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Interoperability of Globe, Smart mobile money payments seen by Q1

GCash President and CEO Albert O. Tinio said both GCash and PayMaya Philippines, formerly Smart eMoney, Inc., are now conducting tests and are ready to go live with the interoperability scheme by the first quarter.

“Definitely, it’s this quarter, first quarter, we’re ready… Both us and our friends on the other side are both ready,” Mr. Tinio told reporters in a chance interview at a Globe event late last week.

However, the two companies are deferring to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for the specific schedule.

“BSP is the one that’s heading that. We’re at pilot stage, suffice it to say that the BSP can talk about it more earnestly in less than a month,” he added.

The deal between the country’s two telcos — the first successful interoperability trial in Southeast Asia between two mobile money providers — came on the heels of the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association’s thrust to make mobile money services “more inclusive and accessible” to Filipinos.

Once interconnected, a GCash customer can already send money electronically to a PayMaya customer and vice versa. Aside from domestic remittances, GCash and PayMaya are also expected to collaborate on merchant payments, bulk payments, government-to-person payments (G2P), and person-to-government payments (P2G), among others.

Sought for comment, PLDT, Inc. Public Affairs Head Ramon R. Isberto said “PayMaya Philippines has been working with Mynt to make interoperability between PayMaya wallet and Gcash happen,” referring to GCash’s parent Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc. (Mynt).

“PayMaya has conducted successful trials and we’re just waiting for full commercial readiness. The interoperability between PayMaya and GCash is a welcome development. This is in line with our full support for the National Retail Payment System and our overall mission of promoting digital financial services for all. This actually adds on to what we are already doing now, as PayMaya is an OTT (over the tap) product, we have been providing mobile money service to Filipinos regardless of their mobile number,” Mr. Isberto said on Monday.

The BSP has said shifting from paper to an electronic-based payment system could generate an annual savings up to 1% of the country’s gross domestic product.

GCash is powered by MasterCard while PayMaya uses Visa. Both are regulated by the BSP to ensure all user transactions are “secure.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.

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