Beep by AF Payments
Cash remains as king in the Philippine payment system despite theft and security risks. While there have been attempts to replace cash with electronic forms of payment and even prepaid cards, changing customer paymchent practices was difficult, given the large unbanked population in the case of the former, and the difficulty in reloading cards in the case of the latter. An opportunity thus exists for an organization that can successfully provide a payment solution that is easily obtainable and does not require a bank account.
Beep and AF Payments was established with a goal to find a so-called “killer app”—an application where the value provided by going cashless was strong that users will be convinced to adopt the system. As users slowly get familiar with using the platform, the system can be gradually expanded to other applications, steadily replacing cash-based transactions in the process. For beep, the killer app was transportation. By familiarizing mass transit users on a card-based payment system, customers can be steadily enticed to use the platform in other areas, most notably, in retail.
Since the platform’s full acceptance in Metro Manila’s three mass transit rail lines just last December 2015, a total of 2.5 million beep cards have been sold. 200 million tap transactions and 45 million load transactions have also been recorded—a significant increase in electronic payments in Metro Manila given a short time. The platform has recently been expanded to cover 5 bus lines, with an estimated 120 buses accepting beep card payments, as well as on Cavitex and NLEX. Convenience stores are the next expansion point for beep, with agreements already signed with the three major chains. The first convenience store activation will take place before the end of 2016.