawals. Ala Smart Money. Same owners naman sila. :)

  • At 3:09 pm, Blogger Edwin "ka edong" said…

    ikaw, gawa ka rin. Tapos mag-exchange notes tayo.

    > gcash should just partner with BPI to offer ATM withdrawals

    That is one thing that eludes me. Hindi ko abot-maunawaan kung bakit hanggang ngayon ay di pa ito nagagawa ng Globe. Eh yung BPI to Globe Load via ATM nga ay nagawa na, eh di dapat madali nalang gawin ang BPI to G-Cash via ATM.


    ka edong

  • At 2:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ka edong, sobrang helpful ng blogs mo. for the past week i've been trying to understand how g-cash's international remittance works. what happens with the physical/actual money you send sa remittance center? i'm interested to know what happens in between the time that the sender goes to a remittance center to remit money to the philippines, and the time the beneficiary receives an SMS saying that they've received it. i'm trying to understand how they can provide the services cheaper. do they go through the usual banking channel? if yes, does the remittance center deposit the money to a globe account in the foreign country? how exactly does it work? would appreciate your thoughts on this, as I've been rattling my brains trying to figure out what platforms they're using. thanks!


  • At 4:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Kristine,

    That's a handful of questions. ;-) .

    Let me tell you first that I have no definitive answers to your questions. I am not part of Globe and I do not have access to this kind of information.

    What I can offer you are speculations:

    * There is no immediate need for the physical money to be transmitted to the Philippines. For a big company like Globe, they have a large pisi ("pin money") that allows them to shuffle around money without needing to immediately send physical money to the Philippines.
    * When I asked *Smart Money* early this year, they said there is an administrative lag that could reach up to 1 week. As far as G-Cash is concerned, I'll let you know my experience next week, if I get the chance. Suspense ba? Abangan! ;-)
    * I am quite sure Globe uses the banking system extensively for G-Cash transactions. They have to. They are not a bank. The BSP is very strict, and I'm sure Globe is required to have all its transactions on record, most likely through banks. As for foreign bank accounts of Globe, I wouldn't know.
    * What I do know is that local G-Cash transactions definitely go through banks. Say, for example, National Bookstore receives a total of Php800,000 worth of G-Cash as payment for school supplies on August 5. Globe will turn-over Php800,000 to National bookstore through National bookstore's *bank*. It's mostly the same for other merchant partners, G-Cash transactions become peso transactions through the bank.

    I hope these have helped. Feel free to email me if you have other questions. Also try calling the Globe customer service hotline, they might be able to answer some of your other questions.

    What is your interest in G-Cash, kristine? ;-)


    ka edong


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