Sunday, 29 July 2007

Remittance Goes Wireless

By Philip A. Castro and Eugene O. Azucena Published in the June 2007 issue of Enterprise July 25, 2007
Eva Gracia, a 33-year-old Filipino nurse working for a tertiary hospital in London, UK, sends, on average, £550 per month to her mother, who looks after her 12-year-old daughter in the province of Kabacan, south of the Philippines. Unlike the more common method of remitting through financial institutions, however, “I send money through my mobile phone,” Gracia says.

In her case, what Gracia does is go to a SMART Padala remittance partner in London, where she then fills out an information sheet about her beneficiary in the Philippines, specifically stating the beneficiary’s SMART mobile phone or SMART Money (one of the telecommunication giant’s features) number. Within minutes, the center transfers the money to another center in Kabacan, with Gracia’s mother receiving an SMS (short messaging system, more popularly known as text messages) that indicates a 16-digit Smart Money number. She then encashes the money through the SMART Padala center, though beneficiaries can actually opt to receive a Smart Money card, which can then be used to withdraw cash in all MasterCard electronic outlets in 214 countries, as well as in Banco de Oro branches, or any automatic teller machines (ATMs) of Expressnet and Megalink. [Read more]

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