E-Payments in the Philippines: Paving the Way for Convenient Government Transactions

The Philippines is known for a lot of things. There’s the much-lauded level of hospitality. There’s also the distinct Filipino sense of humor, even in the face of sheer adversity. It is, after all, more fun in the Philippines, if the PR campaign is to be believed.

What the Philippines isn’t known for, at least not until recently, is the use of technology to introduce a measure of convenience in people’s lives. The introduction of e-payments have made it easy for everyone to pay their utilities, credit card bills and others. E-payments have also made it possible for citizens to pay their government bills more easily.

e_payment

Every Filipino dreads the necessary trip to any government office. The lines are long and the process is usually slow. A day in a government office is often a sure test of one’s patience, as any Filipino can attest to. The introduction of the e-payment in this particular aspect of our lives makes it a lot less inconvenient.

One recent major development in the use of e-payment in the government sector is spearheaded by Smart Hub Inc., a company under Smart Communications Inc., one of the top Internet and mobile communications providers in the Philippines. The recently enacted Kasambahay Law, which requires people who employ informal domestic service workers to provide these workers with government benefits like the Social Security System (SSS), the Pag-Ibig Fund (the country’s Home Development Mutual Fund), and Philippine Health Insurance corp. (Philhealth).

Given the number of actual employers who are in a sudden need to pay for these benefits, the necessity of a fast and convenient way to make these payments arose. Along came the e-payment method facilitated by Smart that addressed that necessity for its 69 million subscribers.

This is a very promising development for Filipino citizens. One has to understand that even though the country is fully capable of making e-payment and mobile money payment systems possible, the Philippines has yet to fully embrace the change. The success of the recent e-payment development due to the Kasambahay Law shows that now, Filipinos are truly ready to embrace the electronic method of paying for government transactions.

If there is a downside to this situation, it’s the fact that the method is offered by Smart communications. Subscribers of the nation’s rival, Globe Telecommunications, are not able to avail of this opportunity. Of course, this particular downside can easily be perceived as a temporary situation, given the competitive nature of the telecommunications industry and the technological capabilities the nation seems to now have.

An optimistic point of view of this situation is that, technologically at least, the future of the Philippines looks bright. E-payments for credit cards and other bills was the beginning. Now, government payments can be made electronically. Day by day, we are inching towards a completely electronic world where soon, the days of going to government offices to spend a large chunk of your day will be a thing of the past.

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10 Comments on “E-Payments in the Philippines: Paving the Way for Convenient Government Transactions”

  1. Let’s not get the cart before the horse. The first thing one needs before starting a system like this is a federal law that limits your liability for unauthorized charges.

  2. We have a system that keeps on hanging up asking if we should Abort, Retry, or Fail. We can’t have a decent system without truly aborting the current failed system no matter how much the previous and current administration has retried because apparently being inconvenient to people is convenient to the 1% that represent this country.

    How I wish I can transact online just like how I’m paying bills but too bad they just don’t want it. They want to have people come to their office so that they can have something to take pictures of and say “Hey this is government at work” =))

  3. Well, that goes only for the payment part. For all other transactions with the government, I am sure they are going to find every small bit of thing just to make transactions a small bit harder for the people.

    A concrete example, as an OFW, when I go home for a break, I need to have an OEC (overseas employment certificate) which is in itself a redundancy of my contract with my overseas employer. That is already additional charges for the “hero OFW”. Then upon leaving the Philippines to go back to work, you need to have the said OEC to be certified/validated again. How idiotic is that?

    I am sure, there are a lot of other government transactions with similar stupidity.

    But hey, we are advancing technologically, payment-wise.

    1. Technological advancements here are like a board game..we progress 1 step, we retrogress 10 steps…

      Speaking of the OEC…what’s that for anyway? OEC despite its definition by POEA kind of rings a different bell to me.

      They only want Our Extra Cash in exchange for Officially Extremely Crappy service they do for OFWs that work their ass off abroad and all they get is the nightmare of trying to fix this damn receipts so that they can fly back to where the better, greener pastures are.

      This is a country where OFWs are actually Ordinarily Expendable Citizens where the government tries to milk out every single day because they are trying to hide the horrible decay that is actually happening in this Olid Engulfing Cesspool known as teh filipilandia..(oh yeah Failippines…oops Philippines :D)

      I guess being smart is a crime now..unless my alignment would be chaotic evil…oh geez..I’m done with this..

      Why do we have to go through this everyday…oh geez..

  4. You would not believe the hurdles that those of us with residency visas have to go through. Ever since that snotty nosed communist brat slapped a PNP officer at a demonstration and made him cry it has gotten really ridiculous. Now, in order to leave the country we need a NBI clearance. We have to come to Manila and wait for three days in order to get the clearance. They keep stacking on the fees. It costs close to 5000p to leave the country. You have to do that every time you want to leave the country on a flight. Why? It seems that many government agencies obfuscate the applications process so that people will offer bribes to expedite the process. I should probably keep my mouth shut before I get blacklisted.

  5. Whoever invented inconvenience, this country may have perfected it. I guess I can brag that to the world…/sarcasm :D.

    Simple things are becoming too complicated and despite the complaints of most people, it falls into deaf ears and the complications escalate even worse than before. It is a clusterfuck out there.

    Speaking of NBI Clearance…anyone had to fall in line at 1:00 AM so that you can get to the daily quota of I think 500 people in a day. I did that before, and the line was already at number 11. As if, only 500 people live in these parts..=)) laughable at best. And yeah, office starts at 7 or 8 I think. That’s not even the best part…with all due respect to people doing practicum or on the job training…they are ironically using it on their most busy days…which is EVERY single day. I wonder if that has changed.. since my postal ID has expired, I may need to have that clearance again..oh geez…

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHA! if Juan dela Cruz has a middle name its INCONVENIENCE! And yes, the process of getting NBI clearance – that should earn them a near perfect score in INCONVENIENCE and a perfect score in STUPIDITY!

  6. This technology has been around in other countries years ago. It’s really sad when the Philippines is just a few hundred miles away from technocentric countries like Japan and Korea, yet its tech infrastructure is nowhere near their level. We’re just at the point of “catching up” to them.” No, I don’t buy the excuse of not having money to begin with the development when you have the remittances accounting for a significant chunk of revenue.

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