MANILA, Philippines – Wireless giant Smart Communications Inc., a unit of dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), is set to launch a new type of electronic load to enable subscribers to pay monthly contributions to social security, health insurance, and housing funds.
PLDT president and chief operating officer Napoleon Nazareno said the company is working closely with the government to launch Bayadload that could be used to pay monthly contributions to the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth), and Pag-Ibig Fund.
“We call it BayadLoad. Bayad in our language means payment. This service will make it much easier for about 15 million self-employed individuals and household help to become active members of these social funds and to benefit from their services,” Nazareno said.
He pointed out that subscribers just need to go to a Smart retailer and purchase the special load and pay their monthly contributions using their mobile phones.
Nazareno, who is also president of Smart, said the company intends to extend the use of BayadLoad to the payment of other government fees and services.
“Clearly, our retail distribution network has become a strategic tool for extending the ecosystem for mobile money transactions. Through this network, which reaches every nook and cranny of the country, we can rapidly deploy new financial services to people living at the periphery of the economic mainstream,” he said.
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In recent years, Nazareno said the PLDT Group has been expanding the ecosystem for mobile money by introducing new electronic wallets to handle transactions beyond cash and airtime load.
For one, he said the customers of sister Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) could buy an electricity load from Smart retailers and use their mobile phones to top up their prepaid power accounts.
“Meralco is hoping to duplicate the success of prepaid mobile phone services by offering prepaid electricity services as part of a Smart Grid system that will help customers better manage their power consumption.
The electricity distributor is also pilot-testing prepaid electricity in several areas of Metro Manila.
Likewise, Nazareno said sister firm Maynilad Water is also looking at offering a prepaid water service.
“Our sister company, Maynilad Water, which supplies water for half of Metro Manila, also has plans to offer a prepaid water service,” he added.
Through Smart e-Money, he said the company has tied up with Land Bank of the Philippines to launch Panalo SIKAP to give boost to the government’s cash transfer program through the conditional cash transfer (CCT) for the poor.