GCash to begin collecting P5 cash-in fee in Q4

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
GCash to begin collecting P5 cash-in fee in Q4
Photo shows of log in to Gcash account
Businessworld / File

MANILA, Philippines — E-wallet giant GCash will start charging a convenience fee of P5 for every time a user cashes in from its major partners Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Union Bank of the Philippines in the fourth quarter.

In an interview with reporters, GCash president and CEO Martha Sazon said the convenience fee remains to be one of the lowest compared to the transaction charges imposed by traditional banks that run as high as P25.

“As GCash continues to scale, we still subsidize most of the charges as well as heavily invest on upgrading our infrastructure and reinforcing security services,” Sazon said.

Sazon said GCash has to slap a convenience fee for cashing in to cover its rising costs. However, Sazon said the fee only reduces the subsidies that GCash pays to keep its financial services affordable.

“This also ensures that our operations will remain seamless for all customers. Even with this fee, we will continue to subsidize part of the operating cost for our cash-ins as we remain committed to keeping our services affordable to many Filipinos,” Sazon said.

Sazon is encouraging GCash customers to compute how much they have to spend for every time they load their accounts through BPI and Union Bank.

For instance, Sazon said a user can cash in P10,000 in one go rather than top up P500 in tranches to minimize getting charged P5 every time.

Users can add cash to their GCash platform by linking it into their bank accounts. Likewise, they can cash-in via convenience stores, dedicated machines, department stores, gas stations, sari-sari stores, among others.

Last week, GCash announced that it would waive for the rest of the year the transaction charges on merchants for payments accepted through QR Ph. The e-wallet leader expects that through this, micro, small and medium enterprises will book extra earnings from cashless transactions.

GCash offers merchants access to e-wallet with a limit of up to P500,000 per month, waiving the transaction fee of 1.5 percent for P100,000 in gross sales.

GCash is one of the largest finance apps in the Philippines with a nationwide presence in more than 1,600 billers.

Meawhile, Wireless giant Globe Telecom Inc. put up more than 500 new cellular sites and upgraded around 5,000 to LTE capacity nationwide to support its network expansion in the first semester.

In a report, Globe said it spent P37.7 billion in the first half to build 542 cell towers and upgrade 5,087 to LTE across the archipelago.

The Ayala-led telco also deployed about 148,000 fiber-to-the-home lines, although this marked a decline from a year ago as the firm continues to maximize its existing inventory.

For the year, Globe plans to spend P71.5 billion, or $1.3 billion, for its infrastructure upgrade. Based on estimates, roughly 90 percent of the amount will go to data requirements to support the digital needs of its subscribers.

Globe head of consumer mobile business Darius Delgado said the telco is focusing its capex on areas and assets where it needs to build on. Likewise, Globe wants to ensure that every spending it makes contributes to the improvement of its service reliability.

“We employ a targeted way of prioritizing (our) network rollouts and optimizations in areas that matter, hence, we are able to sustain our most reliable network,” Delgado said.

“We also believe that network reliability, a metric which is difficult to achieve, is more important than just speed because on a small screen there is just so much that higher speeds can deliver in terms of improving the actual perceptible experience,” he added.

Globe cited Ookla’s survey which named it as the most reliable network in the Philippines five times in a row. The recognition was given to Globe from the second quarter of 2022 to the second quarter of 2023.

Ookla also confirmed that Globe improved both its download and upload speeds in 127 locations nationwide. Ookla said these enhancements reached even remote areas in line with Globe’s push for digital inclusion.

Among all areas, Globe raised its average speed the best in Barira, Maguindanao (273 percent); Indanan, Sulu (185 percent); and Taytay, Palawan (177 percent).

“As we have seen a consistent rise in demand for mobile data, especially in these last few years, we have been constantly improving our network to bring better experience to Globe customers,” Delgado said.

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