By Edwin C. Aruta, Jr.
IN AUGUST THIS YEAR, the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) partnered with government-run Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund to lend its digital platform in disbursing loans and benefits to about 14 million members.
Through the Pag-IBIG – UCPB eMoney card, Pag-IBIG will be able to release the proceeds of short-term loans, provident benefit claims, calamity loans and other amounts due to its members or member-borrowers.
In response to the current administration’s call for public agencies’ faster transactions, offering e-money options for its members is one of Pag-IBIG’s many ways to simplify and hasten the delivery of its services. Currently, cash card service providers partnered with Pag-IBIG includes Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Union Bank of the Philippines, and Asia United Bank Corp.
In line with these developments, BusinessWorld has sought UCPB Vice President and Marketing Group Head Charina D. Balanquit to shred an in-depth information about the Pag-IBIG – UCPB eMoney card. Below are excerpts of the interview:
HOW DOES THE PAG-IBIG – UCPB E-MONEY CARD WORK? HOW CAN PAG-IBIG FUND MEMBERS AVAIL OF THIS SERVICE?
The Pag-IBIG – UCPB eMoney card is a co-branded, reloadable cash card which can be used by Pag-IBIG Fund member-borrowers to receive the proceeds of their short-term loans from Pag-IBIG Fund.
The member may go to any Pag-IBIG Fund branch (initially available in National Capital Region branches only) [and]:
• fill-out and submit the Pag-IBIG Fund loan application form and required documents;
• choose Pag-IBIG – UCPB eMoney card as the disbursement option;
• receive the card kit from the Pag-IBIG branch personnel; and
• wait for an SMS notification when the funds are credited before activating the card.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES THAT THE PAG-IBIG – UCPB EMONEY CARD AIMS TO SOLVE? WHAT ARE ITS ADVANTAGES?
The Pag-IBIG – UCPB eMoney card aims to provide Pag-IBIG Fund members an additional alternative in conveniently receiving their loan proceeds, while also providing greater security, convenience and flexibility.
• Ease of card application
Pag-IBIG Fund members simply need to indicate that they are opting for the Pag-IBIG – UCPB eMoney card in their Pag-IBIG Fund Multi-Purpose Loan application form. There’s no need to fill out separate bank forms to avail of the card which makes time more convenient.
• Speed in getting their loan proceeds and benefits
The loan proceeds are credited the next banking day or within 24 hours from application date.
The Pag-IBIG – UCPB eMoney card only costs P50 against other alternatives which cost more than P100.
WHAT IS THE VALUE PROPOSITION OF THE EMONEY CARD AS WELL AS ITS OTHER USE CASES?
Speed, ease and affordability.
This card is as good as cash. Members can use their card not only to withdraw cash from any local automated teller machines (ATMs) but also to directly pay for purchases at merchants with POS (point-of-sale) terminals like groceries, department stores and restaurants. They can also pay bills, buy load and transfer funds to other banks real-time through UCPB and BancNet ATMs.
The card has a 5-year validity. It has no inactivity penalty and members can even reuse it for additional loans or re-availment with no additional fee as long as the card has not yet expired.
WHY PARTNER WITH PAG-IBIG? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS PARTNERSHIP TO CONSUMERS AND THE GOVERNMENT-RUN FUND?
UCPB is one with Pag-IBIG in its desire to continue providing its members with faster, more secure and convenient ways to receive their benefits and to deliver more responsive government service to Filipinos.
Pag-IBIG Fund has provided its members with a number of cash card options in the past. Meanwhile, UCPB launched the UCPB eMoney Card in 2012 as a reloadable ATM card for various disbursing needs:
• distribute commissions;
• credit professional fees;
• pay contractual employees;
• transfer loan proceeds;
• send remittances; and
• disburse cash advances and allowances.
It was only a matter of time before both institutions would partner and come up with this card.
IN WHAT WAYS WOULD THIS PRODUCT CONTRIBUTE TO THE BANK’S BUSINESS? DOES THIS ALSO OPEN OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE BANK? IF YES, WHAT ARE THESE?
We are very excited and thankful to serve the banking needs of Pag-IBIG Fund members through the Pag-IBIG-UCPB eMoney card. This partnership will significantly grow the bank’s cardholder base and increase UCPB brand awareness among the millions of Pag-IBIG Fund members.
WHAT ARE THE VITAL PREPARATIONS/ARRANGEMENTS THE BANK HAS MADE TO ENSURE THAT SERVICES ARE SUCCESSFULLY AND PROPERLY RENDERED (IN TERMS OF TECHNOLOGY, BACK-OFFICE, ETC.)?
This [product] uses the same technology used in ATM card transactions. The bank’s system was simply customized to conform with the technical requirements of Pag-IBIG Fund.
We also conduct AML (anti-money laundering) briefings for Pag-IBIG frontliners in compliance with BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas for the Know Your Client process.
The biggest preparation made was in the production and delivery of the cards to the Pag-IBIG branches.
WERE THERE ANY CHALLENGES THAT UCPB AND PAG-IBIG FACED IN IMPLEMENTING THE CONCEPT?
UCPB continues to work closely with Pag-IBIG Fund to ensure seamless and integrated back-end operations and frontline services for all Pag-IBIG Fund members who will avail of the card for their loan proceeds and benefit claims.
HAS THE PRODUCT BEEN GAINING TRACTION SINCE ITS LAUNCH? WAS IT WELL-RECEIVED AMONG YOUR CLIENTS?
The Pag-IBIG-UCPB eMoney card was initially made available to Pag-IBIG Fund branches in the NCR starting November 18, 2019. So far, there has been a steady increase in the number of card issuances and disbursement volume being coursed through the cards.
WHAT IS YOUR TARGET FOR 2020; HOW ABOUT THE NEXT 5 YEARS? HOW DO YOU PLAN TO ACHIEVE THESE TARGETS?
We are targeting at least 500,000 cards issued in 2020 and every year thereafter…We plan to increase our market share through marketing communication and continuous enhancement of the product offering.
WHAT ARE OTHER PRODUCTS OR SERVICES WE COULD LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE COMING MONTHS?
For Pag-IBIG Fund, we will also implement our collection service soon so Pag-IBIG Fund members can also remit their mandatory and MP2 savings through our branches and electronic banking channels.
An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that the Pag-IBIG UCPB eMoney Card was launched in 2012 for the following disbursement needs (distribute commissions; credit professional fees; pay contractual employees; transfer loan proceeds; send remittances; and disburse cash advances and allowances). UCPB has since clarified that the UCPB eMoney Card was launched in 2012 for various disbursing needs. The co-branded, reloadable Pag-IBIG UCPB eMoney Card is available to Pag-IBIG members (initially in Pag-IBIG Fund Metro Manila branches) starting mid-November of this year for the disbursement of Pag-IBIG short term loan proceeds.