Oct 272013

MANILA, Philippines – I hate long queues. I once saw a woman faint in front of me after standing in line for hours in a supermarket (no, she wasn’t pregnant; she simply passed out from exhaustion). Good thing there was a nurse (she was off-duty though) who was also standing in line right behind her.

I hate lining up for hours just to pay for a small purchase, like a bottle of suka or patis or a garland of garlic.  I often end up abandoning my grocery cart and fuming as I dash out of the store. If you’re like me and you’re a Citi cardholder, you’ll welcome this piece of news with a big sigh of relief: Now making waves is the Citibank Visa payWave, the first contactless credit card payment technology introduced just this September in the country.


“We tied up with Citibank payWave because we want to provide our customers the best shopping experience, such as by exploring ways to make shopping fast and convenient,” says Robina Gokongwei-Pe, president/COO, Robinsons Retail Group.

“Having the Citibank payWave in our stores will reduce long lines at check-out counters since it would speed up the transaction process. It will be very convenient for our customers who won’t have to struggle to look for small bills and coins to pay for small-ticket items as the card doesn’t have a minimum purchase. Customers also don’t need to sign the receipt for purchases less than P2,000 (but they have the option to collect the receipt). They can simply tap the payWave card at the card reader and go. We are truly excited for more people to try this new technology. And we expect our customers to appreciate the speed and convenience of paying using Citibank’s payWave.”

Faster than cash, lesser queues

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On average, payWave transactions can be up to three times faster than cash payments, reducing queuing times for both cardholders and retailers — and all with the added benefit that the payWave card does not leave the cardholder’s hand.  All new applicants for select Citi Visa credit cards will get a payWave-enabled card when they are approved.  Existing cardholders will get theirs when their card is renewed, or they can apply for it now by calling CitiPhone at 995-9999.  Replacement is free until December 2013.

Another banking first

Citi Philippines CEO Batara Sianturi affirms, “Citi is committed to be the leading digital bank in the Philippines, in Asia, and the rest of the globe.  We are proud to once again be at the forefront of customer banking innovation in the Philippines.  We are delighted to introduce our clients to a new way to pay with their credit cards — where they simply wave, pay, and go.”

Sianturi adds, “We invest time and effort to better understand our customers and anticipate their financial needs as their lifestyles change.  I am confident our latest innovation will empower our clients to access the latest technology in credit card payments — all while enjoying best-in-class rewards that they can only have with Citibank credit cards.”

Boasting a track record of innovation, Citi was the first to introduce round-the-clock banking with CitiPhone for consumers and online banking for institutional clients with CitiDirect. Among its many other firsts are: the first real-time account inquiry with SMS, knowing the Filipinos’ heavy use of mobile phones; account management convenience with combined credit limit for multiple Citi cardholders so you don’t need to bring several plastics when you travel; and mobile-based payments with credit cards, where you can pay without swiping your plastic but simply sending SMS.

Less stress, more fun in shopping

Surely, Robina Gokongwei-Pe, who is a super mom, can empathize with working stressed moms for whom time is a luxury. For these multi-tasking moms who must wade through a myriad of things to do every day, this card may as well be their best friend.

She likewise observes, “Filipino grocery shoppers are more sophisticated and more demanding now, and we understand that. Besides providing a wide variety of merchandise, healthy choices, and the freshest produce, we are always on the lookout for how we can further elevate our customers’ shopping experience. This is why we are open to new technologies like payWave which we feel will make their shopping experience more enjoyable and stress-free.”

A store is born

Robinsons Supermarket is a proud member of the bigger family of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI), the second largest multi-format retailer in the country today, with over three decades of experience in retailing. Opening in 1985 in Robinsons Place Cebu, Robinsons Supermarket now has 78 branches nationwide. More stores are scheduled to open end of the year.

“Robinsons Supermarket aims to cater to all types of customers who look for clean, fresh and healthy food, and competitive prices, and put a premium on excellent customer service. This has been the supermarket’s mission through the years,” Robina stresses. “Brand identity is a strong factor in gaining market preference and trust. So, we took on a market position and differentiation that cuts across all market segments. We take pride in being the first retailer to make a bold commitment to health and wellness. This is why we launched the ‘I Love Wellness’ campaign so we can further emphasize our goal to educate and empower our customers to make the healthier choice. As a supermarket retailer catering to Filipino households, we feel we have the responsibility to people to go beyond profits and impart wellness every day in every way possible.”

‘Good for your health, kind to your pocket’

Indeed, Robinsons customers can expect a wide variety of products at competitive prices. Robinsons Supermarket has also developed two private labels: Supersavers and Healthy You. Supersavers is Robinsons Supermarket’s private label which provides customers with quality but budget-friendly items, from non-food (tissue, sanitizers, party needs, etc.) to food (peanut butter, condiments, etc.). Healthy You is Robinsons’ private label of healthy products — trail mix, oatmeal, red rice, coco sugar, etc.

“We continue to expand both lines,” says Robina. “Customers can also expect us to continue to provide them with more choices of foods and products that promote healthy living. Besides our Healthy You line, our strong partnership with the Food Nutrition and Research Institute (FNRI) aims to assist customers in making that healthier choice through the Green Shelf tag. Customers can now determine if select products are certified healthy by FNRI through the green colored tags.”

Ever sensitive to its consumer feedback, Robinsons has Facebook, twitter, and e-mail accounts so customers can communicate to Robinsons what they need or want from the store. “And we do our best to deliver every time,” Robina says with a hint of pride.

Now, are you ready for the (pay)Wave of the future?

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