Corporate News

AF Payments to further expand beep card usage

Posted on December 08, 2016

BEEP card holders can now reload and make purchases in FamilyMart stores after the contactless payment provider inked a partnership deal with the Japanese convenience store.

The Ayala and Metro Pacific groups’ tandem and the Japanese chain said on Tuesday that starting Dec. 7, beep card holders can reload and pay for their purchases at the FamilyMart branches, the consortium’s first move out of the transportation sector into retail. FamilyMart is beep card’s first retail partner.

“The objective of this partnership is to make it easy for beep card holders to load their cards. Right now there are lines in the train stations and people are interested in having a more convenient location to load their beep cards at any time of the day or night,” AF Payments, Inc. (AFPI) President and CEO Peter Maher told reporters at the sidelines of the Beep and FamilyMart partnership launch on Wednesday.

“We think if we can build a very convenience network of loading, more people will prefer to use the beep card ... We will build a convenient loading network, we are already in the Bayad Center. We will come up more next year since we want to be present in all convenience stores,” Mr. Maher added.

FamilyMart country President and General Manager Manuel C. Alberto for his part said the partnership “will help expand” the retail chain’s clientele.

“We constantly look for ways to offer our customers more convenience through our products and services. Having the beep card in hand will speed up the transaction, and ease up their purchases because they don’t have to carry cash. It’s going to be very fast in the POS (point of sale) in the cashier... Second, our customers on their way home, they can now purchase and load up their beep card, comparing that, in the mass transport system during the rush hours,” Mr. Alberto said.

For every purchase made with the beep card, he noted that customers will be charged P5 as commission.

“As in most services in any partnership, there is some kind of commission fee that has to be charge for the value added services that we offer, there is a P5 charge for the convenience of having the ability to purchase and load up the card in our stores which is standard in any other services establishment,” the FamilyMart official said.

In November, 2012, SIAL CVS Retailers, Inc. -- a partnership between Varejo Corp. and Specialty Investments, Inc., wholly owned units of Ayala Land and Rustan-led Store Specialists, Inc., respectively -- signed a shareholders agreement with Japanese firms FamilyMart Co. Ltd. and Itochu Corp. for the development and operation of FamilyMart stores in the Philippines, marking Ayala Land’s first venture into convenience store operations.

FamilyMart has at least 100 stores, more than three years since it opened its first store in April 2013. It targets to open 500 stores in the Philippines by 2018. Currently, 40% of its branches are franchises.

In a related development, AFPI’s Mr. Maher said following the venture into tollways with the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex), the beep card will also soon be accepted at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), which is currently undergoing testing. Its usage on additional routes of point-to-point bus lines, as well as the South Luzon Expressway, will also follow in the coming months.

Mr. Maher said penetration rate for the beep cards in the Philippines is “around 60%” of the million rail transaction everyday.

“So really what we see is the slow adoption, it goes up slowly but steady. We would love to see 60% level go up to 70% or 75%,” the AFPI executive added, referring to the penetration rate of the contactless beep cards.

AF Payments -- which bagged the P1.72-billion public-private partnership (PPP) deal for the automatic fare collection system -- earlier said that since its launch in 2015, 2.5 million beep cards have been sold, accumulating around P3.9 billion in transactions as of end-September.

In 2015, the “beep” cards were first implemented on the Light Rail Transit (LRT)-1 on July 20, on LRT-2 on Aug. 16 and on the MRT-3 on Oct. 3. They replaced magnetic tickets, as it aimed to make the fare payment process more convenient and to allow seamless transfer from one train line to another. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin